Anyone who watched the Obama administration closely knows that Joe Biden failed at just about every special assignment given to him by his president — remember stabilizing Iraq and limiting ISIS, the Cancer Moonshot and gun violence reduction? Consequently, when President Biden announced that Kamala Harris would reprise his role as vice presidential problem solver by making her the border security czar, any informed observer could expect a debacle. Foolishness ensued almost immediately.
Having been appointed the president’s point person for border security, most reasonable individuals would immediately head to the border and get some facts and show the public that someone is trying to get a handle on the situation. Not Kamala Harris, she immediately headed to Central America to address the root causes of the immigration problem. That should surprise no one. Ms. Harris is a dyed-in-the-wool progressive, and progressives love root causes. The progressive response to the skyrocketing crime rate in our major cities since the spring of 2020 is to defund police departments and redirect the money to solving the root causes of urban crime. The unprecedented slaughter of young Blacks at the hands of other young Blacks since the George Floyd incident surprised no one but well-meaning progressives.
The Biden-Harris indirect approach to the problem is based on a flawed assumption; that being that the United States can solve the problems of corruption and violent crime that are driving citizens of Central American nations to head for the United States. It apparently is lost on administration strategists that we have spent the last two decades trying to solve the problems of corruption and violence in Afghanistan, and we have failed miserably. Why would anyone reach the conclusion that we can do in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador what we couldn’t do in Afghanistan? For that matter, we cannot even address rampant corruption in New York State government much less in foreign nations.
The one thing Ms. Harris did right in her Central American swing was to issue a stern warning to citizens of those nations not to head north, and that immediately got her in trouble with her fellow progressives in the left wing of the Democratic Party. Almost immediately, that seasoned stateswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused Ms. Harris of fomenting violence against immigrants and labeled the Biden immigration policy — if there is one — inhumane. This could well signal the end of the tenuous truce between Biden moderates and the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party. Although The Washington Post has remained loyal, some members of the mainstream media have questioned the vice president’s handling of the border crisis. To her chagrin, Lester Holt of NBC pressed Ms. Harris on her failure to visit the border.
Even if we assume that billions of dollars sent to Central America will discourage some illegal immigration and asylum seeking — and that is a big if — it will take years to show results, and Republicans will use that time to hammer the administration on lack of progress.
Let’s summarize what Czar Harris has accomplished to date in addressing border security and immigration. She has based a policy approach on a false premise that would take years to implement even if it did work, and she has managed to alienate the far left of the Democratic party in the process while handing the Republicans an issue in 2022.
This places Mr. Biden in a bind. If his glass-ceiling-busting-minority woman vice president fails her first big test, what does he do with her? When Mr. Biden screwed up one of his special assignments, President Obama quietly swept it under the rug since no one paid much attention to Mr. Biden anyway. Ms. Harris is a different kettle of fish. Those who live by identity politics stand to suffer the consequences when the identities in question show that they perform poorly. If Mr. Biden is lucky, there will be a humanitarian disaster somewhere in the world. The U.S. military is superb at fixing things like that, and Mr. Biden could send Ms. Harris there to take credit. However, I would recommend against sending her too soon. If the disaster happens in Bangladesh, she might well head to Oklahoma to study how the oil industry and climate change were the root causes.
President Biden wants Ms. Harris to continue his vice-presidential legacy, and she is off to a great start. Mr. Biden went 0 for three in special projects over eight years, and it has only taken Ms. Harris six month to goon up the first. Heck of a job Kamala.
• Gary Anderson lectures on Alternative Analysis at the graduate level.