Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Identity Politics Shape Dem Fight for House Leadership - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

Pick one and you’re sexist, pick the other and you’re racist.

Democrats who question Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s leadership are sexist. And Democrats who question Rep. Jim Clyburn’s qualifications for the No. 3 spot in the Democrat leadership are racist.

Even before the midterms, Pelosi was accusing critics of sexism.

“I think some of is it a little bit on the sexist side," Pelosi had complained about those who suggested that she might want to step back from her leadership position.

"Nobody ever went up to Harry Reid and said that. Nobody ever says that to anybody except a woman."

Unless they’re saying it to a black man.

Rep. Jim Clyburn made his case for the No. 3 Dem position by accusing fellow Democrats of racism.

“But someone came to me over the weekend and told me that, when I was whip before, I was a figurehead," he whined, and suggested that they were “the little dog whistles that have been floating around this side for a long time.” 

“Pelosi is swiftly moving to ensure that the diversity of voices that make up the majority are empowered on Capitol Hill,” Valerie Jarett gushed in a CNN op-ed.” It is imperative that women not only have a seat at a table but also lead the table.”

Unless it’s more imperative that black people lead the table.

Pick one and you’re sexist. Pick the other and you’re racist.

Clyburn is reportedly also interested in being the first black speaker. Even before the midterm ballot fraud was done, the Congressional Black Caucus was demanding that one of its own hold one of the two top positions. "African Americans deserve more than a simple gesture of gratitude -- they deserve representation at the apex of the party's infrastructure," the CBC demanded.

Pelosi’s allies however have warned that denying her the speakership would be sexist. “We have a pink wave with women who have brought back the House, then you’re going to not elect the leader who led the way? No,” Rep. Lois Frankel insisted.

“You cannot have the four leaders of Congress, the president of the United States, these five people, and not have the voice of women,” Pelosi had argued.

America’s women didn’t actually elect Pelosi. Nor is she supposed to represent a sex, but a district. 

There’s no easy way to settle the question of whether the Speakership should belong to black people or women, or at least the two particular hacks, one of whom happens to be black and the other a woman.

Oppose Pelosi and you’re sexist. Oppose Clyburn and you’re racist.

Rep. Diana DeGette, the Democrat competing against Clyburn is a woman. Is she obligated to step aside to guarantee black representation? Or should Clyburn stop standing in the way of a woman?

Rep. Pelosi originally solved this problem by inventing a position for Rep. Clyburn, Assistant Democratic Leader. Why would anyone think that Clyburn is a figurehead after that?

Pelosi could just reappoint Clyburn, but then that became an elected position.

Identity politics will bring the CBC some spoils. After Rep. Linda Sanchez was forced to drop out from the race for House Democratic Caucus Chair due to fraud charges against her husband, the race comes down to Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. Either way, the Congressional Black Caucus wins.

The Hispanic Caucus, obviously, feels left out. Isn’t identity politics wonderful?

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is pushing Rep. Ben Ray Luján for Clyburn's old job, Assistant Democratic Leader, the fourth spot in the Dem leadership.

Rep. Sanchez flamed out because her lobbyist husband is accused of absconding with cash that should have gone to Connecticut homeowners to pay for her trip to the Kentucky Derby. Now Sanchez is out of the race and the Hispanic Caucus has to make do with the Congressional Black Caucus’ leftovers.

Rep. Cheri Bustos and Rep. David Cicilline also want the job. But, despite her last name, Bustos isn’t actually Hispanic. Like Sanchez’s husband, she’s Irish. Rep. Bustos was born Callahan and, unlike Beto O’Rourke, hasn’t figured out how to become a fake Hispanic. So the CHC isn’t backing Callahan/Bustos.

But there’s a problem. Rep. David Cicilline is gay.

Would it be more historic to have the first gay Assistant Democratic Leader or the first Hispanic gay Assistant Democratic Leader?

Pick one and you’re a racist. Pick the other and you’re a homophobe.

The Hispanic Caucus had been complaining about the lack of Hispanic representation in the Democrat leadership. But that’s a little hypocritical because there isn’t much Hispanic representation in the Hispanic Caucus once you get beyond, pardon the dog whistle, the leadership at the top.

"The districts of Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on average are 61 percent Latino. But top staff of Congressional Hispanic Caucus members collectively is 28 percent Latino," NBC News noted.

But diversity usually begins somewhere else. And it’s meant as a career opportunity for the top dogs.

Now the Dem top dogs and caucuses are all fighting for the historic opportunity to shove their guy or gal to the top of the heap using brute force identity politics. And that means that the Dem leadership will be defined not by ability, but by membership in identity politics caucuses. And leadership positions will bring obvious advantages and incentives to their allies and to their political backers.

The Democrats raised nearly $1 billion to win the House. That money has to be paid for. But fortunately they’ll have access to trillions of dollars. And government money has a way of finding itself in interesting places. Like allegedly helping fund a trip to the Kentucky Derby for Rep. Linda Sanchez and her husband.

Switching appointed positions in the Dem leadership to elected positions hasn’t limited the corruption; it only made it worse as every identity politics caucus now squabbles for the goodies openly.

Say what you will about Rep. Nancy Pelosi (and there’s lots to say), she came by her position honestly by raising gobs of money from San Francisco billionaires. That’s her only talent. And it pays off. Literally.

But what’s Rep. Jim Clyburn’s talent besides warming a seat in a district he can’t lose while playing the civil rights card? What’s Rep. Linda Sanchez’s talent besides marrying a lobbyist with an alleged talent for creative accounting?

A Democrat leadership defined by contests between black people and women, between Hispanics and gays, won’t produce the best people or the best talent. And that will hurt the Democrats.

The Left lives by identity politics and mocks meritocracy as another form of privilege. Now it’s about to get a House run by the best Democrat leadership that crooked identity politics cards can buy.

And the American people will be paying for it.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.


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