Whenever the vice president is referenced in the name of an administration, it’s very rarely in an official capacity and almost always as a pejorative.
In fact, it’s been done almost exclusively with Republican administrations, at least in recent memory.
Anyone who called it the “Nixon-Agnew administration” did so to remind people that former Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew might not have been the wisest pick for Richard Nixon. (The always understated Rolling Stone journalist Hunter Thompson summed it up neatly when he noted that “Agnew was the Joey Buttafuoco of the Nixon administration.”)
The “Bush-Quayle administration” jibe was meant to remind people of the less erudite moments of Dan Quayle’s tenure as George H.W. Bush’s No. 2, such as “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” or “potatoe.”
And then there was the “Bush-Cheney administration,” meant to emphasize “The Daily Show”-style caricature of Dick Cheney as someone who drank the blood of newborn infants under a full moon just because, well, a man’s gotta have a hobby.
Thus, if someone says something about the “Biden-Harris administration,” it’s an insult — and it’s aimed at the president. He’s a placeholder, a doddering Trojan horse with hair plugs atop a head that doesn’t do much thinking anymore.
So imagine when that name comes not from a snide Republican but from the White House itself.
According to a leaked email allegedly from the White House communications team, it’s telling federal agencies to “be sure to reference the current administration as the ‘Biden-Harris Administration’ in official public communications.”
“Biden-Harris Administration” is in bold in the email, allegedly leaked to Outspoken, just in case you didn’t get it.
Outspoken is a small media outlet, so perhaps this might be some kind of fake or mix-up, right? Well, not so much.
Perhaps it is, but check out the official White House Twitter page, as seen Wednesday:
“The subtle move to diminish Biden was also reflected in the official Twitter account for the White House. The description for that account now reads, ‘Welcome to the Biden-Harris White House!’” Outspoken noted.
Furthermore, it said, “[p]ress releases and other communications from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General all exclusively refer to the Biden-Harris Administration, in lieu of only naming the president, which has been customary until now.”
Keep in mind, this comes as Harris has been taking more policy calls alone with world leaders — and getting a lot of play on Twitter for it, unusual for a vice president.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) February 18, 2021
I spoke with @VP @KamalaHarris today and congratulated her on her historic election. We also spoke about our shared priorities – beating COVID-19, fighting climate change, creating good jobs, strengthening trade, and promoting diversity. More on our call: https://t.co/VGYRHZdrDF
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 1, 2021
The most recent was with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, a call where Harris “affirmed her commitment to deepening the strong alliance between Norway and the United States.”
“The Vice President thanked the Prime Minister for Norway’s close security partnership with the United States and generous contributions to development and health security efforts around the world,” a White House release about the March 9 call said.
Harris “will be seen by everyone as a potential president in waiting,” a European ambassador said in February, according to Politico.
“Much more than in previous presidencies,” the person added.
I wonder why that is? Why is this the White House’s communications strategy? Perhaps it’s the fact that Biden continually calls Harris the president. Here’s him in September, talking about a potential administration he might be a part of:
Biden: “A Harris-Biden Administration is gonna relaunch that effort…”
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) September 15, 2020
It’s like he’s the vice president all over again. Except this time, that’s not even the office anyone elected him to. He’s at a higher pay-grade now — and he still doesn’t quite get it. Or maybe he does and he’s preparing Americans for the inevitable.
Whatever the case, we should take this very seriously indeed.
It’s not just gaffes anymore. It’s a “communication strategy.”
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