opinion Kamala Harris is stuck.

That Ms. Harris is stuck in a political role is troubling to anyone concerned about the stability and continuity of the executive branch. No US president has celebrated his 80th birthday while in office, as Mr. Biden is set to do on November 20. Thankfully, they are experiencing “very mild symptoms” from the coronavirus, but the reality is still hard to ignore. The plain fact is that they appear more frail than a 60-year-old man or woman (or for that matter, his 57-year-old vice president).

Of the 15 vice presidents who became president.After the death of a president, eight people came into office. (Four were later elected in their own right.) That gives the vice presidency a lot of weight, even when the presidential candidate and running mate are the epitome of middle-aged life, like, say, Jimmy. Carter and Walter Mondale in 1976, or Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1992.

A penumbra of weakness has overshadowed the modern presidency. It clung to Roosevelt until the end of his third term, although, since it was wartime, it was rarely discussed in public. It touched 70-year-old Ronald Reagan, shot and wounded by an assassin in March 1981, and Eisenhower, in September 1955, when the 64-year-old president suffered a massive heart attack. Death was often on Eisenhower’s mind. In 1954, when he was running for a second term, He quoted in his diary. “It is more likely that a 70-year-old man will break under the burden than a 50-year-old man,” and above all, “the increasing magnitude and complexity of the problems that depend on the president for solutions.”

Ms. Harris cannot be blamed for her relative lack of national and international experience: She had been in the Senate for less than four years when Mr. Biden selected her, and she knew it. Also, he has never worked in an executive role. But, in the nearly two years since Mr. Biden tapped Ms. Harris as his running mate in August 2020, we’ve learned that her relationship with Mr. Biden and key administration officials has been relatively tenuous. It is no small matter that he has had only a handful of private lunches with Mr. Biden this year. And after his first lunch with Secretary of State Blankenship in February 2021, he Their lunches are reportedly expected to continue.As he had with then-Vice President Biden with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Such conversations were customary. For example, in the late 1950s, Vice President Nixon developed an almost formal relationship with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. A formal Harris-Blankin lunch, however, did not take place (although the two met, spoke on the phone, and had what one State Department official called “regular engagements … regular interactions”).

A deeply reported new book by two Times reporters, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, titled “It Shall Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future“Paints an authentic portrait of the Biden-Harris relationship — or lack thereof. It describes how Mr. Biden’s advisers tended to overlook Ms. Harris’s weaknesses in favor of Mr. Biden’s immediate political interests. were ready and saw that her significant value came from helping to win the election in 2020. She was a historic choice, aiming to be the first woman, first African American, and first South Asian to serve as vice president. It was to be American.” As for presidential preparations, Mr. Biden was more focused on bringing together a multiracial coalition in his administration to reflect the country’s diversity.

Ms. Harris has been a regular target of negative stories — about staff disorganization and departures, or her displeasure that White House staff did not stand up when she entered the room, or even His suffering In some media interviews she has also faced a double standard in terms of how she is seen and perceived, as are many women and people of color, including when they are “first” in jobs.