By Glenn Townes
It was announced this week that California senator Kamala Harris will be the running mate of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The move makes Harris the first African American and Indian woman to become the vice presidential nominee of a major political party. She is the second woman to be named on the Democratic ticket—Geraldine Ferraro was the first in 1984. When I heard the news about Harris, I cheered! After I watched and re-watched several interviews about her and listened to her roast, toast and grill a hapless Jeff Sessions and a tongue-tied William Barr, at some congressional hearings, I hollered, Right on!!
Step back to 2008, when it was announced that Alaska governor Sarah Palin would be the running mate of then hopeful presidential candidate Jon McCain, and she became the second female vice presidential nominee of a major political in American history–I chuckled and laughed. After I watched several interviews of her and read a number of articles about Palin, I guffawed! As we all know, Barack Obama won the presidency that year over McCain. Political pundits, scholars, journalists and others have long blamed the selection of Palin as the main reason why McCain lost.
Surprisingly, Palin congratulated Harris via Instagram once it was announced she would be Biden’s 2020 running mate. Palin wrote, “Climb upon Geraldine Ferraro’s and my shoulders, and from the most amazing view in your life consider lessons we learned.” Palin also offered a series of “tips” to Harris. She told her to “trust no one new,’ fight mightily to keep your own team with you,” don’t get muzzled” and don’t forget the women who came before you.”
I seriously doubt Harris will utilize any of the advice or “tips” from Palin. In fact, I hope she doesn’t and carves her own savvy and niche strategy that will move her into the White House VP position–something Ferraro and Palin failed to do. Except for the fact they are both women and were born in 1964, there is little the two have in common. To use an almost cliché, comparing the two women is like comparing a hearty and healthy glass of apple cider–to a bland, bitter and give me the runs cup of prune juice!
Lastly, I am anxious to see Harris debate Mike Pence on October 7th. As a journalist, I plan to write about it with an objective pen based on fact—both past and present. As a spectator, I’ll be watching it with a big bag of popcorn and wearing my favorite blue sweatshirt!