I was joking yesterday, in my Twitter stream and in my newsletter entry, about how Big Bill De Blasio, though in no sense a true contender for the Presidency, was showing the way to victory to the more credible candidates by muscling the hosts and the other candidates by being loud and proud about liberal solutions and especially bringing the battle to Donald Trump. Well, Kamala Harris did that tonight — and, I have decided, she can get the nomination, and just might.
As you may have seen in my Twitter feed for Democratic Debate 2 — This Time It’s Slightly Less Exciting, there were a lot of little fun things going on — like self-help author Marianne Williamson channeling Madeline Kahn and summoning Love Power to beat Trump — but the important thing is, Kamala Harris cut Joe Biden’s throat and leapt to the front of the pack, maybe.
She was doing pretty great to start with. Before this I’d only seen her momentarily effusing on some TV shows and thought maybe she was a little wet — you know, working too hard, sweating it. She’s got a lot of energy and, I have to admit, my perhaps male-oriented model for the discharge of that energy — butch, unidirectional, aggressive — didn’t admit her version as politically viable.
I saw a bit of that energy tonight, too, but it rather fed Harris’ charisma. For one thing, she was very composed and focused for most of the night. She was ready for questions without being canned in her responses. When, early on, after the hosts (being stupid corporate lapdog shits) had disported themselves taunting the oh so free-spending candidates about their pie-in-the-sky plans for the health and welfare of their fellow citizens like a bunch of socialists and ooooh how will you pay for it, Harris asked very bluntly “where was that question when the Republicans and Trump passed a tax bill that benefits the top 1% and the biggest corporations in America” and gave them a tax plan which — well, frankly it sounded kinda neo-lib but at least she’d set the table by knocking all that lame shit off it.
And when Harris grilled Biden on his buddy-buddy talk about James Eastland and — I didn’t know whether she’d dare! — busing, she couldn’t have gotten a better old-man see-here response if they’d swapped Abe Simpson in for Old Joe. She stabbed him and it was like he found ways to fall onto the knife. You kinda wanted to call assisted living.
I know she’s a cop, and as a prosecutor she was very very bad on police shootings and “testilying.” I’m not letting that go and I remain, as I was in 2016, a Bernie Bro (the worst kind! I’m just sooo effete and superior). But Harris knows how to fight. And even her sweatiness I realized was a good thing — she reminded me of my own working mother, not the way she talked (Mom never finished school) but the way she carried herself — like she had a million things to do and a few things she was pissed off about and didn’t care if it showed. I think women and men who aren’t total misogynistic assholes will pick up on that and it will draw them to her, and that will feedback-loop her power. If Trump tries stalking her around the stage like he did Hillary Clinton in 2016, Harris will turn right around and kick him in the balls.
As for the other guys, I’m still not sure whether Stilwell or Swelwill or Swalwall or whatever his name is didn’t have a forceps accident at birth so I don’t have much to say about him; Buttigieg impressed me with the extremely controlled performance at first but after he got to climate change I realized the Heat Death of the Universe is nothing to be chill about; I’ve long admired Gillibrand’s starry-eyed opportunism (thanks, Gore Vidal!) but fighting to be the De Blasio heckler at the outset of this debate totally didn’t work for her and I don’t think her amalgam of back-country moderation and modish progressivism is gonna work — I mean didn’t we just try that?
After hearing 61,454 of the 67,595 Democratic candidates I can say any of them can beat Trump, even though the Supreme Court just made it harder. Have a great weekend!