Editorial: Republicans Can’t Agree on How Best to Malign Kamala Harris

The Republicans are having a difficult time with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s pick of Kamala Harris as his running mate. She’s formidable, and she’s a woman (two characteristics that, together, offend the sensibilities of a few in the GOP), but the issue is that they can’t agree on how best to attack Kamala Harris.

To the party of Trump (and we should note here that there are Republicans who would like to distance themselves from the party of Trump), Harris is all at once a socialist and a sellout to Wall Street. She is a moderate (which, to many Republicans, means she is without principles), at the same time that she is a radical extreme leftist. She is too tough on crime, but she’s too weak on crime. Donald Trump has been less analytical, placing Harris into the category of other intelligent and assertive women like Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton, whom he calls “nasty.”

When Joe Biden first announced Kamala Harris as his running mate, some Trumpers gleefully pointed out the disapproval from the far left because she isn’t progressive enough.

“Bernie Bros get burnt!” Tweeted Brad Parscale, a Trump campaign aide.

Immediately following the announcement of Harris as Joe Biden’s pick, some right-wing pundits were warning about a hostile extreme liberal takeover of the Democratic Party.

“Kamala Harris’ extreme positions … show that the left-wing mob is controlling Biden’s candidacy, just like they would control him as president,” said Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

That the Republican Party would float the idea of “left-wing mob control” of Biden and Harris is in keeping with the party’s increasing slant to the far right, which fits well with its bent for supporting conspiracy theories.

For other Trumpers, the fact that financial advisory firms such as Signum Global have started telling clients that Biden’s choice of Harris reinforces the notion that the Democratic ticket is more moderate than progressive is a sign that progressives will be disenchanted with the Democratic ticket.

But wait— Other Trumpers are saying that Harris wants to turn the Democratic Party toward socialism (a concept they appear not to understand).

On the Wednesday following the announcement of Kamala Harris on Biden’s ticket, Vice President Mike Pence, in a fundraising email, wrote, “From the very first day of this Administration, President Trump has set our Nation on a path to freedom and opportunity. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would set America on the path of SOCIALISM and DECLINE.”

Speaking of takeovers, the Republican Party seems to have been taken over by people who don’t know much about history or political science.

Quick to depict Kamala Harris as a radical lefty, they have posited that in Kamala Harris, the far left has infiltrated the Democratic Party. Not only that, but Joe Biden, they hint, is little more than a puppet controlled by the radical left.

David Bossie, Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign manager, thinks both Biden and Harris are malleable. In a recent op-ed piece, Bossie wrote, “Make no mistake about it, if elected, this weak Democratic duo will aid and abet the radical socialists and anarchists at every turn…Americans must reject Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and their dangerous ideology.”

CNN contributor Scott Jennings, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and a former campaign adviser to Sen. Mitch McConnell, writes, “Her politics— liberal with more than a hint of authoritarianism (think of her attempts to get Donald Trump banned fro Twitter) sprinkled in for good measure— fit well on a national ticket trending hard towards both.” Jennings ignores the fact that his party supports a president who regularly defies the checks and balances of the federal government, wants to hobble the U.S. Postal Service in order to interfere with the presidential election, and fires government officials just for disagreeing with him.

Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson, on the other hand, knows that hate and love are just two sides of the same emotion, so instead, he chose an attempt at indifference by simply trying to diminish Harris. In a monologue on his Fox News show last week, he not only dismissed the correct pronunciation of Kamala Harris’ name, he said this: “So, it seemed inconceivable that given his current state, Joe Biden would choose someone so transparently one-dimensional as Kamala Harris, someone as empty as he is. It would be the first entirely hollow presidential ticket in American history and we thought it could never happen. But it is. They’re doing it anyway.”

Still other members of the Party of Trump have taken to insulting Harris by making a show of being insulted by her. On Fox News host Jeanine Pirro’s show, Lara Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, who is married to Eric Trump, and who spearheaded the Women for Trump tour, said, “I for one was insulted when months ago Joe Biden came out and he said, ‘Guess what? It’s going to be a woman who’s my running mate.’ Let’s not worry about qualifications, let’s not worry about what they bring to the table. If these people want to stand up for equality, people in this country will never be fully equal in their eyes until they stop pandering for votes and playing identity politics.

“It didn’t even matter who it was going to be,” Lara Trump concluded. “Women were already insulted.”

As if to demonstrate that she wasn’t too passionate about Kamala Harris, she did what appears to have become a standard move by the right to show disregard for Harris: she mispronounced Kamala Harris’ name.

Kamala Harris is neither a radical left-wing extremist, nor a socialist, nor a noncommittal people-pleaser. Nor is she a token. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden’s “dangerous ideology” talks of a future, and their ideal for the American experience in that future, where groups of people are not marginalized; where Americans can earn a living wage, and where they can have access to affordable health care. The party of Trump, on the other hand, hopes for a future that is dangerous to everyone but straight white folks; one that looks like its version of an idealized past, where white heterosexual people are in power and everyone else “keeps their place;” and where no one gets help or health care or food that they may not “deserve.”

Americans are free to disagree with Kamala Harris’ platform, but she is clear on what she stands for. The party of Trump has a platform that is not based on what it stands for, but what it is against.

Republicans Struggle To React To Kamala Harris As VP Pick | TODAY

Republicans Can’t Agree On How To Attack Kamala As Biden/Harris Make 1st Appearance | Roland S. Martin. [2020-08-13]

Editorial: Why Won’t Tucker Carlson Pronounce Kamala Harris’ Name Correctly?

When Fox News host Tucker Carlson repeatedly and flippantly mispronounced vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ name on his primetime show this week, he was using a subtle tool from the racist/sexist toolbox. Anyone can get a name wrong, but when national news personality Carlson intentionally dismissed the correct pronunciation with a sneer, it was more than a slip; it was a passive aggressive statement that Kamala Harris was of little consequence.

As Carlson launched into a disparagement of Harris, who is running for the second highest office in the land, he pronounced her name “KAM-a-la” several times.

“Just tell KAM a luh Harris what to say, and she will say it. That is the whole point of KAM a luh Harris,” said Carlson.

Carlson’s guest, Richard Goodstein, a Democratic strategist and former adviser to Hillary Clinton, tried to courteously correct Carlson’s pronunciation. “Tucker, can I just say one thing?” said Goodstein.

“Of course,” said Carlson,

““Because this will serve you and your fellow hosts on Fox. Her name is pronounced ‘comma’ — like the punctuation mark — ‘la.’ Comma-la,” Goodstein said. “Seriously, I’ve heard every sort of bastardization of that. That’s how it is. ‘Comma-la.’”

“OK,” said Carlson. “So what?”

“I think out of respect for somebody who’s going to be on the national ticket,” Goldstein responded. “Pronouncing her name right is actually kind of a bare minimum.”

“So I’m disrespecting her by mispronouncing her name unintentionally?” Carlson feigned indignance. “So it begins.” He proceeded to mispronounce Harris’ name twice more. “You’re not allowed to criticize ‘Ka-MAL-a’ or ‘KAM-a-la’ or whatever it is—”

“No, no, no. It’s not ‘whatever,’” Goodstein responded.

Kamala Harris has a name that’s not as easy to pronounce the first time as it would be if it were, say, “Ann Harris.” But it’s also not that difficult to pronounce. Most importantly, though, it’s her name, and she deserves at least an effort to pronounce it correctly.

“There’s nothing ‘or whatever’ about this moment,” said Angela Rye, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, in response to Tucker Carlson’s “KAM-a -la or whatever.” “It is about you having to finally face what you have done to this country. To black people. To black women.”

“It’s like saying sit down, shut up, we don’t want to hear from you, you don’t actually matter,” said CNN political commentator Karen Finney.

In the 60s sitcom, Bewitched, Endora, the famous mother-in-law, used the deliberate mispronunciation of her son-in-law Darren’s name to keep him in his place. Endora intentionally mangled Darren’s name each time she talked to him or about him. Derwin, Dobbin, Dustbin, Derwood… That was comedy, but we understood what Endora was doing.

Underneath subtle-seeming acts like this is a world of aggression, hostility, and resentment, and the desire to downplay or dismiss a person’s worthiness to be acknowledged and respected. One could call it bullying.

These subtle aggressions are frequently encased in a set-up situation where the aggressor knowingly does or says something offensive, then responds indignantly as if the other party had wronged them by calling them out on it. The aggressor then turns it all around, as Tucker Carlson does, sneering at the other party’s “oversensitivity” or “political correctness,” and assuming the role of the unfairly treated victim.

People like Tucker Carlson — white, male, far-right-leaning, often evangelical fundamentalist— feel threatened by people like Kamala Harris. They fear they’re losing their perceived place in the world to women, to people of color, and to other groups they have traditionally marginalized. Accustomed to wielding the power, they are especially threatened when someone in one of these groups rises to a position of power over them.

Kamala Harris is not new to racism or sexism, or to having her name dismissively or intentionally mispronounced. She will certainly experience more of these things while running as Joe Biden’s candidate for Vice President. But as more people witness Tucker Carlson and those like him calling themselves out to be petty, passive aggressors, and as fewer people remain silent about their behavior, there will be fewer ways for them, small though they are, to hide.

Fox News Host Erupts Over Being Corrected on Saying Kamala Harris’ Name Properly | Veuer [2020-08-12]

Fox News Freaks Out Over Kamala Harris | HuffPost [2020-08-12]