Kamala #HeelsUpHarris manages to bore us to death at her big DNC debut
On her big night as the — drum roll, please "historic" first black South Asian female vice presidential nominee, Kamala Harris managed to...bore us to death.
Instead of delivering electricity at the Democratic National Convention last night, she pulled out her flat nasal monotone and droned on and on about her supposedly apple-pie upbringing in Berkeley during the '60s, her single mom, her life work as a prosecutor, the importance of voting for Joe Biden, and lots of rah-rah stuff about "doing it together."
In reality, she actually does have a pretty colorful past, but she managed to masticate it down to mush, and it got inauthentic, fast. This is why so many voters call her phony. That's because too much already is known of her past. What she put out there was boilerplate — nothing of interest or substance to anyone. Even her cheerleaders noticed. Some talking-head pundits imagined that maybe she was boring because it's always a tough act to follow Barack Obama, which she did, and he certainly was on fire, even if it was pants-on-fire.
But nope, she managed to make it boring on her own. I missed the Obama speech but caught Kamala's, and it was still boring as heck.
The transcript is here.
The boringness, it seems, was a bid to feed pabulum to the public as some kind of chalky antidote to what's rolled out about her in the previous months.
Start with her boring beginning years, the Berkeley stuff:
At the University of California Berkeley, she met my father, Donald Harris — who had come from Jamaica to study economics.
They fell in love in that most American way — while marching together for justice in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
In the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, I got a stroller's-eye view of people getting into what the great John Lewis called "good trouble."
Ummm, she must not think we remember Berkeley very well. Back in the '60s, radical red diaper babies and hippies took over, starting with something called the "filthy speech movement," led by red diaper babies.
Here's Eric Hoffer's 1969 congressional testimony about the centrality of Berkeley in the wretched destructikon of the '60s.
Sprinkling his testimony with words that he said not even the San Francisco waterfront would condone, the irrespressible [sic] Hoffer traced the current wave of student unrest to the 1964 disturbances at the University of California's Berkeley campus. There, he said militants "ran circles" around University President Clark Kerr who was suffering from "innocence and trustfulness." Maintaining that, in the San Francisco Bay area at least, "there has been no conspiracy," Hoffer declared that college administrators should learn that student "grievances do not mean much ... Even if the war and the civil rights problem got settled overnight, you are still going to have trouble," he said. "But what strikes me . . -," Hoffer added, turning to last year's riots at Columbia University," is that there is a lack of ability to get angry. Take (former Columbia president) Grayson Kirk." Hoffer said students broke into Kirk's office, urinated on his carpet and still Kirk didn't get angry. "It would have been a wonderful thing," he yelled, pounding the table before him,"if Grayson Kirk got mad and got a gun and killed a few." Hoffer, whose testimony confused, startled and amused the Senators, declared that radical tactics are destroying American universities. "San Francisco State used to be beautiful," he said, "but now it is dead."
Hoffer wrote this about Berkeley in 1974:
I was right in the midst of the mess when the Free Speech Movement exploded in 1964 [in the University of California]. The spark which set off the explosion was the discovery by the students that the power structure of the university was manned by toothless lions. President Clark Kerr, one of the finest products of our culture, knew how to build a great university but did not know how to defend it. He had not an inkling of the vulnerability of institutions — that they are more vulnerable than individuals — and did not know the first thing about the nature of authority. I cannot resist the feeling that things might have turned out differently had President Kerr had a taste for theorizing. He might have known that authority is an instrument for the repression of individual willfulness and that social authority had its origin in the need to tame juveniles as they came out from underneath parental authority. Instead, President Kerr dealt with the rampaging juveniles as if they were his equals, and a punk like Mario Savio, the leader of the Free Speech Movement, ran circles around the great Clark Kerr. Much of the teaching at the University was done by teaching assistants not much older than the students. Monkeys with academic degrees opened all the cages and let the tigers out into the streets.
But ol' Kam would have us think participation in that Berkeley hellhole was as American as apple pie, and just a spot of "good trouble." Umm....
Then there was her childhood, which she has previously described as wonderful busing (she kept away from it this time since Joe Biden was on the top half of her ticket), as if that didn't have controversy, and the fact that her mother took her to Canada to be raised after her marriage broke up. Nothing about the Canadian childhood, that's for sure, just mom's hard work raising Kams and her sister. File under hiding stuff.
She then spoke of "becoming a lawyer" not mentioning that she flunked the California bar at least once. Why exactly, as the daughter of a Stanford professor, and a Berkeley lector and Canadian academic, was she unable to get into a competitive school? Maybe it was because she was Madamoiselle Party Girl? Sure seems like it. And not like she wouldn't attract votes for it if she were honest. Nope, all we hear is that she became a lawyer, and did it "for the people," which is truly gag-inducing.
Nope, she did it for herself and her well-researched history by a reporter from Politico, spending her '80s in San Francisco on the make, going to parties of San Francisco's billionaires and white-shoe card tells us a lot more. Her partytown adventures on the make culminated in her mistress arrangement with Willie Brown, the most powerful politician in California at the time, and a dandy with a taste for the finer things in life. Nope, not a mention. Yet it was her critical gravy train stop on the way to the top. As I wrote here, citing the Politico piece by Michael Kruse:
It's also coming out that Brown wasn't the only one she sucked up to in her bid for power; she also hobnobbed hugely with San Francisco's richest elites, the Pacific Heights crowd, the richest people in town during her rise in the 1990s, according to this excellent investigative piece from Michael Kruse at Politico. She wasn't out doing pork chops then; she was doing filet mignon, very likely done by famous chefs such as Alice Walker and Jeremiah Tower, and she was focused on pleasing those people. Those actually are her real people.
She was on the make as much as anyone and it wasn't her brains she was selling.
And the "for the people" prosecutions? Tell us about how she laughed at throwing all the petty marijuana smokers in jail and then taking a few tokes herself, laughing.
Then she talks about "choosing" her family which is a bit of an understatement, too. She claimed to be "Momala" to her husband's children from a previous marriage, but did she get into her BFF relationship with her husband's ex in her speech? It's all so very ... Hollywood, something that's drawn very little attention, but weird stuff to normals, and completely ordinary to the Hollywood crowd, which they all are.
After that, she attempted to sell the rah rah stuff, and she was boring as heck. Sound like she's going to contribute a lot to the Biden ticket? She has a truly wild and crazy story and all she wants to tell us is she's white-bread bland.
Already we know that Black voters aren't buying it.
Don't bet the farm anyone else will, either.
Image credit: YouTube screen shot, edited with FotoSketcher.