It was certainly no slip of the tongue when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cut a small group of her party’s radicals to size. “All these people have the public whatever and their Twitter world,” she told The New York Times. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”

The issue at hand was the $4.6 billion border bill passed by Congress. The “squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley — considered it inadequate for protecting migrant children. Pelosi argued that it was the strongest bill they could get passed.

It was totally predictable that the four would go bananas over this questioning of their real power. Pelosi had stuck a pin in their balloon of self-importance, and with it, the myth of their immense following — outside Twitter, that is.

Speaking in their defense, Hillary Clinton’s former spokesman Brian Fallon said, “Those freshman members are breaking through, and they’re building a movement, and the more power that movement gains, the more persuasive they will be to Pelosi.” OK, Brian, when they have eight members, give us a ring.

But even if their number were to double to eight, the squad would still be a small fraction of the House’s 235-member Democratic caucus. Some 30 of the newly elected Democrats took seats in Republican-leaning districts, which is where the party’s “energy” really is. What’s the big deal about winning in totally safe Democratic districts?

Of course, every Democratic member has the right to dissent or challenge what he or she sees as party orthodoxy. But Pelosi seems to be drawing the line at posturing considered poisonous to the party’s prospects. That would include proposals seen as encouraging illegal immigration and nonstop appeals to ethnic and racial identity.

Still more aggravating are their threats to “primary” Democrats they do not deem to be sufficiently obedient. (For all their obsession with diversity, some of the squad’s targets are black and Latino representatives.)

If these women are so unhappy with the Democratic Party, why don’t they leave and seek re-election as democratic socialists? But they would never do that. For all their pitching of socialism — whatever they mean by that — they know that they can’t win on the democratic socialist line. (Note how Sen. Bernie Sanders routinely slips in and out of Democratic affiliation to ensure that when it’s time to vote, there’s a D after his name.)

Working against efforts to contain these egos is a branch of the liberal media that inflates the importance of their every mood swing. To these reporters, all the important stuff happens on Twitter, which makes their jobs extremely easy. And if the attention-seeking tweets inflame the folks at Fox News, so much the better. Meanwhile, the hard work of other Democrats goes unnoticed.

Bear in mind that almost all these Democrats qualify as progressives. The characterization of these conflicts as liberals versus conservative moderates is lazy and unsophisticated. Until recently, Republicans portrayed Pelosi as a wild-eyed liberal from San Francisco. Her views have not radically changed.

Democrats have an opportunity in 2020 to bring home independents, never-Trumpers and no-longer-Trumpers. In doing so, they may be forced to choose between these new potential Democratic voters and appeasing some on the radical left.

That may risk another leftist attempt at sabotage similar to the Ralph Nader debacle in 2000. Back then, the left was so dissatisfied with the Democratic candidate, that famous right-winger Al Gore, it sent enough votes to Nader to hand the election to George W. Bush.

Now is the time to tell the furious four to play fair or go pound sand. Stay strong, Speaker Pelosi. American civilization is at stake.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

(32) comments

Obadiah Plainsmen

So AOC accuses Pelosi of being a racist and Trump has to come to Pelosi's rescue and give her a lifeline! You can't make this shyt up! It's nothing but a game for the rich and powerful and 99% of the population are nothing but sheeple.

FCPS-Principal

I would not call these ladies 'radical' or 'far left' or anything similar. They are no more radical or leftist than FDR was with Social Security at the time. No more radical or leftist than JFK and LBJ were with securing voting rights for blacks. And they are catering to Millennials who are the future, not the Biden Democrats who are the past. To effect any change at all one has to be radical, willing to make people uncomfortable. If you just want to keep people comfortable, nothing will ever improve. Just look at how successful the Republicans are at making America terrible. There is no end to their radical measures. Of course we first need to teach the Millennials how elections work, something they clearly don't understand. Registering and voting are so boring, right? That's the challenge of working with the young.

Drgmtown62

When did User1 change his/her screen name to “comment deleted”?

DickD

I really don't know, but the comment part is better. If only we could get Jim and a few others a similar name,

phydeaux994

It is the Republicans who elevated the “squad” to fame and fortune in their attempt to make the “squad” the FACE of the Democratic Party.

veritas

Not so. With the exception of Fox News and Rush, conservatives don’t have the firepower to call the shots on a “national conversation.” If they could, the country would have realized back in January that the crisis at the southern border was in fact real, not contrived as reported by CNN, NBC, CBS, WaPo, NYT, etc, et al. And these are the same liberal outlets that have their long knives out for The Squad. The main stream media realizes the threat these women and their nascent movement pose for the traditional Dem Party. Granted, Republicans are happy to pile on, but this is a legitimate Democratic family feud that could well determine who is elected president in’20. It’s must see TV, don’t you agree?

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]Truth veritas.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

threecents

Nice try Veri, but it was the way the crisis was framed by Republicans that was disputed, more than the crisis itself. Conservative media painted it as an invasion crisis - and not at all as a humanitarian crisis, while mainstream media from the beginning focused on the difficulties these immigrants faced. True, the media - much like the government was caught off guard by the amazing mismanagement crisis that we are in now. Still, many Republicans are denying the crisis. Mike Pence is probably being scolded right now for acknowledging it, though he took great pains to blame it on congressional Democrats.

veritas

Which Republicans are denying the crisis? Finally you guys have at last acknowledged the crisis that has existed at least since the end of last year. What we don’t agree on are its root causes and what to do about it.

threecents

Once again, Republicans said the crisis was to border security. They denied that there was a humanitarian crisis. Democrats have said from the beginning that there was a humanitarian crisis - not a border security crisis. I don't think either side anticipated that the humanitarian crisis would get as bad as it has. It is only now - with Mike Pence's statement that Republicans are admitting that there even is a humanitarian crisis.

threecents

This all reminds of Bush V.2 saying Browny has this, when expressing overconfidence that FEMA could handle the fallout from the New Orleans hurricanes. Likewise when Trump with Puerto Rico.

gary4books

I do NOT agree. Not now. Not ever. Immigration and its problems were fading away before Mr. Trump stirred it up as an election issue.

gabrielshorn2013

So you are saying that the current administration caused the current mass migration from Central America? We thought that it was due to rampant crime, violence, and corruption. Did the current administration cause that, because it has been going on for decades. As for fading away, a report on NBC Nightly News last night compared the number of deportations of this and the previous administration. The previous administration deported far more people, and it wasn’t even close. So when exactly was the problem fading away?

threecents

True, number of deportations increased under Obama, but in his last few years I believe it went way down.

DickD

Gabe, Gary is right. Trump pulled out of aid to countries in Central America and that has caused the immigration to go up.

hayduke2

Nailed it Gary. Words have consequences and the president's rhetoric sparked an urgency in our southern neighbors that was/is exploited by those who encourage it. BTW Gabe - Facts matter. How many immigrants are living in the U.S. illegally? There were 12 million immigrants living in the country illegally as of January 2015, according to the most recent estimate from the Department of Homeland Security. The estimates from two independent groups are similar: The Pew Research Center estimates the number at 10.7 million in 2016, and the Center for Migration Studies says there were 10.8 million people in 2016 living in the U.S. illegally. That would be about 3.3 percent to 3.7 percent of the total U.S. population in 2016 or 2015. All three groups use Census Bureau data on the foreign-born or noncitizens and adjust to subtract the legal immigrant population. DHS estimated that the growth of the illegal immigrant population had slowed considerably, saying the population increased by 470,000 per year from 2000 to 2007, but only by 70,000 per year from 2010 to 2015. CMS found a decline in the undocumented population, and specifically those from Mexico, of about 1 million since 2010. And the Pew Research Center found a peak of 12.2 million in the population in 2007, and a decline since.

gary4books

Check out the numbers of apprehensions at the border over the years. There are many reasons for migration. But this one accelerated because Mr. Trump pulled it back into the news and the word was out.

veritas

This dust up between Pelosi and “the squad” is a hoot, but it’s more about style than substance. The four young ladies at issue are cocky, petulant, in-your-face and fearless. Today’s Democratic Party is so far left and still moving in that direction that there’s hardly any distance between Pelosi’s brand of Democrat and AOC’s. The Squad has the social media firepower to enrage and fire up millennials who are an increasingly activist and essential component of the party. Nevertheless, the New Left Democratic Party agenda scares the bejesus out of all Republicans, most independents and a considerable percentage of traditional Dems. The farther left The Squad and its supporters push the party, the better the chances for a second Trump term. It’s all quite entertaining.

threecents

I think there is some substance to the dustup. Personally, I detest the squad. To me they are no better than Trump - a bunch of undereducated, tweeting narcissists. If that sounds elitist then good, as I expect exceptional people leading congress and the White House. The one thing I like about the squad is that they don't vote in lock step with their party.

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup]three

DickD

Some of my thoughts too, Veritas. I do want them to be more traditional, not that I like the Republican ways either, which scare the bejesus out of me.

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Dwasserba

Except "knowing your place" (!) has no place in today's culture that worships individuality and expressing yourself. Grandma always knew her place. Hmm. How could this possibly have happened.

Obadiah Plainsmen

I enjoy hearing from radicals on both sides of the isle. 246 years ago a government of the people, by the people and for the people was a radical idea and nobody thought it would work. To the AOC club and the Freedom Caucus keep stirring the pot and turn up the heat, it will eventually boil over. There is only one objective .. to win.. to win...to win

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hayduke2

User - how did you feel and react to the Freedom Caucus and their tactics ? They were and are exactly the same.

sevenstones1000

Unlike the Republicans, Democrats actually have a wide variety of views. The Speaker never told those young women not to hold those views - she merely educated them in the political realities of being a gang of only 4. Freshman congresspeople sometimes lack a full understanding of how the legislative branch works.

public-redux

Sometimes presidents do too.

Dwasserba

The four attract attention, they're comfortable with it and know how to use it. Today's women see themselves in those four who weren't trained to know their place, don't mind being called "shrill" or the b-word or the things Pelosi's been called that make people view her as "tough". Surprising in a woman of her generation, not surprising she has actual power as a result. Lesson learned.

DickD

Pelosi has a charming way of handling difficult situations. She sure gets under Trump's skin. [beam]

tonyc51

I have no problem with the group expressing their point of view, after all this is America. The problem is not with them as much as it is with media fascination with them, and the totally out of proportion level of coverage that they get. All it takes is some out of left field comment from them to be on all cable news non stop for the next 5 days. Cover them when they accomplish something worth discussing, not when they expel gas.

hayduke2

Feel the same about the Freedom Caucus - Gowdy and Jordan, et. al ???

gary4books

Some ideas of the left are important now because they make a wider map of what we can discuss and consider and give more credibility to the ideas in the "center." it is to our advantage to consider many possibilities. These Representtives are laying foundations for the future. Their choice. And I have no reason to restrict them.

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