Over the last few years, it has been considered a truism that the energy in the Democratic Party comes from the far Left, largely in the person of the Squad headed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. The conventional wisdom has also been that the extremism of that wing of the party is a problem, and that the party’s leaders need to tamp it down without alienating what is, by far, the most energetic portion of their base.
This balancing act has never been easy, and it looks like it may be collapsing in the wake of Ilhan Omar’s crazed denunciation of the United States and Israel, which I wrote about here. To save you a click, this is the tweet that started the current controversy:
We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity.
We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 7, 2021
Omar’s allegation of “unthinkable atrocities” brought pushback from some saner House Democrats. My impression is that the reaction related mostly to her denunciation of Israel rather than her denunciation of the United States, which I don’t really understand. In any event, criticism ensued.
That, in turn, generated this self-pitying response from Rashida Tlaib, who now is in overt opposition to House leadership:
Freedom of speech doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless, exclusive tone policing of Congresswomen of color.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) June 10, 2021
It would be hard to imagine a more absurd claim. If there is anyone whose freedom of speech has been, not just respected, but amplified out of all proportion by the liberal media, it is the members of the Squad. Still, it is fun to see Tlaib accusing Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer of being racists.
Ocasio-Cortez joined in, likewise declaring war on the Democratic Party’s leadership:
Pretty sick & tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of @IlhanMN coming from our caucus.
They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 10, 2021
The other Squad members chimed in, as did the Democrats’ Congressional Progressive Caucus:
— Progressive Caucus (@USProgressives) June 10, 2021
This looks like open warfare between the Democratic Party’s two wings: 1) the Old Guard–and in this case, I really do mean old–who are extreme leftists but think it is strategically smart to conceal their extremism until they consolidate their power, and 2) the Young Turks, who are out and proud about being extreme leftists.
As Steve likes to say, get out the popcorn.