It was a ham-fisted attempt at a power-move, a shear breakaway from the ultra-negative rhetoric that has punctuated Joe Bidens’ pronouncement of COVID19 in 2021 being “a pandemic of the unvaccinated”. Kamala Harris might be seeking to distance and differentiate herself from her running mate going into 2024 by couching a more ‘moderate’ stance than Biden.
But it appears that this move may be backfiring significantly, simultaneously angering her own partisans who have become deeply invested in the demonization of Americans refusing to give up their bodily autonomy and the overwhelming majority of Republicans who firmly and squarely place the blame on the Chinese Communist Party. All in all, it looks like a flip flop and one that is going to put the political novice who somehow found herself playing second fiddle to a feckless figurehead in a bad place: the crosshairs of both parties.
In a CBS Evening News interview, Harris set herself on a collision course with both sides of the vaccine mandate controversy when she said,
“I don’t think this is a moment to talk about fault,” Ms. Harris told interviewer Margaret Brennan. “It is no one’s fault that this virus hit our shores, or hit the world. It is more about individual power and responsibility and the decisions that everyone has the choice to make.”
A Major Flip From Biden’s Dark, Aggressive COVID Message
Harris continued to say that Americans “have the power today to go out and if you’ve not been boosted, go get boosted. The power today to go and get vaccinated. And that will have an impact on where we end up tomorrow.” Which superficially at least sounds like a softening of an increasingly aggressive, angry hardline stance from the government whose mouthpiece told us that “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. And it’s caused by the fact that despite America having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months free vaccines have been available in 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot.” And even more infamously told the American people in September,
“Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, And your refusal has cost all of us.”
The comments from Harris are also distinctly out of step with what’s coming from the Government medical establishment as exemplified by Monday’s message from Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the Biden White House’s COVID-19 Response team who gave one of the darkest pronouncements yet,
“For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm,”
It’s hard to say yet whether Harris will stay this course of more conciliatory messaging to the large plurality of Americans who have refused to submit to the administration’s mandates or if she will fall back in line. But this could signal a major change in her plans for 2024.