It was worth a shot, one supposes. With urban crime rates rising and approval for Democrats tanking, it had apparently become necessary for the left to try and turn the tables on those reactionary Republicans howling about the soaring crime rates in our greatest cities from coast to coast. But this would take more than the usual too-clever-by-half political spin. It would require unmitigated gall.
So here went the tortuous strategy: Since everyone is blaming President Joe Biden and his party for the breakdown of law and order, a clever word play, a house-of-mirrors misdirection on defunding the police, bound to be picked up thematically by the major media wing of the progressive movement, might reverse the curse of Democrats always being blamed for rising lawlessness. Yes, they might ordinarily be laughed off the stage by normal people for such an assertion, but with the unquestioning cooperation of corporate media in the bank, it was evidently worth the risk to flip the narrative — or else trouble awaits in the 2022 midterms.
Thus, one Cedric Richmond, senior adviser to the president, laid it down with carefully spun talking points: “Let’s talk about who defunded the police. When we were in Congress last year trying to pass an emergency relief plan for cities that were cash-strapped and laying off police and firefighters, it was the Republicans who objected to it,” he told Fox News.
With those seeds of spin spread across the shakiest of ground, Richmond delivered what he hoped would be the coup de grâce: “In fact, they didn’t get funding until the American Rescue Plan, which our plan allowed state and local governments to replenish their police departments and do the other things that are needed … Republicans are very good at staying on talking points of who says defund the police, but the truth is, they defunded the police. We funded crime intervention, and a whole bunch of other things.” His assertion was based on GOP opposition to one of the massive COVID relief bills that included some limited funding for law enforcement, but which Richmond spun into proof that Republicans inherently do not support funding police.
Wow. Let’s try to take all that in. And when you’re done re-reading the above statement in a doubtless futile attempt to understand its twisted pretzel of logic, let’s just say this is akin to blaming Republicans for allowing critical race theory in schools. Or for stoking the Black Lives Matter movement. Or always wanting to raise taxes. If the assertion wasn’t so tragically off-base — and insulting — it would be hilarious enough to qualify as what we used to call a knee-slapper.
Lest we restate the obvious, it was not just the left, but the far left, as distant from Donald Trump’s GOP as possible, that capitalized on the killing of George Floyd to demand defunding the cops, unleash the mobs, and refuse to take down violent infiltrators. They got all up in our faces, naming and shaming all who dared resist the admitted “trained Marxist” agenda of Black Lives Matter’s founders. Corporate America bent the knee, and Democrats served as BLM’s praetorian guard, in charge of every city, save perhaps one or two, where unchecked violence raged for weeks on end in the doomed summer of 2020.
Mayors such as Bill de Blasio of New York, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, Ted Wheeler of Portland, and Jenny Durkan of Seattle, their hands stained with the blood of innocents, will live in infamy for their failure to do even the minimum: protect their citizens. But with the elite media serving as their bullhorn, they were able to somehow attach the urban insurrection to — who else? — Trump.
It was another in a long line of major issues in which those on the left engage in what we might call reverse-imaging or projection. They take a vulnerability of theirs and, with smoke, mirrors, and big box media, project it onto Republicans. Given that both world wars and the most shameful involvement in U.S. history, Vietnam, were initiated by Democrats, they have nevertheless managed to label the GOP as the party of war. They posture with Michelle Obama’s “when they go low, we go high,” while they defame the 45th president as Hitler redux. And, of course, their biggest whopper of all, in light of their own decades-long institutionalization of slavery and Jim Crow, is that Republicans are uniquely the party of white supremacy.
And now, after sitting idle, oozing cowardice and cynicism in the darkest of times, allowing urban America to burn in the midst of a world-altering pandemic, they try to engage in instant revisionist history and sell us on Republican culpability in defunding the police. Once doubled-over Americans straighten up after their collective fit of laughter, four words will likely suffice.
Nice try. No sale.
Read more from Tim Donner.