Representative Joe Crowley (D-NY) is using a tired play to defend Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi from justified criticism over her tax reform bashing. He's playing the sexism card.
Earlier this year, Pelosi called the surprising bonuses and benefits that companies handed out to their workers because of corporate tax cuts, "crumbs."
That became a popular line of attack by many Democrats including Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate in this week's Pennsylvania special election, who said in an interview "I'll work with Trump on infrastructure and drugs, but not the sort of tax bill that gives crumbs to the middle class and does nothing to protect jobs from going overseas."
Now, that Americans are feeling the impact of bigger paychecks and enjoying bonuses, higher starting salaries, new paid leave benefits, and even educational benefits to further their skills, a majority support the tax reform bill and the "crumbs" argument is falling flat. People are taking to social media to tell Pelosi that these are not crumbs. Even Nancy Pelosi is starting to soften her "crumbs" rhetoric.
Conservatives are right to remind Americans that Pelosi, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, started the "crumbs" attack term because to her a $1,000 bonus is just crumbs. To most Americans struggling to save enough cash to handle a $400 emergency, that is a life-saver.
When Crowley was asked about Lamb distancing himself during his campaign from Pelosi ahead of the special election on Tuesday, he deflected. Instead of addressing the real issue (that moderate Democrats will distance themselves from a tax plan that is growing in popularity and working in surprising ways for middle-class families), he cried discrimination. According to The Hill, he said:
"I think they need to get a new game book,” Crowley said of Republicans. “The attempts to use Nancy Pelosi, it’s failing them at this point. And I think, quite frankly, it’s sexist.”
It's one thing to criticize Pelosi's hair, age, features, clothing, and make-up or to even question her duties as a wife and mother while holding office. Those are sexist attacks. There is nothing sexist about challenging a female lawmaker on the substance of an issue, her position, and her public statements.
Nancy Pelosi is the leader of House Democrats and one of the most prominent leaders in the progressive movement, so what she says carries great weight.
Crowley is looking for a way to let Pelosi off the hook for her out-of-touch "crumbs" argument. Playing the sexism card won't work. It's not just untrue but undermines the real cases of sexism on Capitol Hill and in politics today.
Crying wolf is not the way to champion women.