Thursday, February 18, 2021

Hypenated Leadership

I had intended in this post to criticize Kamala Harris' response to Today Show's Savannah Guthrie to questions about the pandemic. However, a New York Post video takes care of that better than I would.

When interviewed by Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday, Vice-President and ex-veteran prosecutor Kamala Harris failed to give a straight answer about whether former President Trump should be prosecuted by the Justice Department. Additionally, she weaved and dodged when questioned about the pandemic.

Yet the exchange exposed (or should have) something which threatens to have a grave impact upon USA government over the next four years- and maybe beyond. It came about, when in response to a question about the pandemic, the Vice President replied

You're right, we're four weeks in as an Administration but we have during these four weeks done a lot about a national protocol for getting the vaccines to folks. Supporting the states who needed that kind of coordination and support. We have a whole program that now is- that we've rolled out, getting one million vaccines to pharmacies. We are getting vaccines to community health center, very important, to supplement what the states are doing.

We want to make sure we get it directly into communities, 13.5 million a week going out as quickly as we're producing it, we're getting it out. Let's talk about- we want to  say, please, everybody, get vaccinated. We'll do whatever is in each one's ability to do in the interim, wear a mask, social distance, and wash  your hands and do it frequently.

In that one response, the Vice President- the Vice President- used, standing alone or as part of a contraction, the term "we" eleven (11) times. More tellingly, she mentioned "Joe Biden" or "the President" only once, and then as "I think they ought to be a priority; the President believes they should be a priority." She included herself when referring to "as an Administration."

And it's not only Harris who is talking this way. In her interview- or, rather chat- with Chris Hayes later Wednesday, Assistant Presidential Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (in a segment beginning at approximately 27:32 of the video below) also declined to give a straight answer about vaccinations. And she, too, downplayed the presidency, remarking "that the Biden-Harris Administration is trying to move forward with...."

During the presidential campaign, there were many references to the Obama-Biden Administration. However, that was for strategic political purposes only and Obama and Biden had been out of office for approximately three years. While Barack Obama was President, it was President Obama, not "we"; the Obama Administration, not the Obama-Biden Administration. Vice-President Joe Biden never suggested or implied that he was equal in power, influence, or stature to the President.

It is different now, and not because times have changed.  Presently, there are people in Washington, D.C., employees of the federal government (including, at times, President Biden) or not, who want us to know with the terminology they use that this is the Biden-Harris Administration and not the Biden Administration. If this were going to be a co-presidency, it would have been decent to notify us before the election. On second thought: 4+ more years of President Trump would have been awfully hard to take.


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