Given the multiple concurrent controversies surrounding members of Congress and alleged bigotry, a report from Politico on some behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Democratic leaders this week strikes me as telling. A few days ago, the House of Representatives voted almost unanimously to rebuke Iowa Republican Steve King for comments that appeared to defend white supremacy and white nationalism. King, who has drifted toward nativism while amassing a rap sheet of inflammatory rhetoric, claims that his quote was misunderstood, eventually voting in favor of the resolution that was targeting him. His protestations have evidently failed to convince many within his own party, whose leaders stripped him of committee assignments and strongly condemned him in public. Nevertheless, a number of Democratic members stated publicly that the chamber's action against King was not robust enough, demanding that he be formally censured. That did not happen. Why not? It turns out that Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and James Clyburn worked intensely to avoid it. Their reasoning may surprise you:
House Democratic leaders have quietly rejected a push by rank-and-file members to force a rare and potentially divisive vote on censuring Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), according to multiple Democratic sources. The House moved Wednesday to essentially shelve a grassroots attempt to further punish King for racist remarks that he made to the New York Times this month. If it had succeeded, King could have faced one of the most severe punishments that a lawmaker can receive...behind the scenes, Democratic leaders, led by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), were clear about their opposition, according to multiple Democratic lawmakers and aides. “Leadership has been full-court press on not bringing it up,” one Democratic aide said..Clyburn and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), were warning rank-and-file members that going as far as censure could come back to harm Democrats...Privately, Clyburn also warned that it would divide the caucus, or even put vulnerable Democrats at risk.
Leaders admonished members that King hadn't made his controversial remarks on the House floor, so expanding the universe of 'censureable' offenses to include comments made in other venues could set a worrisome precedent. Revealingly, these leaders were apparently concerned that this precedent could be used against their own party. One wonders which members they were thinking of. Two leading candidates might be the newly-elected Muslim Congresswomen from Michigan and Minnesota, each of whom are under fire for anti-Semitic dog whistles and associations, as well as a dark and conspiratorial slander of a sitting US Senator. Rep. Rashida "Motherf***er" Tlaib has been defiant in the face of mounting evidence that she's surrounded herself with virulent Jew haters and terrorism apologists:
Tlaib has also refused to answer questions as to whether she supports the PA, which pays terrorists and their families to kill Israeli civilians. Or even whether she supports Hamas, the gov’t in Gaza, which governs Gaza, has killed Americans, and is a designated terror group.— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) January 16, 2019
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib recently had dinner with a Palestinian activist who called Samir Kuntar — a terrorist who smashed the skull of a four-year-old Israeli girl after murdering her father — a "legendary Hezbollah martyr." https://t.co/rlby0Z0jQm— Shai DeLuca-Tamasi (@ShaiDeLuca) January 15, 2019
In response to this information, she's sneered that opponents of anti-Semitic bigotry should just accept that she's "Muslim and Palestinian. Get over it," as if her religion and national identity are inextricably linked to these sorts of grotesque associations and prejudices. Meanwhile, Ilhan Omar is not apologizing for using anti-Semitic terms to criticize Israel, accusing the world's lone Jewish state of being "evil," and "hypnotizing" the world. Her excuse for those words is hardly an excuse at all. She was conveying her true feelings. She's also facing deserved scrutiny for this disgusting tweet about Sen. Lindsey Graham, whom a number of liberals have recently sought to punish and shame by speculating openly about him being "compromised" in some way:
They got to him, he is compromised! https://t.co/m8sB3EmElg— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 16, 2019
By "they," does she mean the Jews, perhaps? Oh, excuse me, I meant "the Zionists." She seems to believe they're a hypnotic group, capable of anything. Her "backtracking" on this McCarthyite move was also quite weak, effectively admitting that she went down this path with zero evidence, aside from her opinion and unsubstantiated rumors. Both of these women are also supporters of the so-called BDS movement, which seeks to harm Israel through economic boycotts and sanctions. Is BDS anti-Semitic unto itself? Yes it is, in my opinion. Why? Let's give Chuck Schumer the floor on this one:
I’ve had some on the left push back on the assertion here that BDS, which is now supported by multiple members of the Dem caucus, is an anti-Semitic movement. They have ignored my explanation, but maybe they would prefer to hear it from Chuck Schumer? https://t.co/0Nvl9FFwzq pic.twitter.com/ZfTsJDcGKb— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) January 17, 2019
Between Talaib, Omar, and the Senators recently condemned for unconstitutional manifestations of anti-Catholic animus, it's not hard to see why some leaders in the Democratic Party aren't excited about the prospect of censuring someone over apparently bigoted remarks.