She’s beautiful, brilliant, multi-ethnic and the next attorney general of California. Find out why Kamala Harris is the future of the Democratic Party, and everything Sarah Palin can’t hope to be.
In a country that’s becoming more diverse, Sarah Palin’s acidic style and viciousness toward anyone who doesn’t buy into her bumper sticker version of American history just don’t play well politically, or socially. But Democrats have yet to find someone who matches Palin’s megawatt star power, or who can capture the attention of the glam-focused mainstream media. At least, until now. Now, the Dems may have their best answer to Palin since Jennifer Granholm became governor of Michigan, giving the Dems a Princess Di-style family gene boost, but with a brain to match.
Kamala Harris, the newly elected attorney general of California, replacing newly elected Governor Jerry Brown, has the potential to be a major Democratic star. Politico’s Ben Smith explains why:
It’s easy to understand why Kamala Harris, California’s next attorney general, is being called the future of the Democratic Party, a rising political star in the mold of one of her big supporters — President Barack Obama.
At first glance, the president and Harris have much in common: Both are mixed-race children of immigrants raised by a single mother; both are eloquent, telegenic big-city lawyers with strong liberal credentials who catapulted from relative obscurity to the national stage. And like the first African-American president, Harris has broken a long-standing barrier — she’s California’s first African-American attorney general and the first woman to hold the office.
But Harris, whose position, potential and glamour will most likely give her as high a national profile as she wants, resists the comparisons.
“It’s flattering,” she told POLITICO, just weeks after claiming victory in a photo-finish race against Steve Cooley, her Republican opponent. Nevertheless, “these comparisons make me uncomfortable because I know what I want to do. I am really excited about being attorney general.”
(Word that some eager Democrats have dubbed her the “anti-Palin” draws a one-word reply: “oy.”)
Instead, what Harris mostly wants to talk about is an issue that’s almost entirely off the national radar.
“What I would like to contribute to the conversation,” she added, “is an in-depth discussion about what we can do to create smarter criminal justice policy.”
But Harris will have to do it over the Democrats’ growing buzz about her.
When she broke out of a six-candidate primary field in the race for attorney general, the San Francisco prosecutor won big endorsements from party heavyweights, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as endorsements from labor unions like the Service Employees International Union and all of California’s top newspapers. She also was the only down ballot Democrat for whom President Obama fundraised this year.
That level of support — coupled with glowing profiles in national magazines like Ebony and The Daily Beast, as well as appearances on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and a Matt Lauer interview on the “Today” show — lead top Democrats to predict she will soon become a household name.
“She’s a rare talent who will be a national figure shortly,” said Chris Lehane, a former Clinton aide who is now a consultant in California. “People call her the female Obama. It’s more apt to say she is the female Obama that progressives thought they were voting for.”
Harris swept into Washington last week for a handful of meetings at the Justice Department and an hour of congressional testimony on “cyberbullying.” But she also was scheduled for a photo shoot with Harper’s Bazaar, the glossy fashion magazine. …
Read the rest here.
As for Harris’ background, she is the first female/black/Indian-American A.G. of California:
Harris’s father, an economics professor from Jamaica, was active in San Francisco’s liberal politics, while her mother, a cancer researcher born in India, raised her daughter as a single parent, taking her to the lab and putting her to work cleaning pipettes. A graduate of Howard University, Harris did an internship with the late Sen. Alan Cranston, an influential Democrat from San Francisco, and bypassed law school at Georgetown to head west for the University of California — Hastings Law School in San Francisco.
So could a literal San Francisco liberal, who championed anti-recidivism programs in the criminal justice system (but who also championed an anti-truancy program that included putting parents in jail for chronically letting their kids roam the streets) and who beat back big money from the oil lobby and Karl Rove to win her place in government really become a national figure? It depends on how the Kamala roll-out is managed. One thing’s for sure: she won’t likely be doing any reality TV. Sorry, Mark Burnett.