The Squad’s acrimonious response to Sen. Joe Manchin’s rebuke of President Biden’s multitrillion-dollar spending bill demonstrates why we need the right people, not just any Black women, in office.
These women don’t represent all of the perspectives or interests of women of color. They bully those in their camp to go along with their agenda and when challenged play victim. Their Marxist-Socialist ideas are dangerous and would undermine progress, independence, and opportunity for those working their way up in life. They claim to work for “the people,” but if their ends are achieved in Congress, minority causes will be steamrolled by the majority in power, a fate that does neither party any good.
Sen. Manchin, D-W.Va., sent shock waves across the political world on Sunday when he said he was a ‘no’ on the ‘Build Back Better’ (BBB) Act. The White House’s response was scathing, but the ladies of the Squad were rabid. They called Sen. Manchin a liar and spoke of him as though he were the enemy.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., threw decorum out of the window with her response on MSNBC: “We all knew that Sen. Manchin couldn’t be trusted. The excuses that he just made, I think, are complete bullsh**. It is really disheartening to hear him say that he has been trying to get there for the people of West Virginia because that’s a complete lie.”
In an interview with MSNBC, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called it a “farce” that he can’t explain his position on the bill. She then blasted the Senate as an “old boy’s club” and that they need to crack down on the upper chamber.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., told CNN’s Jake Tapper: “He is obstructing the president’s agenda. Eighty-five percent of which is still left on the table. And in obstructing the president’s agenda, he is obstructing the people’s agenda. … all I want for Christmas is a senator that has compassion for the American people and not contempt.”
Here’s what’s ironic about their defense of “the people.” They all voted against the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill (a bill far more popular than the current massive social spending bill) in protest that both bills were not being advanced in tandem. (I opposed the infrastructure bill because it was full of waste and cleared the way for the sweeping BBB.) Now, they feel justified in their opposition, because they feel fleeced by Manchin.
This is not the only reason Manchin is on their hit list. Their qualm is with the Senate’s filibuster. Sen. Manchin is one of two liberal senators standing in the way of its demise. Recently, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., called the filibuster an “instrument of racism.” Referring to anti-lynching and Civil Rights legislation, she claimed that the “use of the filibuster seems to be triggered in points like this, where it is about uplifting Black folks in our country and protecting them.”
The Squad is passionate, but not always well informed. Tlaib’s simplistic argument paints an inaccurate and incomplete history of an important consensus-building tool. This procedural measure predates Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Era, tracing its history back to the early 1800s. The filibuster has been used for a variety of reasons including to thwart the creation of a national bank, appointments, and treaties.
Recently, a few historians and political scientists have stoked ire against the filibuster among social-justice activists and lawmakers by framing it as “a tool used overwhelmingly by racists.” They conveniently distinguish between the original measure and the “modern filibuster,” which they claim is egregious on racial grounds.
Indeed, the filibuster was heavily used to stall civil rights legislation … by Southern Democrats, a fact they ignore. Then-Democrat Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina spoke for over 24 hours — setting a record in 1957 — against the 1957 Civil Rights Act.
Since then both parties have exercised the filibuster for nominations as well as to stymie legislative agendas that had nothing to do with race relations. A filibuster is no more a tool for racists as it is for Senate Democrats who used it against Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform and anti-lynching bill after the George Floyd killing.
The Squad is not standing up for democracy or minority rights, but mob rule. Ending a tool that forces the parties to work together is folly and will not lead to better outcomes for all Americans, but narrow victories for those in power.
Then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., implored Republicans not to do away with the filibuster in a 2005 speech, ominously warning “if the majority chooses to end the filibuster — if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate — then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse.”
He added that “they must rise above an ends justify the means mentality because we’re here to answer to the people — all of the people — not just the ones wearing our party label.”
It’s too bad that even he has caved to progressive pressure to kill the filibuster.
The Squad may think that the only way to get its way is to end the filibuster, but if successful, they may end up cutting their nose to spite their face as the proverb says.
Dozens of former lawmakers, legal scholars, and nonprofit leaders wrote in a New York Times letter to the editor recently, “The filibuster, in other words, amplifies otherwise voiceless causes and makes certain that they are taken seriously. For conservatives, as well as the far left of the Democratic Party, who are generally always in the minority even when their party is in the majority, the filibuster is a powerful tool.” (I work for the Independent Women’s Forum, one of the signees.)