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Any future political success for the California Democrat depends chiefly on the success of the Biden administration. Whether in 2024 or 2028 she can ride a wave of success, or — if the administration is seen as failing — it’ll drag her down. It further depends on her ability to grow, both in policy and political ways.
As captivating as the Kevin Siers cartoon may be, more important than any designated assignments is filling the “Mondale model” for the vice presidency. Crafted by the late Walter Mondale, vice president to Jimmy Carter, this entails a genuine partnership between the president and his number two. This is why we see Harris involved in every major decision and in the room for every important meeting.
Even given the inevitable spin, it appears the Biden-Harris relationship is going well in the first 20 weeks. With the COVID-19 travel limitations, they’ve probably spent more time together than usual. Her staff, headed by a veteran operative and Clintonite, Tina Flournoy, is said to be in sync with the president’s. Any residual resentments from a 2019 debate clash they had over school busing has been smoothed over. She’s cautious, giving interviews mainly to friendly journalists.
In voting rights and migration on the southern border, Harris has two exceedingly difficult charges. They are so big that — whatever role Harris plays — ultimately the buck will stop with Biden.