The latest polling from Rasmussen discloses that we are in something of a vice presidential crisis. The collapse in confidence in President Biden is unsettling enough at home and abroad. It now turns out that the percentage of those queried by Rassmussen who reckon that Vice President Kamala Harris is qualified to assume the duties of the presidency has plunged — to 43% in the latest soundings from 49% in April.
This would be a devil enough of a fix in an ordinary situation. It comes into focus, though, at a time when the president already seems too old and halt, and even unfit, for his job. What a moment to find that 55% of those polled say Ms. Harris is, as Rasmussen Reports sums it up, “not qualified to assume the duties of the presidency.” That includes, Rasmussen Reports adds, “47% who say she is Not At All Qualified.”
Ms. Harris has made no statement about Afghanistan, illuminating or elsewise, though in April she’d boasted that she was the last person in the room with President Biden before he announced he was abandoning the Afghans. Instead, she made no public appearances of any significance for six days, before what the New York Post notes were taped remarks to an organization of minority journalists.
What a contrast to Ms. Harris’ predecessor, Vice President Pence. He issued in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal the most on-point comment we’ve read on the Afghan collapse. Mr. Pence rejected Mr. Biden’s attempt to shift the blame for the current fiasco onto, among others, President Trump. It was, Mr. Pence points out, Mr. Biden who broke President Trump’s agreement with the Taliban.
“America’s endless war was coming to a dignified end,” Mr. Pence wrote, and Bagram Air Base ensured we could conduct counterterrorism missions. He stressed that Taliban leaders “understood that the consequences” of “violating the deal” the administration had reached “would be swift and severe.” That was reinforced by President Trump’s actions against Iran’s General Soleimani and the ISIS thug, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Mr. Pence blames Mr. Biden for announcing the extension of American forces “without a clear reason for doing so.” Or a plan to guard the American materiel that has now fallen to the Taliban — or evacuate Americans or resettle Afghan refugees. “Rather,” Mr. Pence writes, “it seems that the president simply didn’t want to appear to be abiding by the terms of a deal negotiated by his predecessor.” The Taliban offensive followed.
No commentator, at least in our reading, has put it more clearly, and it’s a reminder that Mr. Trump chose wisely in his vice president, even — or especially — when there were tensions between them. We mark the point because Mr. Biden has floundered in this crisis to such a degree that there are those who wonder whether his presidency is salvageable. It might be. The more we see of the vice presidential vacuum, the more we hope so.