Kamala Harris may not be my number-one choice for nominee, but hot damn she can land a punch. At a previous debate, she took her prosecutorial skills straight to Joe Biden. Last night, she changed tack and went for Trump, over and over again. In doing so, she demonstrated what kind of adversary she would be in general-election debates against Trump, and probably did herself some favors by making it easier to picture her as the nominee. (Not that "winning" debates against Trump in a general election would necessarily mean beating him: Hillary Clinton's debate performances were flawless).
My dream ticket used to be Warren/Buttigieg—with Buttigieg as attack dog (he's good at attacking while seeming nice and Christian, and unbelievably good at criticising Mike Pence)—but Buttigieg seems to get younger with each debate, less and less "presidential" (whatever that means) and more, I don't know, seal-like (this is a compliment, seals are cute!). His plea last night to stop attacking each other seemed Klobuchar-esque in its midwestern-scold dullness. "I'm above the fray" isn't going to work. It calls to mind John Kerry, another veteran once vying for a presidency, thinking certain attacks were so far beneath him they weren't worth responding to, and losing miserably.
But Harris? Wow—she can attack and attack and remain enormously charismatic while doing it. Here are some of her best Trump attacks from last night.
In her opening statement, she took aim directly at Trump by not only mentioning him but looking at the camera as if she were looking him in the eyes:
Then there was that Wizard of Oz moment that may or may not have been a coded reference to the president's penis (but was much more suave than Marco Rubio's attempt back when):
There was that thing she said about the racially motivated shooting, and how, while Trump didn't actually pull the trigger, he still was responsible for it:
And then after an interminable discussion about Biden's healthcare plan versus Sanders's and Warren's, which then other people jumped into as well, she once again reminded everyone who the real enemy was:
Of course, all eyes were on Biden last night to see if he would flub this debate as badly as he did the last two, or if Harris would come after him the way she did last time. She didn't. But I'm not sure I agree with everyone who thinks Biden did okay last night. His answer about reparations was... not related to the question?
"Play the radio, make sure the television, excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night" is his answer about reparations? Maybe Harris has learned she doesn't need to try to damage Biden. Give Biden the microphone and he will damage himself just by speaking.