August 20, 2019

New Op-ed: Why Kamala Harris is not ready for prime time

Why Kamala Harris is not ready for prime time

Originally published by Washington Times

Democratic presidential nominee Kamala Harris is attacking Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan, reportedly telling donors in the Hamptons this weekend that she has “not been comfortable with Bernie’s plan.”

The only problem? Sen. Harris co-sponsored Sen. Sanders’ Medicare for All legislation last year. At the same event, she also told the elite 1 percent of whom she was courting, her plan would leave room for private insurance. Again, false. Her plan would erode the private insurance market within 10 years. 

This is the inconvenient truth for Ms. Harris: Her record, from a prosecutor in California to the presidential trail today, is filled with contradictions and outright distortions. 

An examination of Ms. Harris’ professional record doesn’t make her flip-flopping on health care an outlier, it’s part of a pattern — one of politicking issues Americans feel passionately about instead of having heartfelt and firm ideological positions.

Take for example her time as San Francisco’s district attorney and as attorney general of California.

As a district attorney, Ms. Harris vowed she would never pursue the death penalty because of her moral and judicial beliefs. She upheld that promise when she declined to seek the death penalty for David Hill, who killed a police officer, and she came under immense scrutiny for the decision.

Yet, when she ran for a higher office, attorney general in 2010, she switched her position. She campaigned she would enforce and defend death sentences on appeal. She did just that — in 2014 she appealed a judge’s decision that deemed California’s capital punishment unconstitutional. Ms. Harrisdidn’t have to make the appeal — if she really believed capital punishment was immoral — but did so because it was politically expedient at the time.

Ms. Harris also flinched when it came to supporting Californians in modifying their so-called three-strikes law. As a district attorney, Ms. Harris required her office only charge a third strike if it were a serious or violent crime. Under California law at the time, someone who committed a third felony could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, even if the crime was nonviolent. 

Yet, when a ballot initiative was proposed in 2014 at the state level to implement a more lenient policy, reducing some low-level felonies to misdemeanors, Ms. Harris didn’t back it. She was, however, defending her seat as attorney general. Again, not politically expedient. 

Later in 2014, she laughed off the idea legalizing marijuana for recreational use, indeed she had locked up many low-level offenders in her district on such crimes.

Flash forward to 2019, and Ms. Harris has signed on to Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, which would make marijuana legal at the federal level, and went on a radio talk show on the campaign trail to talk about her time smoking pot. 

Other problematic flip-flops abound. 

When Ms. Harris was district attorney, she supported a policy to report arrested undocumented juveniles to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. She now supports bills which prevent ICE from collecting this sort of information. As attorney general she opposed legislation that would have required her office to investigate fatal shootings involving police officers. Her presidential campaign now denies that was ever the case. 

Her position-switching on the campaign trail continues.

She eviscerated front-runner Joe Biden on the debate stage over his stance on busing. However, later that week, campaigning in Iowa, Ms. Harris admitted she had the exact same stance on the issue as the former vice president. The attack was premediated, expertly executed, politically cutting — and purposely distorting.

Ms. Harris is not an honest broker. She’s a craven politician seeking the highest office in the land, and she’s more than willing to lie, manipulate and flip-flop her way to get there. Ms. Harris is not ready for prime time.

• Kelly Sadler is the communications director of America First, the official super PAC for President Donald J. Trump´s 2020 re-election bid.