AOC-Pelosi spat gets better and better (for Republicans)
The jokes about laying a supply of popcorn are everywhere on the right, as the most powerful elected Democrat and the most publicized purported symbol of the party's future tear into each other. It's been brewing a long time, starting with an Ocasio-Cortez-led sit-in outside Nancy Pelosi's Capitol office a week after the bartender from the Bronx was elected to Congress, two months before she assumed office. Elle Magazine recaps the development of the squabble ever since that bad start. Along with fellow female freshmen Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Presley, and Ilhan Omar — a group Pelosi has dubbed "the squad" — Ocasio-Cortez has been advocating farther- and farther-left positions that Pelosi fears would lead to electoral disaster in 2020.
Wednesday, at a House Democratic Caucus meeting, Pelosi laid down the law. From the WaPo:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admonished Democrats for personally attacking one another, warning in a closed-door meeting Wednesday that the party's fracturing was jeopardizing its majority.
Without naming names, her target was clear: the four liberal freshman known as "the Squad."
"You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just okay," Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Democrats.
But "the Squad" — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) — is convinced it is Pelosi who is being the bully.
The four are struggling with the speaker's moves to isolate them in recent weeks, according to interviews with the lawmakers, congressional aides and allies. Pelosi has made at least half-dozen remarks dismissing the group or their far-left proposals on the environment and health care. More recently she scorned their lonely opposition to the party's emergency border bill last month.
And she defended those comments Wednesday, saying, "I have no regrets about anything. Regrets is not what I do," doubling down on her claim that the group has little power in the House.
"When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm's distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood," Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post. "But the persistent singling out . . . it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color."
"Explicit singling out women of color" is an obvious accusation of racism. Ambushed in a Capitol corridor by CNN's Manu Raju and a camera crew, Ocasio-Cortez cried victim! but then denied accusing her speaker of racism:
Appearing last night on Hannity, Senator Lindsey Graham could not suppress his grin as he advised his party's leader: "Mr. President, if you're watching tonight, just enjoy this":
YouTube screen grab (cropped).
Partial transcript via Grabien:
"What does this really mean? I think Republicans are more likely to take the house back because of this breakdown because there are 31 Democrats who hold congressional seats where President Trump won their congressional district. What does it mean for 31? If you cross AOC, you are going to get a primary. If you vote with them, you will lose in the general election for the biggest beneficiary will be the Republican Party and President Trump because the policies these people are pushing are so out of the mainstream. If you are one of these 31 Democrats, Sean, you've got to pick between the energy of the fab four and the practicality of Nancy Pelosi, you are in a no-win situation."
Yes, there are 15 more months until the election, so anything could happen. But the Democrats are visibly imploding before our eyes. It's shadhenfreudelicious.
Kitten photo credit: Karen Blaha.