Nancy Pelosi may well lament that no good deed goes unpunished. After going far out of her way to protect Ilhan Omar from her own anti-Semitic statements a month ago, Pelosi now finds herself accused by progressives of failing to support House Democratic women such as Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Anything short of a full-throated endorsement of whatever they have to say makes a mockery of Pelosi’s claim of “diversity,” progressives complain to the Washington Post:
The far left’s frustration with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on the rise, as liberal advocates and lawmakers fume that she hasn’t done enough to defend freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar from attacks by President Trump and other Republicans and has undermined their policies and leaders, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Omar’s allies over the weekend were upset by what they viewed as Pelosi’s delayed response in standing up for one of the two Muslim women in Congress after Trump accused Omar of playing down the tragedy of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Pelosi, whose initial statement criticizing Trump made no mention of Omar, said Monday that it was “beneath the dignity of the Oval Office” for Trump to have shared a video on Twitter of Omar spliced with footage of the burning twin towers.
But liberals seethed that Pelosi (Calif.) and Democratic leaders did too little, too late. They were equally baffled by Pelosi’s quip seeming to dismiss Ocasio-Cortez during a CBS “60 Minutes” interview Sunday, suggesting her “wing” of the party included “like five people.”
Another controversial first-termer, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), came to the defense of her fellow frosh representatives and accused Pelosi of a false sense of diversity. It’s time for the old guard to listen to the new vanguard, Tlaib argued:
On Sunday, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the other Muslim congresswoman, went so far as to accuse the Democratic leadership of using people of color to highlight diversity but ignoring them when it mattered — though she did not name Pelosi in the missive.
“They put us in photos when they want to show our party is diverse,” Tlaib wrote, retweeting messages claiming Democrats used women of color as “props.” “However, when we ask to be at the table, or speak up about issues that impact who we are, what we fight for & why we ran in the first place, we are ignored. To truly honor our diversity is to never silence us.”
Silenced? Pelosi only wishes that were the case. They’re not being silenced — they’re being criticized, and rightfully so. Omar has only been in Congress for a little over three months and has repeatedly embarrassed other Democrats with her anti-Semitic statements. Ocasio-Cortez continues to spread nonsensical policies and ignorant screeds on social media, along with championing primary challenges against her fellow caucus members. Tlaib is the least troublesome of the trio, but has on occasion let her mouth run away from her good sense.
What they demand isn’t the right to speak, which they exercise on a constant basis. They’re demanding the right to speak without criticism, which is a silencing tactic explored in full by Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham in End of Discussion. Omar and her allies insist that any kind of criticism — nay, even accurately quoting them — puts their lives in danger and must stop immediately. This imposition on everyone else’s free speech bothers them not one whit.
It bothers a lot of other people, though, which is why Pelosi isn’t climbing onto the Simpleton Sorority’s bandwagon. She’s trying to protect her narrow majority that got built on inroads into the suburbs in the previous cycle, where voters have very little patience for socialism and anti-Semitism, let alone dismissals of 9/11 as “some people did something” in order to paint herself and fellow Muslims as the bigger victims. If Pelosi allows AOC, Omar, and Tlaib to seize control of the party’s messaging, the next time Democrats will have a majority in the House will be roughly when her great-grandchildren get their first chance to vote — if then.
Of course, that’s something party leaders learn because they’ve been around longer than 100 days in office. Instead of demanding that Pelosi keep her mouth shut, perhaps they’d be better off taking their own advice.