Let’s take a moment to admire Senator Kamala Harris.
Watching her interview with William Barr was delightful for many reasons. She asked him a series of polite, pointed questions, under which he admitted that he had not actually looked at evidence before offering his own opinion on the Mueller report, noting he’d merely skimmed it. But the highlight of Harris’s questioning might have come when she asked him, “Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?”
After he stammered, she asked directly, “Yes or no?”
When he replied, “I’m trying to grapple with the word ‘suggest,’” Harris seemed to almost enjoy toying with him, asking: “Hinted?” “Inferred?”
When he claimed he had not reviewed the evidence, Harris said: “If in any U.S. attorney’s office around the country, the head of that office, when being asked to make a critical decision about, in this case, the person who holds the highest office in the land, and whether or not that person committed a crime, would you accept them recommending a charging decision to you if they had not reviewed the evidence?”
Cory Booker, sitting next to Harris, gazed at her with undisguised admiration and respect, and all I can say to that is, get yourself a male colleague who looks at you the way Booker looks at Harris.
When someone wonders whether or not a woman could be tough enough to be president, show them this. It would be wonderful to watch a similarly unflinching, utterly competent Harris in a room with Vladimir Putin.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily translate to everyone watching. The top comment in response to CSPAN’s airing of the clip featuring the discourse between Senator Harris and William Barr states, “She probably wouldn’t want to but she’d make a great Justice of the Supreme Court.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 1, 2019
No doubt she would! But she’s also running for president and is currently ranked 3rdaccording to CNN power rankings of the candidates on April 26. She could in fact become president, rather than accepting a lesser position. But then, we’ve certainly seen more female Supreme Court Justices than we have presidents. There have been four female Supreme Court Justices, and zero female presidents—always a fun fact for those who feel sexism does not exist in America.
This is still far better than John Leguizamo’s declaration: “Just putting out there! But what about Buttigieg2020 and #KamalaHarris as vice! That’s the ticket!
— John Leguizamo (@JohnLeguizamo) April 4, 2019
(Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as nice as he seems, has significantly less governing experience than Senator Harris.)
The only other female presidential candidate from a major party we can really compare Harris to is Hillary Clinton, and that’s one of the reasons it was so enjoyable to watch her be frank in her interaction with Barr.
Throughout her campaign, Hillary Clinton more or less constantly had to temper her behavior to seem likeable. “Likeable” for a woman often means being unfailingly polite, soft spoken, and agreeable. In her memoir, What Happened, she wrote about the second presidential debate where Trump hulked behind her, following her around the stage, making faces as she spoke.
“It was one of those moments when you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, ‘Well, what would you do?’ Do you stay calm, keep smiling, and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.’”
Hillary Clinton chose option A. She remained extremely polite. It did not stop her from being labeled a “nasty woman” by Trump.
Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor, seems like someone who might choose option B. That is surely something many women would welcome seeing at this point.
She’s been forthright in a great many matters over the past few weeks.
She has said that Barr should step down, tweeting, “What I just saw from the Attorney General is unacceptable. Barr must resign now.”
What I just saw from the Attorney General is unacceptable. Barr must resign now.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 1, 2019
She has called out the high mortality rates among black mothers. “This is an issue about race,” she said of the fact that black women are three times more likely than white women to die in childbirth. “That is a truth, uncomfortable though it may make us. It is a truth that must be spoken.” At her NAACP keynote speech she noted, “Let’s say this loud and clear: Without voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia; Andrew Gillum is the governor of Florida.”
Hearing a woman boldly speaking these truths—truths which make some people uncomfortable—is thrilling. It is a relief after hearing politicians mince words about topics that might be perceived as alienating to Trump voters for so long.
It’s not surprising that Trump, a misogynist, is now calling Senator Harris a “nasty woman.” Senator Harris’s response? “My primary interest is to pursue justice. You can call that whatever name you want, but I think that’s what the American people want in a leader.”
Certainly, that should scare Trump, a president who has seemingly sought to obstruct justice. But more than that, Trump has always been terrified of strong women. And he should be. Because Harris might have what it takes to make sure he’s not president much longer.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US