Saturday, March 13, 2021

When Kamala Harris Was In A Position To Make A Difference....,

WaPo | We had our chance to elect a woman as president in 2016 — and we blew it. Not electing Hillary Clinton, a moderate, competent candidate, was one of the worst blunders in U.S. history. Odds are that, if Clinton had won, a lot of victims of covid-19 would still be alive. (The British medical journal the Lancet attributed 40 percent of U.S. coronavirus deaths to Trump’s “inept” response, while other studies suggest that female leaders did better at dealing with covid-19 than male counterparts.)

We are likely to have another opportunity to elect a woman as president in 2024. While there are two potential Republican contenders — former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley and South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem — the most likely woman, by far, to win the presidency is Vice President Harris. That’s not only because 15 previous vice presidents have become president, but also because Joe Biden, already the oldest U.S. president in history, will be 82 in 2024. He has previously spoken of himself as a “transition candidate” and signaled that he would serve only one term.

Of course, now that he has finally attained the presidency on his third try, Biden may not want to give it up, but it’s imperative that Harris acquire the stature and experience not only to win the next race but also to govern effectively. That’s especially important given the likelihood that Republicans will nominate either Trump or a Trump mini-me. America can’t survive another four years of Trumpism. Helping Harris get ready for the presidency, therefore, may be Biden’s most important job, beyond responding to immediate crises such as the coronavirus and global warming.

That’s why I was delighted to read a report from my Post colleague Olivier Knox that says Harris is taking an active role in foreign policy, including meeting regularly with the secretaries of state and defense, becoming a “vocal participant” in policy discussions regarding Iran and Saudi Arabia, and calling world leaders on her own. National security policy is the most important part of the president’s portfolio, but it is an area where Harris, a former attorney general of California and U.S. senator, does not have much experience. She has 1,337 days to fill that gap on her résumé and get ready to break the ultimate glass ceiling.