Tag Archives: Kamala Harris

Second gent? Really?

Forgive my nitpicking. I can’t help myself at times, so cut me some slack.

Never before has the spouse of a president or vice president been a man. Until now. Doug Emhoff is married to Vice President Kamala Harris. OK, so why do the media keep referring to Emhoff as the “second gentleman”?

We have a first lady in the person of Jill Biden. Emhoff’s marriage to the vice president, therefore, makes him the “first gentleman.” Isn’t that right?

If women occupied both the presidency and vice presidency and were married to men, then the husband of the VPOTUS would be the second gentleman. Not now. Doug Emhoff, so far, is the only male American to have been thrust into the political limelight by virtue of his marriage to the vice president.

Let’s be more accurate, eh? Or perhaps I just am not understanding something.


VPOTUS fighting back

Vice President Kamala Harris has been for years an inviting target for right-wing pundits and politicians.

So it comes as no surprise to yours truly that she now is being separated from the rest of the Biden administration and singled out for criticism that she is “underutilized,” that her office is in disarray and is dysfunctional and that President Biden is ignoring her best advice.

Hmm. Do you think perhaps there is some rumbling and grumbling out there that she might become the Democrats’ next best hope for the presidency? That perhaps she might seek to succeed President Biden if the incumbent decides to leave office after a single term?

Harris is answering the critics. She contends that all the tittering and chatter is just that and that she is a functioning member of the Biden team.

I get that some of the reporting on alleged discontent comes from mainstream media outlets, such as CNN and Politico. The reporting does feed, though, into the right-wing distortion machine that inflates any negative-sounding report into something unrecognizable.

President Biden has said he intends to run for re-election next time. I dislike the word “intend,” as it leaves too much for room for someone to change his or her mind. If he does, then my hope would be that he wins re-election in 2024.

If not, I believe the president has a fully capable partner in Vice President Harris. If only she could stop the rumor mill from grinding her to pieces.


‘These officers are heroes’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Yes, they are, Mme. Vice President.

So it was today when VP Kamala Harris along with President Biden conducted a White House ceremony to honor the Capitol and Metropolitan DC police officers who stood up against a rioting mob of terrorists who on 1/6 stormed the Capitol Building.

The mob’s intent was clear: to prevent Congress from doing its constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Was that an insurrection against the government, against our democratic system? Yes. It was. There can be no doubt.

The president and vice president today honored the men and women who stood in the breech against the mob, those who were incited by the individual who lost the 2020 election, the 45th POTUS.

I was struck today by three aspects of the event as I watched Biden sign the resolution that honors the police with the Congressional Gold Medal.

One was the presence of the children who took part in the ceremony. President Biden took a moment to hand out the ceremonial pens to the children and then instructed them to give the pens to the officers gathered behind the desk where the president sat and signed the resolution.

Another was the presence of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican — the only GOP lawmaker present at a ceremony meant to honor the officers who protected all the members of Congress who were threatened by the terrorists. The absence of other key GOP leaders — such as Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy — is a shameful example of their political fealty to the twice-impeached former POTUS.

A third key point was the strong language that Biden and Harris used to describe the events of 1/6. They didn’t pussyfoot around what the whole world witnessed that day. We watched a frontal assault on our democratic system. We watched an insurrection take place in real time.

And yet, there are members of the very legislative body those officers protected who refuse to acknowledge the heroism and the patriotism of the officers who stood in harm’s way. They have disgraced their high office.

Enough about them. The men and women will be honored forever and ever for their courage in the face of blind anger and hatred.

Who’s a socialist?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The dictionary offers a comprehensive explanation of a term that has been weaponized in the current political debate.

It is socialism. The dictionary describes it this way :

” … a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

That is where I want to start this brief blog post.

Republicans throw the “s-word” out there whenever they hear a policy that want to oppose. It’s socialist, they say. Those who preach it believe in socialism. They want to strip away capitalism.

That’s the mantra of the demagogues who throw around “socialism” and “socialist” as if they know what the hell they’re talking about.

They don’t.

I have heard nothing from President Biden or Vice President Harris to suggest they favor taking over complete control of the means of production, distribution or exchange.” They remain, as far as I can tell, as dedicated to capitalism and the traditional American way of life as you and me.

That isn’t stopping the critics, though, from tossing around hot-button terminology as if it’s gospel. Socialism has become the term du jour that right-wing critics are using to scare the daylights out of those who adhere to their world view.

Here’s my suggestion for the day.

How about just chillin’ out? Americans elected a mainstream politician as our president in 2020. He chose an acknowledged political liberal as his running mate. Let us remember, too, that President Biden is in charge of the executive branch, which is one of three co-equal branches of government.

All of this is my way of saying that a president can propose all he wants, but it falls on the legislative branch — Congress — to enact legislation that becomes the law of the land.

Are the POTUS and VPOTUS going to pitch a notion that we become a socialist nation?

Not in a zillion years.

VP Harris to visit Texas … will Gov. Abbott be there, too?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Vice President Kamala Harris, who’s taken her share of hits for failing — so far — to visit the U.S. southern border after being put in charge of handling the immigration crisis, is coming to see it for herself.

She arrives Friday in El Paso.

OK, she’s been a bit late in laying eyes on the crisis. Some of the criticism is warranted. I won’t pile on here.

Kamala Harris is set to visit the border (msn.com)

I do want to know, though, whether Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will be on hand to greet her as she arrives. Will the Republican governor meet with the Democratic VP to discuss common problems and search for common solutions? Or will he continue to take pot shots at the Joe Biden administration, declaring its immigration policy to be a failure while asserting his desire to build a wall along the state’s entire border with Mexico?

Good government requires teamwork among state and federal officials. Here is a chance, I submit, for Gov. Abbott to join with Vice President Harris in ensuring that Texas is on the same page with President Biden and his immigration team led by the vice president.

I hope to see Gov. Abbott on hand to lend his voice to this important discussion.

VP goofs with Memorial Day greeting

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This news item came from Fox News, but you know what? The right-leaning news network makes a point in mentioning an error of omission that came from Vice President Kamala Harris.

The VP offered a Memorial Day greeting that wished us all a happy “long weekend.” The criticism comes from those who wondered why Kamala Harris didn’t mention the significance of the “long weekend,” which is the significance of the fallen warriors we honor each year.

The critics are correct. The vice president certainly understands the significance of the Memorial Day weekend. Yet for a sitting VP to fail to recognize it publicly with a social media greeting just makes many of us a bit chapped.

This is a somber weekend. Yes, we should enjoy each other’s company, the fellowship we are engaging in as we come out of the COVID pandemic. Let us also pay tribute to the Americans who paid the supreme price so we can enjoy “the long weekend.”

No ‘designated survivor’?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden is going to stand before a sparse gathering of officials Wednesday night for his first speech to a joint congressional session.

Here, though, is a strange wrinkle: There will be no “designated survivor” among the Cabinet members who can step into the office in the event of a catastrophe.

The COVID pandemic is going to limit the audience to 200 people. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be present, along with Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate President pro-tem Patrick Leahy. Harris, Pelosi, Leahy and Blinken all, in that order, would succeed to the presidency if something happened to those ahead of them in the line of succession.

So, were something to happen, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would be the next to step into the office.

No designated survivor for Biden’s first joint address to Congress (msn.com)

Nothing is going to happen. Let’s stipulate that much.

It does kind of give me the creeps nonetheless to comprehend how much this pandemic has upset everything.

POTUS to speak to sparse ‘crowd’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Joe Biden campaigned for the presidency in the midst of a pandemic, meaning that he avoided staging big campaign rallies.

As president, he is getting set to speak to a joint session of Congress this week. Hmm. Guess what … the House of Representatives chamber will contain a fraction of the number of people who usually listen to these speeches.

The Cabinet won’t be there. Only the Supreme Court chief justice, John Roberts, will be present, with the rest of the court staying away. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley will represent the military brass. Members of the House and Senate will be there. First lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will be in the VIP section, but they will be virtually unaccompanied.

But … the event will show off a bit of history-making. Sitting behind President Biden will be two women: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris.

I understand they’ll be masked up, as will the audience in the chamber.

An earlier blog post wondered how the partisans will react. Will they cheer the president’s arrival? Will they stand and applaud when Speaker Pelosi introduces him?

I am not going to obsess over things we cannot control. I am, however, going to applaud the precautions that the powers that be are taking to avoid creating one of those “super spreader” events.

After all, the pandemic is still raging.

Mondale blazed a VP trail

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The modern U.S. vice presidency has as its godfather a man known as Fritz. That would be Walter Mondale, who today died at the age of 93.

Say what you might about the likes of Democrats Al Gore and Joe Biden who came along after Mondale’s single VP term during the Jimmy Carter administration. Then we have Republican Dick Cheney.

All those men left their imprint on the vice presidency, too. They became key policy advisers to the presidents they served. Thus, the well-known phrase that former VP John Nance Garner attached to the office he occupied during Franklin Roosevelt’s first two terms as president, which he said wasn’t worth “a bucket of warm pi**,” no longer was relevant to the office.

Then came Mondale’s historic choice of a woman, Geraldine Ferraro, to run as vice president along with him as the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 1984. They lost in a historic landslide to President Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush.

Ferraro was the first woman to run on a national ticket. Republican Sarah Palin would run as VP in 2008 with Sen. John McCain and, of course, Kamala Harris would be elected vice president in 2020.

There you have it. Walter Mondale made history by rewriting the vice presidency and then made it again by starting to clear away the obstacles that kept women off the national ticket.

Fritz Mondale was a great man and a dedicated public servant. May he rest in eternal peace.

‘Violence must end’ … do ya think?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke for millions of us.

As The Hill reported: “Yet again we have families in our country that are grieving the loss of their family members because of gun violence,” Harris told reporters as she greeted Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. “There is no question that this violence must end and we are thinking of the families that lost their loved ones.”

Eight people died in a massacre at the FedEx distribution center in Indianapolis. The shooter then killed himself.

Harris on Indianapolis shooting: ‘This violence must end’ | TheHill

I won’t identify the lunatic on this blog. I choose to keep his name to myself; besides, you probably already know it.

I don’t know about you, but I am running out of ways to express my outrage over this kind of violence. I am left to throw up my hands, to shake my noggin back and forth, to offer a quiet prayer for the families of those latest victims of this madness.

President Biden has called on Congress to enact laws tightening background checks. He has issued an executive order banning “ghost guns” that have no serial numbers. He and others are imploring Congress to step up. I join them in that effort.

My hope is giving way to a cynical belief that we are being governed by cowards. Shame on them. Shame on those among us for putting them in power.