Don’t ask questions if you really don’t want to hear the answers. After the vote on Nancy Pelosi’s “All Hate Matters” bill, otherwise known as the Ilhan Omar Protection Resolution, Democrats and the media focused not on Pelosi’s cave on Omar and anti-Semitism but on 23 House Republicans who didn’t play along with it. Rep. Lee Zeldin refused to stand silent as Democrats tried desperately to change the subject and the media desperately tried to lend a hand.
In a fiery three-minute floor speech, Zeldin made sure everyone knew his thoughts on the “Spineless, Watered-Down Resolution Filled With Moral Equivalency and Motivated by Double Standards,” as he titled it in a press release. If Republicans had the guts to name names with Rep. Steve King for his one transgression, why don’t Democrats have the intestinal fortitude to do the same with Omar on her third transgression in two months?
Note well that Zeldin, one of two Jewish members of the Republican caucus, takes the step of naming Omar in his speech to underscore his point:
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who is a Jewish member of Congress, explains why he did not vote for the Democrats' resolution condemning hate
This is a must watchpic.twitter.com/Kocwj1WPZm
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 8, 2019
If a Republican Member was pushing the anti-Semitism that Rep. Omar keeps peddling, this resolution would name names, and be solely, emphatically focused on anti-Semitism and that member would be removed from their committee assignments. The double standard motivating this decision by the Speaker and the moral equivalency filling this watered down text is spineless and disgusting.
Don’t hold back, Lee … tell us how you really feel. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), another nay vote, issued a statement that echoed Zeldin’s points:
“Today’s resolution vote was a sham put forward by Democrats to avoid condemning one of their own and denouncing vile anti-Semitism.
“While I stand whole heartedly against discrimination outlined in this resolution, the language before the House today did not address the issue that is front and center.
“Rep. Omar’s comments were wrong and she has proven multiple times that she embodies a vile, hate-filled, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bigotry. She deserves to be rebuked, by name, and removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee so that there is no mistake about the values and priorities that the House stands for.
“For Democratic leadership to kowtow to their radical members and refuse to offer legislative language that criticizes Rep. Omar’s statements in the strongest possible manner confirms what we already knew: that their party is controlled by far-left extremists who can’t even muster the courage to stand up to blatant anti-Semitism.
“This is a sad day for the House and Democrats’ lack of action is fully responsible for bringing us to this unfortunate moment.”
Zeldin’s point about the resolution being “spineless” hits closest to the overall lesson from this episode, which is this: Nancy Pelosi’s power has entirely evaporated. Had Pelosi acted like a real caucus leader with authority, she would have immediately booted Omar from her seat on Foreign Relations and demanded a full apology, with a censuring resolution a consequence for lack of compliance. That is precisely what Kevin McCarthy did with Rep. Steve King after his white-supremacy comments despite having struggled to get his position as caucus leader just a few months ago.
Pelosi has had the reins of her caucus for two decades now, and yet couldn’t act. Pelosi just got faced down by a first-term backbencher and a small cadre of extremists in her caucus, mainly because she didn’t attempt to exercise any authority. She dithered and vacillated, perhaps mindful of the narrow circumstances that gave her the gavel in the first place in January. In that vacillation, the extremists took her measure and forced her to retreat. The result was Pelosi’s ridiculous “All Hate Matters” sham resolution for which Omar herself voted — while laughing at the absurdity.
Pelosi still holds the gavel, but it’s now purely symbolic. The lunatics and the anti-Semites are running the House Democratic asylum. Pelosi has no legs left on her leadership, and everyone knows it. That’s why Democrats want to talk about Republican dissenters to this grotesquerie rather than what really happened this week in the House. Zeldin’s just forcing everyone to confront reality.