The growing tension between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has suddenly exploded into open warfare over race. Ocasio-Cortez has accused Pelosi of attacking her because of her race. Race has been regularly raised by Democrats against President Donald Trump and the Republicans, including Pelosi’s recent attack that Trump wants to “make American white again.” I considered that attack to be inciteful and reckless and beneath the office of the Speaker. Now she is the subject of the same type of attack. I have often been critical of Pelosi but I do not consider her to be a racist. Yet, this is an example of how it is difficult to confine race-based attacks once you use them for political ends.
I have not been one of those heaping criticism on Ocasio-Cortez. She has been unfairly in my view portrayed as an intellectual lightweight or incompetent legislator. I believe that she is wrong on many points but I view many members as having poor understanding of the law or economics. She has succeeded in challenging the establishment and, while I disagree with her policies, I do not see the justification for many of these attacks.
However, it was Ocasio-Cortez who was unfair in this latest criticism. She stated that Pelosi was focusing her ire on new female members of color. Ocasio-Cortez said:
“When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood . . . But the persistent singling out . . . it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”
Ocasio-Cortez added to The Washington Post on Wednesday that the “persistent singling out” by the Speaker may be more than “outright disrespectful.” She has also accused Pelosi of burying her in work to try to keep her out of the public eye.
It is said that Revolution like Saturn “devours its own.” The same can be said about race-based politics.