There are lots of moving parts here, so let's start with Rep. Omar -- who has once again touched off a furor over anti-Semitic comments. She's already 'apologized' for several such incidents, but she just can't help herself. She's tweeted about Jews' supposed magical powers to "hypnotize the world," and she's perpetuated the bigoted stereotype that Jewish money controls politicians. Rounding out the trifecta of ugly anti-Semitic tropes, Omar (again) mused that pro-Israel Jews are engaged in a project of dual loyalty, this time questioning an "allegiance" to a foreign country.
This angered quite a number of fellow elected Democrats and reliably liberals writers, prompting Nancy Pelosi to green-light legislation to (again) condemn anti-Semitism (UPDATE: Or maybe not. Democrats are reportedly fighting amongst themselves about whether to vote to condemn anti-Semitism, with some demanding an "All Lives Matter"-style condemnation of other bigotries, which would water down the point of this legislation, and deflect from what prompted it). The original resolution does not mention Omar by name, but its target and impetus are pretty clear. Critics are demanding to know whether Pelosi -- who appeared on Rolling Stone's latest cover, grinning alongside Omar -- will allow the Minnesota freshman to maintain her perch on the House Foreign Relations Committee. Republicans recently stripped Iowa's Steve King of his committee assignments over comments seen by many as racist. Omar has complained that her critics simply refuse to hear criticisms of Israel's so-called "occupation," but her anti-Semitic tropes go far beyond mere critiques of Israeli policy. She's also a supporter of the inherently anti-Semitic 'BDS' movement.
In any case, left-wing agitator and newly-elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has galloped to Omar's defense. Amid her apologies and whataboutism, AOC made some...interesting points. This one is relatively minor:
One of the things that is hurtful about the extent to which reprimand is sought of Ilhan is that no one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx + other communities (during the shutdown, a GOP member yelled “Go back to Puerto Rico!” on the floor). https://t.co/MwrRN4v4DG— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
As far as whataboutism goes, this is exceptionally weak stuff. The episode to which she refers involved a Republican taunting a group of Democrats who went on a PAC trip to Puerto Rico in the midst of a government shutdown. It wasn't about race or ethnicity (ie, go back to where you come from) at all; it was about shutdown optics:
“Congressman Smith’s comment was directed at all the Democrats who were vacationing down in Puerto Rico last weekend during the government shutdown, not towards any individual member,” Smith’s communications director, Joey Brown, said in an email. Dozens of House and Senate Democrats were in Puerto Rico last weekend for a trip organized by Bold PAC, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that is led by Cárdenas, some of whom stayed for a separate Latino Victory Fund political summit.
More controversial was Ocasio Cortez's apparent assertion (while correcting a previous tweeted error) that the US should not have gone to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9/11. Quite a parenthetical aside:
(But honestly we shouldn’t have been in either, and we should end the AUMF now while we’re at it)— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
CNN's Jake Tapper requested a clarification, eliciting this jumble:
I think that our decision to enter unlimited engagement in Afghanistan, particularly through the AUMF + Congress’ abdication of power + decision-making w/ passage of the AUMF, was a mistake.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
Other options: targeting the network itself, limited engagement, non-intervention.
I'm not sure how her listed option of "non-intervention" translates here. Does she believe it would have been a viable plan not to intervene against the regime aiding and harboring the terrorist group that slaughtered nearly 3,000 Americans -- most of them in the city she now represents? She says she meant more planning, and not committing to endless war (I agree that there are lots of tough questions to be asked about our Afghanistan presence 18 years later), but that ignores the urgent reality of the time. And her evolving explanations seemed like slippery retreats from how she'd presented things in previous tweets. We needed to hit back swiftly and hard. Would she have approved? It's unclear. Ben Shapiro also chimed in with a few facts:
(1) You couldn’t target al-Qaeda in Afghanistan without entering Afghanistan. Bush asked the Taliban to turn over Bin Laden. They refused.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) March 5, 2019
(2) AUMF gave the president the power to target terrorists but reserved rights under the War Powers Act. It wasn’t unlimited. https://t.co/9YLqDViQoP
It's been another banner week for two of the highest-profile Democratic freshmen in Congress. One of them is once again being reprimanded for anti-Semitism. The other, in defending the first, appears to be openly debating whether the US military should have intervened against Al Qaeda and the Taliban after the worst-ever terrorist attack on American soil. And that doesn't even touch on this issue:
BREAKING: Two PACs founded by AOC's top aide funneled $1+ million in political donations into two of his own private companies, new FEC complaint says— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 4, 2019
AOC also enacted a policy for her office that allows her staff to avoid public financial disclosure lawshttps://t.co/2rq7fQFb3r
UPDATE II - As Matt covered earlier, this is getting very ugly on the Democratic side:
“We'll if you're not going to listen to me, I’m done talking,” Pelosi responded, before *literally* dropping the mic & walking out of the room. https://t.co/PYwha8O25o— Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) March 6, 2019
Also: serious frustrations about Twitter confrontations between Dems. “Everyone stop tweeting!” @janschakowsky yelled. Said @RepJuanVargas after @aoc callout: “She could have come down the hall and asked me what my opinion is." https://t.co/CsHEdHip6c— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) March 6, 2019