When’s a good time to take a stand against anti-Semitism? For House Democrats, it’s apparently not this week. Jazz noted this morning that Nancy Pelosi’s attempts to put out the fire of anti-Semitism set yet again by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) had run into enough opposition from the Left that had to get watered down into a bland statement against all bigotry. This morning, it still appeared that the resolution would at least get a vote this week, but now Pelosi lieutenant Steny Hoyer isn’t even sure of that:
House Majority Leader Hoyer says it hasn’t been decided if there will be a vote this week on the anti-Semitism resolution following Rep. Omar's comments: “We haven’t set a time.” – @AlexNBCNews
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) March 6, 2019
Vice News’ Rex Santus chalks up a win so far for the progressives, whose opposition to the original plan to condemn the “divided loyalty” canard aired by Omar created the initial delay. They want to derail it entirely in order to protect Omar, and in larger part to prove their muscle within the House Democratic caucus:
“We’re still discussing it,” Hoyer told Politico on Tuesday. “The sentiment is that it ought to be broad-based. What we’re against is hate, prejudice, bigotry, white supremacy, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism.”
The left celebrated the possibility of a delayed vote as proof that their revolt against establishment Democrats was working. The controversy began with Omar’s admission that she supported the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel’s human-rights abuses in occupied Palestinian territories. …
Democrats seem to have underestimated the groundswell of support that manifested for Omar. Engel, chair of the House Foreign Affairs committee, vowed not to kick Omar off the committee and started defending her on Twitter. Even one of Omar’s defenders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, received backlash for not being explicit enough about her defense of Omar.
That’s not all they miscalculated, either. Pelosi’s caucus has become unhappy over her lack of engagement before making decisions on their behalf, and that’s not just among the progressives. It got bad enough this morning that Pelosi stormed out of a caucus meeting:
Freshman Rep. Jahana Hayes stood up and confronted Pelosi directly, arguing that she shouldn’t have to learn about the Democratic Caucus’ official response from MSNBC. The Connecticut Democrat said she now has to vote on a resolution that she’s barely read, without a private briefing from leadership, according to five sources.
Pelosi countered that the Democratic measure to condemn anti-Semitism is not final, though text had been circulating and a vote had been tentatively planned for Wednesday. That vote was postponed amid a last-minute backlash from progressives in the caucus.
The speaker also said that Democratic leaders were forced to respond quickly over the weekend — a task made trickier with Omar on a congressional delegation trip to East Africa over the weekend.
Pelosi then said, “We’ll if you’re not going to listen to me, I’m done talking,” and then sat the microphone down and walked out of the room, the sources said.
That mic-drop might cost Pelosi at some point. Don’t forget that Pelosi had to elbow her way to the gavel at the beginning of the year after progressive and frosh newbies complained about operating under stale management. They didn’t mount an existential challenge to Pelosi’s speakership, but it was serious enough for Pelosi to have to cut a few deals. Her caucus may split on this resolution, but Pelosi could anger both sides enough to where she may have to put down an insurrection.
That’s why Pelosi’s not going forward with what should be a slam-dunk resolution against anti-Semitism now, of course. She can’t afford to enrage progressives who want to protect Omar, nor the Congressional Black Caucus that suddenly seems more interested in protecting her than in opposing anti-Semitism. If this resolution stalls out, the result will certainly make the Democratic Party’s position on anti-Semitic smears very clear to voters … as much as they’ll later deny it.