The following email exchange took place recently between me, a moderate, and Rob Crawford, a progressive. Rob is a retired humanities professor with the University of Washington/Tacoma and served as state chair of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT). It was over the issue of torture — when the George W. Bush administration began engaging in torture in Iraq in 2004 — that Rob and I became acquainted. This exchange commenced after my recent commentary, “’Let’s Take Back Our Democracy — and Improve It While We’re At It’: Democrats’ Winning Strategy in 2020.” It opens with Rob protesting my failure to defend “the Squad” — Democratic freshman Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ayanna Pressley (MA), Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Ilhan Omar (MN). I have done minimal editing; Rob approves both editing and posting.
Excellent post. I was entirely with you until you called on the Squad to be more responsible. Name one thing you think is not responsible. As for challenging the Democratic centrist leadership, if not now, when? For the leadership to run scared of these voices is to court disaster, in my humble opinion. They should welcome the vigorous debate among Dems, not be intimidated by the slur of anti-Semitism, and stand up for the diversity of views — and most importantly four Congresswomen of color. That said, I personally do not know, and I don’t see how anyone can know, what will be most effective against Trump in 2020. I live in trepidation of his re-election.
Well, if I had you with me that deep into the commentary — almost to the end! — I’m happy.
About the Squad and what I thought was irresponsible on their part: Yes, the anti-Semitic tropes employed by Omar and AOC calling the border detention facilities “concentration camps” and Tlaib using the f-bomb to call for Trump’s impeachment — volatile terms that yielded nothing and by which now the R’s can smear ALL Dems as “extremist.” And AOC’s chief of staff calling Pelosi et al. racists — wayyyy out of bounds. N.B., please: Pelosi came to the Squad’s defense asap when Trump dumped his racist “Go back to where they came from” rant. Would the Squad do the same for Pelosi? (I wonder.)
A savvy politician knows the power of his/her rhetoric and, equally important, knows how one’s…