The brain trust on the political right might look to the sage words of Democratic strategist Paul Begala as we head into what’s likely to be another frightful election season. It was Begala who coined the popular witticism, “Never interrupt your opponent when he’s destroying himself.” And at this juncture, women within the Democratic Party seem to be doing a bang-up job of eating their young.
Will this catfight turn into a civil war that splits the party into two separate and unequal reptilian entities? First, some background:
Who’s Got the COM?
One would think after lo these many years in power that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) not only holds the reins but cracks the whip in the Democratic hierarchical order. But a younger, more audacious group of female Dems in Congress doesn’t appear to be toeing the line – at all.
Recent Twitter wars have lit the flame of malcontents within the party. Some call these folks “the squad”; their ire is evident, and tweet-tempers are running high. Made up of Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and, of course, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the squad is in a take-no-prisoners mood. It is the battle of the progressives versus the old guard.
Speaker Pelosi – who is tagged as the embodiment of aging, out-of-touch leadership — was recently quoted as saying, “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world.” With fingers ablaze, the inimitable A-O-C retorted, “That public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment … and wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.” In other words, take that, Nancy, and would you like another?
Before the Speaker even had a chance to respond, Omar tapped out a unifying tweet, “Patetico! You know they’re just salty about WHO is wielding the power to shift ‘public sentiment’ these days, sis. Sorry not sorry.” Dang! In the words of Rev. Al Sharpton, Pelosi can’t get no R-E-S-P-I-C-T here. A-O-C’s right-hand man Saikat Chakrabarti – who is quite the character himself — didn’t hesitate to jump all over Pelosi’s case. Defending his 29-year-old el jefe, he called out Pelosi by asserting the current leadership as unwilling to fight for its principles. Essentially it was, “Step aside, old lady. Time to get the hell out of Dodge.”
Who Are We?
The squad may be channeling the words of Alexander Hamilton, who averred, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” But as they sally on down the big, bold road of progressivism, could it be Pelosi who enters the ring with a voice of reason? Pelosi didn’t become one of the most powerful women in American politics by fortuity. She likely read the political tea leaves – as in the polls – that are telling her something different about her party writ large.
A WSJ/NBC News poll shows the fault lines that lie within the Democrats. Fifty percent don’t want a single-payer health care overhaul, 50% aren’t in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump, and only 50% are willing to call themselves liberal.
As Liberty Nation’s Managing Editor Mark Angelides put it, “Some people vote Democrat because they don’t want to vote Republican. Some do it because that’s what they’ve always done. But there are still others – probably the majority – who believe in the things the party stands for.” And therein lies the ever-escalating catfight.
Pelosi knows full well that the American electorate swings moderate in a general election. Could she be out to save her party from total annihilation? Will the squad drag the Dems screaming and kicking inexorably to the radical left? Civil wars are never a pleasant affair, and should this one continue it’s quite possible the Dems will be ceding the next presidential election and beyond.
Thus, we circle back to Begala’s statement as the double X chromosomes within the Democratic Party battle it out. Republicans would be wise to heed his warning and stay out of the fracas while the ladies hammer out another truism, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”