she can lay claim to a style that is the future of American politics: Her combination of incivility, bullying, and victimhood makes her the perfect reflection of our current moment.
.. Harris clearly tried to bully both Sessions and Rosenstein, cutting them off as they spoke and not giving them a chance to speak before she moved on to a new insinuation.
.. Male chauvinism is real and deplorable, as is racism. But what actually happened in the committee hearings bore little resemblance to the narrative that quickly took hold about them. Harris was not the victim here; a former district attorney, she was actually the one throwing her weight around in questioning Rosenstein and Sessions. McCain sought Burr’s intervention to begin with because in both instances, Harris had interrupted the witness, badgering him and rudely refusing to let him answer as she sought to produce damning clips for viral consumption
.. Harris is obviously not the first grandstanding senator in history to bully a witness in this manner. But it is, to put it mildly, unusual for cabinet-level officials to be treated like mafia dons.
.. there was no doubt that Harris was playing to her party’s base rather than “seeking the truth.”
.. Yet if the claims of Harris and her supporters were pure bunk, they were also brilliant political theater.
.. McCain’s and Burr’s pleas for civility in the committee — especially when a former colleague was being questioned — may have been easy to spin as racist or sexist, but they were really a feeble gesture of dissent against a sea change in American political culture.
.. By deliberately flouting conventional notions of civility in her questioning, Harris gratified the desire of liberals for their political leaders to get rough with the opposition. But in then posing as a victim who was being silenced
.. As the party that has linked itself inextricably to identity politics at the expense of its traditional working-class base, Democrats are particularly charmed by the idea of a minority woman standing tall in the face of abuse from white, male conservatives.
- .. In theory, Harris could ride some combination of
- an Obama-style appeal to minority voters,
- her newly burnished credentials as a feminist victim, and
- an appeal to the appetite of more militant “resisters” for total war on the GOP
all the way to the Democratic nomination in 2020.
.. Her incivility and appeal to identity politics may be everything that is wrong with contemporary politics.
Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, was cut off by Republican senators on Tuesday as she questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the latest high-profile Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in its investigation into Russian election interference.
.. But the moments were notable as the second time in a week that Ms. Harris, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent and is the only minority woman on the committee, was interrupted by two male colleagues during a hearing.
.. Last Wednesday, Ms. Harris was interrupted by Senator Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the committee, and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, as she tried to question the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein. On Tuesday, the two again interjected as she questioned Mr. Sessions over his role as campaign surrogate for President Trump and contact with Russian officials
.. When Ms. Harris then pressed Mr. Sessions on a Justice Department policy he cited as his rationale for not answering questions, Mr. McCain spoke up.
“Chairman,” Mr. McCain said, “the witness should be allowed to answer the question.”
Mr. Burr responded: “Senators will allow the chair to control the hearing. Senator Harris, let him answer.”
.. Here is a partial transcript of Ms. Harris’s exchange with Mr. Sessions.
HARRIS: “Is that policy in writing somewhere?”
SESSIONS: “I think so.”
HARRIS: “So did you not consult it before you came before this committee knowing we would ask you questions about that?”
SESSIONS: “Well, we talked about it. The policy is based …”
HARRIS: “Did you ask that it would be shown to you?”
SESSIONS: “The policy is based on the principle that the president …”
HARRIS: “Sir, I’m not asking about the principle. I am asking, when you knew you would be asked these questions and you would rely on that policy, did you not ask your staff to show you the policy that would be the basis for you refusing to answer the majority of questions that have been asked of you?”
McCAIN: “Chairman, the witness should be allowed to answer the question.”
BURR: “Senators will allow the chair to control the hearing. Senator Harris, let him answer.”