Friday, January 12, 2018

Thoroughly Unwise

Think before speaking, Congresswoman- or don't speak at all. Politico reports

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi complained Thursday that immigration negotiations are being led by "five white guys" — and was quickly rebuked by her No. 2, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, himself one of those white guys involved in the talks.

“The five white guys I call them, you know," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. "Are they going to open a hamburger stand next or what?” Pelosi said, complaining that minority members of Congress were not involved in deciding the fate of Dreamers.

Pelosi's quip was a reference to the hamburger chain Five Guys and the five white men leading the immigration negotiations. In addition to Hoyer, they include Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Overrated hamburgers, excellent french fries. But that's off-point.

Fortunately, Democratic whip Steny Hoyer rebuked Pelosi, telling Politico in a statement “That comment is offensive. I am committed to ensuring DREAMers are protected and I will welcome everyone to the table who wants to get this done."

The remark of the "San Francisco Democrat" is not only patently bigoted and patronizing, it is likely to get Democrats running in 2018 in GOP, or swing districts labeled as "Pelosi Democrats."

The statement also was bizarre. The Democratic delegation is meeting under the leadership of.... Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  Presumably, if someone's skin color should be a qualification for making policy, she ought to be able to facilitate it.

To make matters odder, we learn

“That could’ve been done four months ago. The very idea that this week they’re saying, ‘Oh why don’t we get four white guys and General Kelly to come and do this,’” she continued. The lack of minority involvement only serves to delay a deal, she argued, since it would need sign-off from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and others.

One wonders whether she could be naive or ignorant enough to believe this is a strategic disadvantage. Having a Democratic duo which is strictly (non-hispanic) white while necessitating a sign-off from other groups (the "other" probably being the Congressional Black Caucus) is a strategic advantage.

It goes something like this: "it sounds pretty good to us, guys, but we have to run it by the others and, well, sometimes they're not as reasonable as we are." Someone must step up to explain this routine, yet relatively successful, strategy to the leader of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives.

There is something else which, remarkably, Pelosi doesn't seem to understand.  The narrative- not unfounded- is that the GOP is the nearly all-white, exclusive party while the Democratic Party is significantly more inclusive. Obviously, as pertains to these negotiators, she cannot make this case and therefore, the less said, the better.  When Pelosi refers to the ethnic background of the negotiators, she muddles part of the modern raison d'etre of the Democratic Party and suggests to voters that there is no distinction betweeen the two parties.

Bothsiderism is better left to the mainstream media. Denigrating someone on the basis of inherited characteristics is better left to the leader of the other Party. And Speaker Pelosi, and the Democratic Party, would benefit were she to leave the messaging to someone else.

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