Don’t Send Kamala Harris to Persuade Joe Manchin

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The past four administrations have featured a president who was the charismatic outsider and big-picture face of the administration (Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump) and a vice president who was the more experienced Washington hand, with ties to Capitol Hill, handling the details behind the scenes (Gore, Cheney, Biden, Pence).

With Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the relationship is reversed. In fact, while Harris’s duties are likely to involve breaking a lot of ties in the coming months, there are some early indications that Harris may be a liability in negotiations with members of Congress, even with members of her own party.

After airing Thursday evening, WSAZ’s exclusive interview with Vice President Kamala Harris drew national attention.

Friday morning, the White House answered questions about the vice president’s appearance on two stations — one in Arizona, the other on WSAZ.

The interview even took U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., by surprise. Friday morning, Manchin visited one of West Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics. His visit comes just one day after the vice president spoke with WSAZ’s Amanda Barren about the proposed “American Rescue Plan” (ARP).

“I saw [the interview], I couldn’t believe it. No one called me [about it],” Manchin said. “We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, but we need to work together. That’s not a way of working together, what was done.”

Yes, Harris was in the U.S. Senate for four years, but those years coincided with the Trump presidency, and all of the incentives for Democratic senators with presidential ambitions during those years focused on opposing the administration and its GOP Senate allies, not reaching across the aisle.