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Jennifer Rubin: How Democrats Should Respond To Ocasio-Cortez



There is a moment when the boss or parent or chaperones realize: "We are responsible! Inmates / employees / children are not able to set the rules here. And, by the way, "Clean your tongue – show respect! "

This is not exactly what happened on Thursday in the Democratic House caucus, but it was close. The good news for President Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., The Democratic Party and the whole country is that Pelosi does not have to be the bad guy. Its members, mostly moderate, and its non-white members did what they should have done a few months ago: tell the representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., and her three "members" of the squad – the representatives, Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. ., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., And Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., – to make him fall.

The Washington Post reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended Thursday the treatment of four new Liberal lawmakers, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who accuses her of targeting "newly elected women of color" by a series of public remarks refuting their political influence in the House.

Saikat Chakrabarti, cabinet director at Ocasio-Cortez, added that while moderate Democrats were "southern New Democrats, it was necessary to do everything the old Southern Democrats did in the 1940s." C & # 39; is simply outrageous, no matter what action is taken, especially since many moderate members are not white. The Ocasio-Cortez staff member suppressed the tweet, but her boss refused to take back her badge, which was almost as odious as Pelosi singled her out, and her three colleagues, because they were not white. (All of this follows Pelosi's Maureen Dowd interview, in which she said the four members of the team are only four members and have no followers.)

The four tormented not only Pelosi but also moderate members who, for example, decided to fund at least the facilities where border control is almost cash-strapped and to fight for stricter standards of protection. rather than leaving money for housing and safety. caring for children and families is exhausting. (Agree or disagree with their decision, which seems to me perfectly healthy minded, but it was not the crime of the century.) Thanks to the team, the Argument became a ridiculous accusation of Pelosi rather than a united attack against Republicans who refuse to accept minimum standards of care for children.

At his press conference, Pelosi's lips were tight. She did not directly take the side of the moderates. Instead, she simply said, "Our members were shocked by this. I answered them. The way they interpret and transport it to another place is theirs, but I will not talk about it further. "

His moderate allies, especially the people of color, were more frank:

"All I can say is that I do not know what she meant by that" [Rep. Gregory W.] Meeks said about remarks "singing out". "It is clear that the speaker included women of color.When you have a caucus like ours, which has been as diverse as ours, the speaker has been very inclusive."

The tweet was "insulting" and "a big problem," he added. "Trying to compare that to what African Americans have experienced? … I think the African-American community deserves an apology for that."

Representative Terri Sewell, D-Ala., Vice president of the NDP who is one of many moderate African-Americans representing a southern district, said she was exposed to bigotry growing up.

"So even insinuating that I, or any other member of the New Dems group, would promote racist and hateful policies or have a negative impact on communities of color is deeply shocking and could not be further from the truth. "

Sewell's calls to Ocasio-Cortez have apparently been ignored, this is never a smart way to treat your colleagues.

As someone who has spent years begging Republican leaders to stand up to their own MPs (the Freedom Caucus), I would say that even though the Democratic leaders and their moderates could and should have done so earlier, he is relieved to see them insist that the team seizes – and at least refrains from calling racists, including African Americans and Hispanics.

Moderate members want Chakrabarti away, a not unreasonable request, as he threatens to launch major challenges to some incumbents. If they want Ocasio-Cortez to capitulate completely, they may ask their chiefs of staff not to take care of Chakrabarti, but it's not obvious that they're not going to be there. they want to push further.

Some thoughts on the above:

First of all, Ocasio-Cortez has become a Twitter star thanks to her own showboating and a strange alliance with right-wing media who would like to present her as the poster woman of all Democrats. In fact, she only has the power that her colleagues are willing to give her. If they allow themselves, for example, to lighten a resolution on anti-Semitism or to let it lead the conversation of the Green Green New Deal, they will be able to take only one on their own. Plus, the best way to dissuade Americans from thinking that all Democrats are as extreme as Ocasio-Cortez is to treat her like any other first-year member and reprimand her when she behaves outrageously.

The only way to gain power is to intimidate those who have power. When Democratic leaders accept the idea that their team is not the reason why they won the majority in the House (the moderates have flipped purple seats), they will feel, I'm sure, pretty liberated and less guilty of guilt if they refuse to prostrate themselves before the four members. And Pelosi is right: they are only four members. If they understand that they have played too much, they may avoid being completely frozen and, worse, facing the main challenges of less extremist Democrats.

Second, we certainly hope that this will have positive consequences for the presidential race and for the Democratic primaries in 2020 in the House and the Senate. Democrats do not want to alienate or insult their most progressive members, but they should not feel obliged to continue the support of the far left at the expense of all other members and the party as a whole. If the far left wants to pout and stay home, entrusting the election to Trump, history will treat him with severity.

Pelosi is right on one point: "diversity is the strength of the Democrats". Hardened progressives can win in deep blue districts and motivate their followers; moderates can win in swing zones. But the thing about a caucus or a coalition is that no one can promote themselves to the detriment of others and to the detriment of these. Now that this message is clear and clear, the Democrats may be able to return to their agenda and fight against Trump. For the good of the country, hopefully.


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