Kamala Harris for president? @JimGeraghty is trying to scare me to death. UPDATE: Fake confessions are okay!

March 12, 2015
President Harris?

Ready for Kamala?

It’s been said that the Democratic “bench” in the upcoming presidential race is weak. Desolate, even. A toxic combination of assuming the nomination belongs to Hillary Clinton and the decimation of the Democratic Party at the state and federal levels in the 2010 and 2014 elections have left them with few other choices. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the fake Native American? The Democratic base would love her, but I doubt her act would play well outside of New England and the West Coast. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley? Who? New York Governor Mario Cuomo? Nah, he’ll probably be too busy with his campaign to stay out of federal court. Jim Webb? Maybe, but the champion of the “White working class” voter is going to have a hard time winning the enthusiasm of the modern Democratic Party.

So, really, all they have is Hillary. And yet, with scandals already piling up and considering Clinton’s poor political skills (did you see that press conference of hers at the UN, yesterday?), it’s not inconceivable that Lady Macbeth won’t be the nominee.

But if not her, then who?

Enter California’s Attorney General and likely next federal senator, Kamala Harris. Jim Geraghty gives her qualifications:

How about California state attorney general Kamala Harris? Yes, she’s running for the Senate right now. Part African-American, part Asian-American; first female state attorney general of California; vocal proponent of gun control; tough on those “predatory” banks; she tried to fight evictions of people who stopped paying their mortgages; opposes the death penalty; eager prosecutor of hate crimes; created an “Environmental Justice Unit” in the San Francisco DA’s office, and of course, enthusiastic supporter of EMILY’s List…

Tell me she isn’t the kind of candidate who would have progressive activists doing cartwheels. She’s the “tough D.A.” figure who goes after all of the liberals’ perceived enemies.

Some of you know I’m a lifelong Californian. Having grown up in Northern California, I still have an interest in San Francisco’s affairs, even though I now live in the south part of the state. And there’s something about the politics of the “Special City” that make one want to follow its wacky antics, much the way one can’t stop watching a slow-motion train wreck. Hence I know a little bit about Harris’ career. While everything Jim says above is true, consider the following few points that should have moderates and conservatives reaching for the Pepto:

  • Harris is a dogmatic opponent of the death penalty. While to her credit she defended California’s law (1), as San Francisco’s DA she notoriously refused to seek death for a cop-killer in 2004, an action almost unprecedented in California. Federal law enforcement, President Harris will have your back.
  • She has in the past shown questionable managerial skills and judgment, at best. In 2010, a district judge ripped Harris for her office’s concealment of evidence from defense attorneys in a scandal involving the SF crime lab and shrugging her shoulders over accountability.
  • She hates the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms in self-defense. She sought to intervene in a case in San Diego against the local sheriff’s restrictions on gun permits, even though no state law was challenged and the sheriff said he wouldn’t appeal. The only reasonable explanation is that she is so opposed to gun rights that she will stretch her office’s powers beyond their limits to fight them. Imagine the DoJ and BATF under her control.

Could Hillary’s weaknesses create room for another obscure state-level official who’s only recently come to national attention? Who knows?

But, if she does become president, it’s Geraghty’s fault.

Footnote:
(1) Before anyone says that shows she’s really a moderate, defending that law is her job as AG (2). The LA Times praising her for that is like praising the janitor for taking out the trash — that’s what he’s supposed to do.
(2) Though not doing so is an alarming trend among Democrat state AGs.

UPDATE: I’d forgotten about this one. To make a long story short, a prosecutor in Kern county (Bakersfield and environs) attached a fake confession to the transcript of an interview with a defendant, apparently hoping to coerce a plea deal or score a win in court. He was found out, the judge rightfully dismissed the case, and Kamala Harris appealed the dismissal:

Incredibly, the State of California, via Attorney General Kamala Harris, decided to appeal the case. The state’s key argument: That putting a fake confession in the transcript wasn’t “outrageous” because it didn’t involve physical brutality, like chaining someone to a radiator and beating him with a hose.

Forget a mostly joking reference to Harris running for president; she has no business being in the Senate or holding any office whatsoever. (h/t Crosspatch)


So, let me get this straight

May 20, 2010

We’re supposed to elect San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris as California’s next Attorney General? But we’re not to pay attention to her lousy courtroom record?

The records show that while Harris’ overall conviction rate has reached new highs over the past several years, that success is based almost entirely on plea deals negotiated before defendants accused of serious crimes proceed to trial. (Such pleas form the bulk of any D.A.’s convictions.) By contrast, felony convictions for cases that actually go to trial and reach a jury verdict — a comparatively small group that nevertheless includes some of a district attorney’s most violent and emotionally charged cases — have declined significantly over the past two years.

In 2009, San Francisco prosecutors won a lower percentage of their felony jury trials than their counterparts at district attorneys’ offices covering the 10 largest cities in California, according to data on case outcomes compiled by officials at the San Francisco Superior Court as well as by other county courts and prosecutors. (Officials in Sacramento, the state’s seventh-largest city, did not provide data.) Harris’ at-trial felony conviction rate that year was 76 percent, down 12 points from the previous year.

Okay, so she’s better at plea bargains than winning in court. Maybe she’s a great manager who will lead the Attorney General’s office to better days?

Um… no.

A well-known private defense attorney whose “unimpeachable judgment and independence” will assist District Attorney Kamala Harris with a brewing scandal and has contributed thousands of dollars, and public support, to Harris’ political aspirations.

On Friday, Harris announced that John Keker, the founding partner of a San Francisco law firm who rose to prominence as the chief prosecutor of Oliver North, would be assisting the District Attorney’s Office free of charge after prosecutors failed to follow basic legal protocols, putting convictions of hundreds of criminals at risk.

The office has come under scrutiny because, by law, prosecutors are required to provide any information that could be used to disqualify the testimony of an expert witness, such as criminal history or internal disciplinary actions. But the Police Department has never provided information about its own employees to prosecutors, and the prosecutors failed to ask for the basic information, jeopardizing convictions.

But the issue recently came to light in the fallout of the police drug-testing lab shutdown amid allegations that lab technician Deborah Madden took cocaine from evidence samples. Madden had a criminal past that was never divulged to defense attorneys. The scandal has already led to more than 600 drug cases being tossed.

So, Kamala Harris is lousy in court and can’t manage a large department. Tell me again why California voters should elect her in November?  I dont know

For the record, the coveted* Public Secrets endorsement for Attorney General goes to John Eastman, running for the Republican nomination.

*(Yeah, right.)

UPDATE: A San Francisco judge rips into Harris for her mismanagement.