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Ethan: All I have for you is one word. “Kamala!!!”
Phil: Has anyone told Joe Biden yet?
Ethan: Very funny.
Phil: After the disastrous campaign she ran for president (just for the record, she never even made it to the Iowa caucus), I wouldn’t get too excited.
Ethan: Oh, I’m excited. Although I picked Susan Rice, upon reflection, Sen. Kamala Harris was the right choice. Safe in terms of being tested. Bold in terms of what it says about America and how far we have come. She has federal experience and statewide experience. She is very popular among Democrats, women, and communities of color and she is winning among “moderates.” And, most importantly, she is ready to be president on day one.
Phil: Enough said. Let’s just skip the election and inaugurate her as president, I mean vice president.
Ethan: Can’t you just celebrate with me for one second!
Phil: Did you “celebrate with me” when Donald Trump picked Mike Pence?
Ethan: Well, I kind of did, but for different reasons.
Phil: Ha! How did that work out for you?
Ethan: It didn’t. You’re just being snarky because you know she’s the perfect pick that will seal the deal.
Phil: Not quite. But look, in all seriousness, it’s a “check the boxes” pick that surprised no one. Even a Republican like me predicted it. By the way, are you getting tired of losing out to my prognosticating, week after week?
Ethan: Yes. But the season is young.
Phil: Biden already had California. African Americans are overwhelmingly leaning to vote against Trump. Harris’ record in the US Senate was pretty non-consequential. Other than her support of the Green New Deal, wanting American citizens to pay for healthcare and education for people who entered America illegally, her bureaucratic nightmare of a student loan forgiveness program, and joking about smoking marijuana, I am not sure what there is much to brag about.
Ethan: Do I sense a bit of sarcasm?
Phil: I could go on.
Ethan: I think she is way more than a PC box checker. Distinguished career as attorney general for one of our largest and most diverse states. A solid grasp of national and international issues. And grounded in values that closely reflect the ambitions of the United States. I expect that within a week, we will see Biden’s margin over Trump in the double digits after this announcement.
Phil: John McCain’s numbers jumped after the first couple weeks of nominating Gov. Sarah Palin. We saw how that turned out.
Ethan: Somehow I think Kamala knows where Russia is and won’t have to read notes off her hand.
Phil: But that’s what the progressive media does, shine the light on Republicans to prop them up for a while, then attack and find fault with them at every opportunity.
Ethan: C’mon, Phil. While I certainly agree there was lots of sexism in the coverage of Palin, she became her own worst enemy, and McCain’s worst nightmare. And while I am sure there will be lots of sexist coverage of Harris focused on her looks and voice and gender, I believe her intellect, poise, and policy depth will shine through to the American people.
Phil: That’s because, when it comes to Democrats, the media will focus on her optics. Woman of color. Sitting senator. Former state attorney general. Her profile picture, so to speak. But, don’t expect to hear much about her criticism of Biden on segregation, her criticism of his inappropriateness with women, or her criticism of the 1994 Crime Bill, a law Biden was instrumental in passing.
Ethan: Her policy positions are clear. She is center-left on health care, proposing a Medicare for All plan that retained private health insurance. She is solidly pro-choice. She is a centrist on regulating business and Wall Street. She wants to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people by expanding background checks and holding manufacturers liable. And she is as powerful a voice as any major ticket nominee in history on racial injustice and police misconduct.
Phil: Sounds like a lot of legislating, regulating, and taxing us into prosperity. Just what America needs.
Ethan: As you said earlier, let’s swear them in now. I’m ready!
Phil Harriman served as a town councilor and state senator from Yarmouth. Ethan Strimling served as mayor and state senator from Portland.