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OPINION

Biden's Use of Vice President Kamala Harris

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The good news for President Joe Biden is that his approval rating, as reported by a recent AP-NORC poll, stands at 38%. This is his second worst rating in his presidency, slightly better than his 36% in July 2022. Yes, that is his "good" news. It should be worse.

Vice President Kamala Harris's approval numbers are even lower.

If it were not for Black Americans, Biden and Harris would have far worse scores.

Let's see a poll that does not include Black Americans or one that separates suburban and rural voters from urban voters - the results would be extremely poor for Biden.

Many would say that he picked Harris as vice president to motivate and lock in the Black women vote, while also helping to guarantee that once elected, no one would want to push him out of office.

The normal and generally accepted prior experience for a U.S. vice president are the following: congressman, senator, governor, ambassador, Cabinet or sub-Cabinet member. Being a state's top lawyer/attorney general is not something any of the past vice presidents boasted of as a credential for the number two position in the land.

None of our prior vice presidents had as little experience in one or more of the aforementioned positions than Harris. Plus, she waited just two years after becoming a senator before announcing her run for president.

In the last half century no vice president has had less than 10 years of related experience.

It should be noted that the liberal media criticized former President George H. W. Bush's pick for the role - Dan Quayle - claiming he was too inexperienced. Yet Quayle had a combined 12 years of experience as a congressman and senator. Interesting.

It is equally as appalling, however, if reports are true, that Biden now wants to create distance between himself and Harris, to the point of using her as the reason he must seek a second term, as Harris would become the Democrats' frontrunner if Biden chooses not to run.

To use Black people for political gain the way Biden has is one of the reason's Black people should reconsider having "all their eggs in one basket" - the basket of the Democrat Party. Also, it is not good for our democracy as it contributes to our increasing polarization.

A review of African Americans in top positions in Biden's administration would show that Harris is not the only one who truly lacks prior experience for the role.

This is not partisan criticism. Former Democrat Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama selected African Americans who were highly qualified and were prepared to take on Cabinet, sub-Cabinet positions, and beyond. For example, former Assistant Attorney General Deval Patrick (Clinton's pick) went on to become the governor of Massachusetts and Eric Holder was a Deputy Attorney General before becoming a member of Obama's Cabinet as Attorney General.

During my tenure in Congress former Republican President George H.W. Bush groomed and selected folks like Dr. Louis Sullivan, General Colin Powell, and Condelezza Rice. Sullivan established Morehouse College Medical School and served as Health and Human Services secretary. Powell and Rice became Secretary of State after gaining prior related experience.

I am not being critical of the performance of those of color in the Biden administration. Preparation is the key to success. It has little to do with one's abilities or talents. I have seen "the movie" when it comes to being properly prepared for the challenge.

In the spirit of college basketball's "March Madness" here is a personal anecdote. My college basketball coach used this same strategy on me years ago.

In my last home weekend of my college basketball career he announced minutes before tip-off that he was starting me after playing me sparingly most of the season. I was ill prepared and stunk up the gym, with turnover after turnover. It was ugly. I will always remember the smug smile on his face.

"See, that is why I did not play him much, he simply was not that good" was his implied remark and accepted by some observers. I learned my lesson: always be prepared.

After spending hours of my own time (outside of my team practices) preparing for my last three games, I returned to my freshman form - when I was averaging 25 points per game. Following graduation from Yale I went on to a NBA rookie camp and my coach went to the unemployment office. He was fired at the end of the season.

Like my basketball coach, I contend that Biden figured Harris would struggle in her position due to her lack of preparation/experience. Time will tell Biden's fate.

The good news for Harris is that she is now gaining valuable experience, but she has to be willing to work harder.

Gary Franks served three terms as U.S. representative for Connecticut's 5th District. He was the first Black Republican elected to the House in nearly 60 years and New England's first Black member of the House. Host: podcast "We Speak Frankly." Author: "With God, For God, and For Country." @GaryFranks

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