Sunday, July 14, 2019

Then there's the trope of maddening indirection

Drawing via Corner Poetry.
The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Sunday weighed in on the friction between a group of four freshman Democratic congresswomen and Speaker Nancy Pelosi: He suggested that the congresswomen — none of whom are white — should “go back and help fix” the countries they came from. His message was immediately seized upon by Democrats, who called it a racist trope.
Trope? Reader, Democrats did not call it a trope of any kind. Speaker Pelosi said it was "xenophobic"
and Ben Ray Luján said it was "racist":
“That is a racist tweet,” Mr. Luján said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Telling people to go back where they came from — these are American citizens elected by voters in the United States of America to serve in one of the distinguished bodies in the U.S. House of Representatives. I think that’s wrong.”
And Ted Lieu has called him "a racist ass". What I say is

Had a hard time shaking a bad feeling today about the dustup between Nancy Pelosi and the Four Freshwomen, all of whom I'm anxious to stay in love with. Or multiple dustups, since this machine has way too many moving parts and I don't even know which ones count.

On the one hand is Saikat Chakrabarti, the Silicon Valley rich guy who turned founder of the Justice Democrats and is now Alexandria Ocasio-Córtez's chief of staff, who found himself morally obliged a couple of weeks ago to call out the so-called "moderate" Democrats who helped the Republicans sink Pelosi's first try at an emergency border aid bill and passed an alternative bill that put fewer strictures on the Trump administration as "new Southern Democrats" who were "enabling a racist system", including one of the first two Native American members of the House, Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas, whom he referred to by her first name as if he thought they were former bandmates or something, "I don't believe Sharice is a racist person..."

On the other hand is Speaker Pelosi (for whom the loss on the original border aid bill was a personal defeat), who decided to allow the Times serpent-in-chief Maureen Dowd to interview her and persuade her to complain about the Freshwomen (AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayana Pressley), who had stood alone to vote against the alternative bill, which I thought was forgivable,  given that they hadn't stood a chance of killing the thing. It was only a small thing in the course of a long conversation mostly about Trump—
Pelosi feels that the four made themselves irrelevant to the process by voting against “our bill,” as she put it, which she felt was the strongest one she could get. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” she said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
—but the Freshwomen were somewhat offended, and said so in various venues:

Ocasio-Cortez rebuked Pelosi’s comment to Dowd about her bloc’s “public whatever” in a Saturday tweet, writing, “That public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment. And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.”
Tlaib argued Sunday that the opposition of the four first-term women is significant because of their backgrounds and life experiences, regardless of whether it caused consternation for House Democratic leaders.
“You know, people like us, people like me and Ayanna, Ilhan and Alexandria, we’re reflective of our nation in many ways,” Tlaib told ABC News. “Guess what? We know what it feels like to be dehumanized. We know what it feels like to be brown and black in this country. And I’ll tell you right now, we’re not going to stand by and sit idly by and allow brown and dark-skinned children to be ripped away from their parents to be dehumanized.”
As if Pelosi had been a loud advocate for the dehumanization of any children.

And the House Democrats Twitter feed, which is run by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, called Chakrabarti out in pretty severe terms indeed:]
And Black Twitter (that is, parts of the Black Twitter I follow, which is obviously not the whole thing), got into a very suspicious mood, reflecting back to last December's reports that AOC and the Justice Democrats were planning to primary Jeffries next year, treating this as an actual plot to disempower the Congressional Black Caucus:
So I didn't know, or didn't want to know, about that, for fear it might turn out to be true. And of course idiot Trump thought it would be funny if he came out with his own take "supporting" Pelosi:
In any case, Dowd came out yesterday morning with her little dance of triumph
WASHINGTON — I was feeling on edge. Writing a column that sparks an internecine fight among the highest-profile women in the Democratic Party is nerve wracking.
So I went to the gym. 
so we know she feels pretty pleased with her own role. Our Steve gets everything else that needs to be said about that column in very concise form:
At last, however, our old friend formerly known as Thornton (now tweeting as @HenryPorters) came up with some inside dope that made me feel a little better, explaining that what's really going on is that irritating things (like very badly written amendments) are coming out of AOC's office that nobody among the members and House staffers wants to blame on AOC, because they love her, as do we all, and that the preferred approach is going to be to attack Chakrabarti instead. Led by Jeffries, who is, not secretly, running for Speaker himself, and good luck to him and his seniority.

Which sounds reasonable enough, since it's probably Chakrabarti's fault, and also he recently allowed himself to be photographed wearing a T-shirt depicting Subhas Chandra Bose, the Indian independence fighter (good!) who allied himself with the Axis powers in World War II (bad!) and contributed troops to the Japanese invasion of Southeast Asia (very bad!) and an SS regiment in Europe (super bad!!) and who is particularly revered in today's India by the racist Hindu nationalist movement led by Prime Minister Modi (awful!!!).  What the hell did he want to do that for?

I don't really know, but I can tell you this: what's going on here is probably a case of Democrats being Democrats, and it's often not pretty, but things could be a lot worse.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

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