Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Maxine Waters Didn't Start The Fire

It's hard to determine which is worse: the statement of Representative Maxine Waters or one of the responses to it. Waters infamously remarked

Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere. We've got to get the children connected to their parents.

Actually, it's not difficult at all. An appropriately restrained Nancy Pelosi contended "In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump's daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable."

Slightly more negatively, Chuck Schumer charged "If you disagree with a politician, organize your fellow citizens to action and vote them out of office, but no one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That’s not right. That’s not American...”

Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education for most of President Obama's tenure, at least was humble when he acknowledged his statement was only "my personal opinion":

What is happening is completely unrelated to discriminating against an individual because of an inherited characteristic- race- or against someone born as a man or a woman and comes to realize it's not who he or she is. Still, Duncan seems to realize that bias against blacks and transgendered individuals is a part of our history, and far worse than requiring someone to go elsewhere for her Chanterelle & Scape Risotto. Not so aware, David Axelrod responded to Waters with

"Folks on the left" is another shot against progressives by the Democratic establishment. Worse, insertion of the adverb "now" was no accident. It is Axelrod- unlike Duncan- reinforcing the GOP meme that now that some Democrats are uncivil, we have (suddenly) become divided. 

Axelrod, Senator Barack Obama's chief campaign strategist in 2008 and 2012, evidently needs to remember the following (compiled in September, 2016 by CNN's Gregory Krieg):

 1. "Why doesn't he show his birth certificate? There's something on that birth certificate that he          doesn't like."
- March 23, 2011, on "The View"

2. "He's spent millions of dollars trying to get away from this issue. Millions of dollars in legal fees trying to get away from this issue. And I'll tell you what, I brought it up, just routinely, and all of a sudden a lot facts are emerging and I'm starting to wonder myself whether or not he was born in this country."
- March 28, 2011, on Fox News

3. "He doesn't have a birth certificate, or if he does, there's something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me -- and I have no idea if this is bad for him or not, but perhaps it would be -- that where it says 'religion,' it might have 'Muslim.' And if you're a Muslim, you don't change your religion, by the way."
- March 30, 2011, on The Laura Ingraham Show

4. "I have people that have been studying [Obama's birth certificate] and they cannot believe what they're finding ... I would like to have him show his birth certificate, and can I be honest with you, I hope he can. Because if he can't, if he can't, if he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility ... then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics."
- April 7, 2011, on NBC's "Today" show

5. "His grandmother in Kenya said, 'Oh, no, he was born in Kenya and I was there and I witnessed the birth.' She's on tape. I think that tape's going to be produced fairly soon. Somebody is coming out with a book in two weeks, it will be very interesting."
- April 7, 2011, on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

Donald Trump never would have become President Donald Trump, would never have even sniffed the GOP presidential nomination, were it not for his campaign to convince voters that Barack H. Obama was not born in this country.  It's analogous to Obama's opposition to the upcoming Iraq War, inasmuch as the Illinois senator would never have been considered for his party's presidential nomination had he never given this impressive speech. 

Axelrod's worship of his former boss knows no bounds. When Axelrod maintains "now we're divided by red plates & blue plates, he suggests that in the Age of Obama we were contentedly sitting in a circle and singing "Kumbaya." And, yes, we noticed the hashtag- "sad"- popularized by Donald J. Trump himself, likely employed here without sarcasm.

We don't even have to go back to 2011.  The morning after Red Hen restaurant turned Sarah Sanders and her party away, she tweeted about the incident in a relatively restrained (albeit probably illegal) manner. Encouraged by the President to lead Monday's news conference with a statement, Sanders unremarkably stated "Healthy debate on ideas and political philosophy is important, but the calls for harassment and push for any Trump supporter to avoid the public is unacceptable."

However, in between, President Trump stirred the pot with

Criticism of critics of Truimp, combined with nostalgia for the America which Axelrod imagines existed oh, say, 17 months ago, does not mollify Republicans.  One GOP snowflake, Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, has introduced a resolution to censure Representative Waters and has proposed she apologize to the President, release a public statement denouncing harassment and violence, and resign. 

No good can come from Maxine Waters' remarks, especially because if the GOP retains control of both houses of Congress after November, game over.  However, even before the restaurant confrontation and the ensuing fallout, it was clear Republicans will not be soothed or placated. They will not compromise. It is now Donald Trump's party. They will accept only total victory. 

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