12 August 2020 08:47
Frydenborg (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter @bfry1981) August 11, 2020 (see related August 8 article: Based on Experience, Susan Rice Is Easily—by Far—the Best Choice for VP for Biden (Sorry Harris Fans, that Includes Kamala)) WASHINGTON and SILVER SPRING—In my earlier recent piece comparing the careers of California Senator Kamala Harris and former Obama Administration National Security Advisor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, I noted that I have been watching and really enjoying ESPN's The Last Dance (the documentary series about Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls's championship teams, especially their final championship run). Until recently, I only had a vague—I had never digested her in depth or at length—but strongly positive impression of her, with no complaints that I can recollect; this was, in part, because I researched the Benghazi situation deeply in advance of Clinton's marathon Congressional testimony of October, 2015, and realized that entire case against Hillary Clinton (and, by default, Susan Rice) in terms of the Benghazi fiasco, was, as I noted at the time, a cynical, disgusting, disingenuous, dishonest, witch hunt-like, purely political attempt to damage Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration before the 2016 election (check out my in-depth article examining this hearing for a dismantling of all the specious, misleading, and/or untruthful arguments put out by Republicans). Thus, when there was a highly-anticipated hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee with key figures from the intelligence and law enforcement community, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had only weeks earlier appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to investigate Trump's ties to Russia, Russian election interference, and any possible collusion between people around Trump with the Russian government or its intermediaries, I was highly interested. Between that and the regulations of the particular law governing Mueller's appointment—regulations that that did not apply to the precedent Harris was citing—Harris's point was moot and so were her attempts to get Rosenstein, in a quite a badgering (do not worry, I apply that term often for male congressman) and hostile manner, to commit to a statement in writing like the one she cited earlier but that did not apply under circumstances that were quite different in relation to Harris's line of questioning. Rosenstein is far from perfect and has had some problematic aspects of his time as Deputy AG ands since, but at this point he has been very much on the right side by deciding to appoint a special counsel, Mueller, and working to keep the integrity of Mueller's investigation secure amidst considerable pressure to compromise it by Trump, Republicans, and right-wing media.
So Harris knew she did not need to be overly concerned over Rosenstein at that point; she knew her clever attempt to prosecutorally box Rosenstein in like he was a defendant on the witness stand back in California was not getting at the heart of any major issues with the Mueller probe, knew that her actions were designed to generate a soundbite that would hopefully go viral, and knew she was engaging in self-promotion that was a subtle attack on the integrity of both Rosenstein and Admiral Rogers over a moot point, designed to make her look like she was a tough prosecutor who was taking a version of Law and Order to Washington. And if you think I am making this up, this is exactly how Maya Rudolph satirized Harris on Saturday Night Live: always looking to create a media moment that would go viral on the internet, designed to get her attention and often show her as a tough ready-for-primetime prosecutor, regardless of the level of substance behind what she was saying. Harris's plan was already implemented within two days of the hearing, with Harris was advertising stickers on Facebook with the words "courage not courtesy" you could get on her website—not on her Senate site, but kamalaharris.org (translation: she's running. At the same time, I am still publishing this not just because I had written most of it before the pick was announced, but because I hope these concerns I have will be shared by others in a way where we push Harris to be her best self, not the disappointing campaigner we saw in 2019 and much better than the performance I saw in the hearing from 2017 I discussed above. I hope, now that she has bested all but one man to be the second survivor of the Democratic primaries, that she will feel less pressure, feel more freedom, and feel confident enough in her selection by Biden to run more on substance and less on style and seeking viral moments (not that those do not help, but that is my preference as one of her supporters and one who wants to see our politics reelevated).