I know it's been four days since the Democratic debate, which is like 300 years in Trump time, and President Photo-Op and the blonde jackal and the Junior Mint are all vying for our attention with their dangerous stupidity. But I can't stop thinking about Kamala Harris.
I'm not alone. All weekend long—all through Seattle's Pride celebration—people in rainbow face paint, people in leather harnesses, people in nothing but jockstraps, were talking about Kamala.
If you just watched it that once, live, you really ought to watch it again, because it will go down as an immortal moment in presidential politics. It "was honestly one of the all-time strongest debate attacks," a national correspondent for the Washington Post tweeted as he was watching. Behold:
It's stunning for a few reasons:
1. It's precise, it's polished, it's personal, it's much bigger than being personal, and it shows the senator at her prosecutorial best. "That little girl was me" gives me a tingle every time she says it—it's such good writing. As Mark Harris wisely pointed out, "'That little girl was me' wasn't her point—it was the springboard to her point!" Her point: to draw "a direct line from him talking about being cooperative with segregationist senators to the fact that he was cooperative with them because on that point he AGREED with them. THAT was what left him at a loss for words."
2. It showed another side of Kamala Harris. "Cautious" is a word I heard David Axelrod use to describe her a few months ago, and it was something I kept thinking about during Harris's CNN town hall, when she seemed at pains not to take strong positions—everything was "we need to have a conversation about that," or "that is something we need to discuss as a country," or whatever. Often, too, she repeats herself—out of an abundance of caution? Or to buy herself time onstage? She will literally say things like "we need to have a conversation about that and we need to discuss it." Or she will say "we need to fight and we need to be vigilant." She does this all the time. It was refreshing seeing her not just fill the air with rhetoric, but to strike forcefully.
3. The whole thing underlined how old Biden is. He's oooold. He's like Father Time, this guy. He was old enough to be throwing his weight around on the subject of how people like Kamala Harris got to school, when they were six. He's old enough to have a record on issue of segregation, and it turns out he was on the "state's rights" side of that debate?? Sheesh. I was a big fan of the Obama Administration (and thanks, Joe, btw, for all you did for us gay people), but I never knew this about Biden. Suddenly I'm reminded of the time Biden called Obama "articulate"...
4. This thing of watching women take down powerful men is so freaking invigorating. Granted, Hillary Clinton had some epic owns of Trump during the debates—her debates were full of epic owns—aaaaaand... well... actually, let's not talk about what ended up happening anway... it's still too soon.
5. It underscored what a frail candidate Biden is. Thank god the myth of his inevitability went up in smoke that moment. Thank you, Kamala. He was back on his heels, he was clearly reeling, and he never recovered. He started yelling about his Civil Rights record, and then, in the middle of yelling, stopped abruptly and said "anyway, my time's up." No kidding.
6. It revealed how badly Biden is running his campaign. Immediately, people inside his campaign started leaking what a mess it's been—not a good sign. It suggests a candidate high on the fumes of his own ego, not listening to his staff. Otherwise, what motive would staffers have to bad-talk him to the press? Biden's campaign was "freaking out" during the debate about his performance, and "according to Biden’s staff, he isn’t listening to his debate prep and he’s 'set in his ways,'" a source with inside knowledge told reporter Olivia Nuizzi.
7. Seriously, though, the fumbling! So much fumbling. Biden can fumble anything. Early on, before Kamala's attack, when he said the NRA isn't the enemy? Later, toward the end of the debate, when each of the candidates was asked what's the one thing they will focus on first, on day one as President, and Biden's answer was: "Defeating Donald Trump"? Uhhh, pretty sure that's gonna have to come before a person gets to be the President on day one.
8. It was effective. Holy moly, was it. Harris had a goal going into that debate, clearly, and she achieved her goal. She is enjoying a huge surge in the polls, and Biden is taking a beating. The latest CNN poll:
BREAKING CNN/SSRS national poll:
Biden 22% (-10)
Harris 17% (+9)
Warren 15% (+8)
Sanders 14% (-4)
Buttigieg 4% (-1)
Margin of error: +/-4.7% pts
— David Chalian (@DavidChalian) July 1, 2019
On a personal note, I was thinking my dream ticket was Warren/Buttigieg, but hmmm, what about...