Sunday, May 22, 2022

Not A Simple Prescription

Some center-left Democrats are enthralled with Mayor Eric Adams of New York City and Politico has reported

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, just had Adams speak at the DCCC’s Chairman’s Issues Conference and Weekend in the city on Saturday. Adams suggested the following talking points to attack the GOP:

 “Let’s force them to explain why they oppose common sense gun laws but support the violence claiming innocent lives.”

“Why murder rates are the highest in red states.”

“Why they won’t stop the flow of illegal firearms or ban ghost guns, but they will allow police officers to be shot with them.”

“Let’s force them to explain how they are for law and order and against funding law enforcement.”

Gun safety legislation is necessary and Democrats should inform voters that GOP states are murder havens and that Republicans accept police officers being shot with ghost guns and other firearms. That should be easy to do. However, Politico adds, Adams

also reinforced a moderate path for the party in rebuke of the more progressive actors who’ve supported the movement to defund the police and attack corporations.

“If we do not have the courage to admit public safety needs police, prosperity needs the private sector, and this country needs big changes, then we will not have the credibility to lead,” Adams said.

Steve M  understands

Right, because capitalism has worked so well for people in the 21st century. If you don't count the dot-com crash, the painfully slow recovery from the Great Recession, the current wave of inflation, and the decades-long decline in the share of national wealth that goes to the non-rich, capitalism seems awesome!....

As for capitalism, who apart from the Masters of the Universe themselves, and the politicians who desperately want their money, actually likes it anymore? Even Republicans know now that they get loud rounds of applause when they attack big corporations (although they don't really want to change their overall approach to the rich, as long as the rich defer to them politically).

He concedes

I think Defund the Police was an off-putting message, a terrible way to frame what was a popular idea two years ago: that there's serious police abuse that needs to stop. It's true that most people, including people of color, want traditional policing -- but they want it without the brutality. Adams actually won the mayor's race by appearing to hit a sweet spot: He's an ex-cop who said he was a victim of police mistreatment as a young man, and he seemed to advocate reform as well as law and order. But as mayor he's abandoned the idea of reform.

I'm not convinced voters are repulsed by police brutality. After George Floyd was murdered 24 months ago this month, most people were outraged as images of the brutality were so pervasive that they were virtually inescapable.

Those images are now a thing of the past, replaced by video of mayhem which occurred at some of the George Floyd protests, as well as constant (exaggerated) reminders by the media of soaring murder rates.  Republican Conference chairperson Elise Stefanik skillfully exploited this with her loathsome, yet tactically brilliant, tweet following the mass murder in Buffalo:

When Stefanik spoke of allegedly "skyrocketing violent crimes," she wasn't referring to mass murders at schools, discount department stores, or supermarkets.  She was talking about the violent crime which takes place daily across the country, which occurs disproportionately in minority neighborhoods in major cities. (If a Tucker Carlson fan, you might believe it occurs exclusively in black neighborhoods in major cities.)

Democrats didn't need a lecture from a big-city mayor to know they have been plagued with an image of being "soft" on crime since Richard Nixon demagogically urged "law and order" to combat "crime in the streets."  It's history that Eric Adams chooses to ignore because it carries with it potentially explosive implications.  Democrats cannot talk effectively and convincingly about crime, guns, and police without confronting the racial component considered fundamental by (non-black) Americans. So good luck with that.

Race was an important theme in Richard Nixon's narrative and, even more cagily, it is now for Elise Stefanik and her fellow travelers.  Eric Adams won't tell you. Nancy Pelosi and Sean Patrick Maloney won't tell you. Neither will Politico and the rest of the mainstream media tell you. But it is the rest of the story.


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