So they did, Madam Speaker. So they did.
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) June 27, 2019
Pelosi’s patience is running thin, she noted at her press conference this morning:
“They took offense because I addressed, at the request of my members, an offensive tweet that came out of one of the members’ offices that referenced our Blue Dogs and our New Dems essentially as segregationists,” Pelosi said. “Our members took offense at that. I addressed that. How they’re interpreting and carrying it to another place is up to them.”
“But I’m not going to be discussing it any further,” Pelosi said. “I said what I’m going to say.”
This isn’t the first time a member of the “Squad” (or a member of their staffs) has accused the Democratic caucus of prejudice. AOC did it last night, of course, before disingenuously denying that she did. But Ilhan Omar beat her to the punch months ago, claiming that Republicans *and some Democrats* couldn’t stand having to treat a black Muslim immigrant woman as their equal. Go figure that Nancy’s getting tired of having her majority-makers in the center — and herself — impugned.
I have bad news for her, though. Justice Democrats, the far-left group that helped get AOC elected and which is trying to mount progressive primary challenges to other incumbent Dems, is doubling down on the racism charge:
“our squad” i am so uncomfortable pic.twitter.com/5j2HyH65yP
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) July 11, 2019
This is like if the Tea Party Patriots had come after John Boehner and Paul Ryan not because they weren’t doing enough to cut spending but because they supposedly hated white people. It’s next-level nasty and destructive — and it’s amazing. “This is what we have lived our entire bloggy lives for,” Ed texted to me gleefully after seeing the Justice Democrats tweet. It’s true! “Thank you, God, for letting me live long enough to see the Dems have a big AOC-led fight over whether Pelosi’s a racist,” I tweeted last night when I saw Ocasio-Cortez’s quote about Pelosi targeting women of color in the caucus. We all thought Joe Biden would be the left’s prime Democratic target for racial McCarthyism this year, but it isn’t. It’s
Instead of the next presidential primary debate, CNN should have AOC debate Kamala Harris on whether Pelosi or Biden is the more vicious geriatric neoliberal white racist.
I’m only half joking about that too. Warren Henry’s right that the presidential candidates will have a major say in whether Pelosi or AOC ultimately wins this battle for influence.
[A] broad swath of the establishment’s chattering class is effectively supporting the Ocasio-Cortez brand of politics, not only by defending her most ridiculous comments, but also by hyping almost any of the alternatives to Biden, chiefly Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Granted, the establishment media is less enthused about Bernie Sanders than in 2016, but this is largely because they believe more palatable versions of him are available. Notably, this faction of the media also dumped on Beto O’Rourke as a cisgender white male—traits he shares with Sanders and Biden.
In short, Pelosi has a gatekeeping power over the progressive caucus, while Biden is at the mercy of gatekeepers who prefer candidates aping the Ocasio-Cortez brand of identitarian socialist populism. The unanswered question is whether the media environment will also help convince the Democrats’ silent majority that they are in fact a minority.
The outcome of presidential primaries may greatly influence the feud in Congress, perhaps settling it outright. Once Democratic voters have chosen a standard-bearer, they will largely close ranks around that nominee.
If Biden gets stomped and the party nominates someone far-left, Pelosi’s claim that AOC and her progressive “Squad” collectively represent four voters will obviously be badly damaged. Damaged, but not completely undermined: While Ocasio-Cortez will point to the results of the presidential primaries as evidence that progressives deserve more influence in the House, Pelosi will point to the results of the midterms in 2018 and remind everyone that national presidential primaries mean little for localized House races. The purple-district centrist Dems who flipped red seats will still need to be protected — maybe more so than ever if the presidential nominee is far left, since Republicans will use that nominee’s politics against Dem House incumbents in swing districts.
We don’t need to overthink this now, though. We can just luxuriate in the other party’s bad faith and bitterness for a bit. What could be more enjoyable than watching the Democrats’ woke Frankenstein rise up off the laboratory table in which it was brought to life and start wrecking the room?
Devil’s advocate exit question: It *is* bad form for Pelosi to mock how little electoral support the “Squad” has, isn’t it? If you want to knock them for smearing their colleagues as racists, have at it. But to imply that they can be ignored when collectively they represent millions and Ocasio-Cortez is a media phenomenon unprecedented for a freshman member of the House is weirdly dismissive not just of the “Squad” but of their constituents. Boehner loathed the tea partiers in his caucus but I don’t remember him ever claiming that their support was negligible. Like it or not, Nancy, the woke brigades are a meaningful part of your base. Even if they’re not (yet) a majority.