Peggy Noodnik Writes Again (Kamala Harris ‘Veep’ Edition)

Latest in our long-running series

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan opened up the family-size can of worms with yesterday’s piece about the various and sundry deficiencies of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Kamala Harris Needs to Get Serious

Her shaky standing is a danger to the country given the position she could be called on to fill.

President Biden’s poll numbers are bad and Vice President Kamala Harris’s are worse. A survey this week from conservative-leaning Rasmussen had her at 39% favorable, 57% unfavorable.The number that stuck in the public’s mind came last month, from a USAToday/Suffolk poll that put her approval at 28%, disapproval at 51%.

The past few weeks she’s been hammered by bad news. There’s been an exodus of high-level staffers. The Washington Post had a sweeping, searing piece that described a “dysfunctional” and chaotic office full of bitter enmities. A consistent problem: Ms. Harris refuses “to wade into briefing materials prepared by staff members” and would “then berate employees when she appeared unprepared” . . .

All this leaves people uneasy. The president is old and his judgment questionable; she seems out of her depth. We will have another three years of this? It is also dangerous: We don’t want their weakness to become America’s weakness.

(Note, please, Exhibit Umpteen of a publication’s choosing the most unflattering image it can find of someone from the opposing team.)

Fear not for the republic, though: Ms. Noodnik had “some thoughts on how [Harris] might improve her situation,” such as a) come to terms with her job, b) become more useful, and c) decide to become serious.

The hardwincing staff will leave the broader critiques of Noonan’s piece to others, such as Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison . . .

or The Atlantic contributing writer Jemele Hill . . .

or investigative journalist Victoria Brownworth . . .

or TV writer Bryan Behar . . .

or random disgruntled folks.

Here’s our beef. In addressing the possibility that Harris “could become president at any moment the next three years,” Noonan writes that “[we] face grave challenges—China, Russia, the endurance of the American economy. Who leads us matters.”

What also matters is that anyone who looks at the challenges facing this country and ignores the challenge to the endurance of American democracy – the most serious since the Civil War – is not an honest broker of information.

You don’t have to take our word for it. Check out Barton Gellman’s chilling piece in the current issue of The Atlantic.

Trumps Next Coup Has Already Begun

January 6 was practice. Donald Trump’s GOP is much better positioned to subvert the next election.

Technically, the next attempt to overthrow a national election may not qualify as a coup. It will rely on subversion more than violence, although each will have its place. If the plot succeeds, the ballots cast by American voters will not decide the presidency in 2024. Thousands of votes will be thrown away, or millions, to produce the required effect. The winner will be declared the loser. The loser will be certified president-elect.

The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already.

Who or what will safeguard our constitutional order is not apparent today. It is not even apparent who will try. Democrats, big and small D, are not behaving as if they believe the threat is real. Some of them, including President Joe Biden, have taken passing rhetorical notice, but their attention wanders. They are making a grievous mistake.

And the anti-democratic forces on the right are making serious progress, as Charles Homans reports in today’s New York Times. He notes that a May Reuters/Ipsos poll   found that over 60% of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen. The bigger problem, Homans writes, is that they’re acting on it.

This belief has informed a wave of mobilization at both grass-roots and elite levels in the party with an eye to future elections. In races for state and county-level offices with direct oversight of elections, Republican candidates coming out of the Stop the Steal movement are running competitive campaigns, in which they enjoy a first-mover advantage in electoral contests that few partisans from either party thought much about before last November.

To Peggy Noonan, though, that’s all less of an issue than the U.S. economy. She’s worse than a noodnik. She’s a schnook.

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