Kamala Caution Isn’t So Bad

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

An excessively cautious president? That doesn’t sound so bad right now.

A conventional wisdom is hardening about Kamala Harris, particularly in her home state media. She’s too cautious, too canned, and doesn’t take chances. George Skelton of the LA Times was the latest to make that argument.

And the accusation of caution isn’t new or entirely wrong. Harris was often labeled too cautious as state attorney general in taking on corruption and other issues. I’ve been critical of her as a U.S. senator for not being more aggressive on California’s behalf, given the unfairness inherent to the Senate and California’s too-small representation in it. I even suggested she resign her Senate seat if she wants to continue her presidential campaign.

All that said, the presidency is different than her current role. And the job requires caution to be done successfully—a point that Donald Trump is now proving with his reckless dumpster fire of a presidency.

A president who thinks before she speaks or Tweets sounds awfully good. Caution, and even more quiet, would lower the temperature and the noise in a country now being split apart by its politics. Who knows? It might give the rest of us time to think.

There are plenty of arguments to be made against a Kamala Harris presidency. Her caution isn’t one of them.

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