We know what Democrats profess. Earlier this month, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi draped themselves in African Kente cloths -- apparently unaware that they were associated with the slave trade -- and knelt before the cameras for nine minutes. Their goal, aside from the obvious political pandering, was to signal the urgency of passing police reform legislation in the wake of George Floyd's killing. By that point, Schumer had been demanding for days that the Senate Republican majority put a bill on the floor as soon as possible, before July 4th. Senate Republicans are now attempting to do precisely that, but are being blocked by...Chuck Schumer. There is no bottom to Washington's bad faith, cynicism and dysfunction:
Sen. Tim Scott, a black Republican, took the GOP lead on the proposal, which was preemptively assailed as failing to 'meet the moment' by a leading Democratic vice presidential contender before it had even been produced for her review. Within minutes of its unveiling, the second-ranked Senate Democrat called it a "token" effort, drawing an impassioned response from Scott. And shortly after signaling that she thought each Congressional chamber should pass their own bill then hammer out a compromise in a conference committee, Pelosi turned to despicable slander:
Nancy Pelosi says with their police reform proposals, Senate Republicans are "trying to get away with murder, actually -- the murder of George Floyd."— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) June 23, 2020
Hear it in this @CBSNewsRadio interview with my colleague @sfutterman:https://t.co/DAsGYssPzD
Tim Scott's bill, which explicitly included Democratic provisions -- including one Pelosi herself has championed -- is now tantamount to complicity in "the murder of George Floyd." Revolting. To the shock of no one, this heinous smear has passed virtually unnoticed among the political class, beyond a few protestations from Republicans. Insanely offensive attacks are only relevant when, ahem, certain people tweet them, it seems. She's the opposite of apologetic, in case you were wondering:
Nancy Pelosi asked if she will apologize for her despicable comment that Senate Republicans are "trying to get away with murder, actually -- the murder of George Floyd."— America Rising (@AmericaRising) June 24, 2020
Pelosi: Absolutely, positively not. pic.twitter.com/GXo5pt2rNh
I hesitate to say such things in an already-overheated environment, but Pelosi is a reckless actor and a bad person. As for Schumer, he is now complaining that the Republicans' process has been rushed, griping that the bill wasn't subjected to a time-consuming committee process. Apparently his previous demand for rapid, urgent action to meet a fast-approaching deadline has expired. Question: Do these people sound like they are truly interested in making important, incremental, consensus-making change? Or does it sound like they're playing cheap politics, exploiting a galvanizing issue by keeping it alive, ready and eager to blame their opponents for 'inaction'?
It doesn't take a beleaguered, weary cynic to reach the cynical conclusion here. One might even wonder whether they're particularly uninterested in making change because certain people might get to share the credit in an election year. "The problem is not what is being offered. It is who is offering it," a frustrated Scott said on the Senate floor minutes after the filibuster shut down debate. Progress and healing is nice in theory, but better to rouse key voting blocs ahead of an election, win control, then railroad through a partisan measure, no? Prior to Democrats' obstructive vote this afternoon, Sen. Mitch McConnell laid out the score:
“For weeks, the Democratic Leader blustered that the Senate simply had to address this issue before July 4th. Last week, Speaker Pelosi said “I hope there’s a compromise to be reached in the Congress.” Because, quote, “How many more people have to die from police brutality? So as recently as last week, leading Democrats called it a life-or-death issue for the Senate to take up this subject this month. Well, here we are. Ready to address it. But now, in the last 48 hours, this bizarre new ultimatum. Now they don’t want to take up the issue. They don’t want debate. They don’t want amendments. They’ll filibuster police reform from even reaching the floor of the Senate unless the majority lets the minority rewrite the bill behind closed doors and in advance. Yesterday, the Speaker of the House told CBS News that because Senate Republicans do support Senator Tim Scott’s reform bill, we are, quote, “trying to get away with murder… the murder of George Floyd." Are you beginning to see how this game works? Two weeks ago, it was implied the Senate would have blood on our hands if we didn’t take up police reform. Now, Democrats say Senator Scott and 48 other Senators have blood on our hands because we are trying to take up police reform.
He might have added, they don't want legislation to pass and be signed into law by this president. Here is Sen. Marco Rubio's summary of the opposition's cynicism leading up to the initial vote:
Today’s vote in Senate is NOT on GOP police bill— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 24, 2020
It’s only a vote to begin the process of making changes to the GOP bill
If after these changes are made they still don’t support it the Democrats could still block it
But it looks like they wont even allow that process to begin
It looked that way, and it was that way. After insisting on swift, needed action, Democrats are filibustering even debating a police reform bill -- not because they actually oppose what's in it, but because it doesn't go far enough for their liking. And rather than having that discussion and seeking good-faith alterations to the proposal (Republicans offered votes on at least 20 amendments), also known as governing, they're blocking the Senate from even getting to that stage. Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House fans the flames of racial division with five-alarm demagoguery. And politicians wonder why faith in our system is waning in dangerous and destructive ways. I'll leave you with a short clip, plus a column by the Wall Street Journal's Jason Riley, which doesn't vitiate the need for police reform in my view, but does tackle some emerging tenets of social justice gospel on the subject -- in a way that perhaps only a black man can in the current environment: