Politico Playbook serves as a vehicle for Democrats to vent their thoughts and float their balloons. Playbook’s Rachael Bade leads this morning with Democrats’ mulling over the offense taken by Rep. Ilhan Omar to comments by Rep. Lauren Boebert. Bade’s Playbook report is headlined “Dems’ dicey decision: Punish Boebert or not?” Here is Bade’s accompanying report minus the links:
IS AN APOLOGY ENOUGH? — The drama surrounding Rep. LAUREN BOEBERT’s (R-Colo.) Islamophobic comments about Rep. ILHAN OMAR (D-Minn.) is about to heat up as lawmakers return from Thanksgiving recess this week. Sources tell us a faction of Democrats is expected to push leadership to strip Boebert of her committee assignments or censure her after she joked about Omar, who is Muslim, being safe to ride with in an elevator because she wasn’t wearing a backpack.
This is a messier situation for Democrats than their previous moves to punish Reps. PAUL GOSAR (R-Ariz.) and MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-Ga.) in similar fashion. Unlike those two, Boebert issued a public apology and reached out to Omar’s office to try to speak with her. House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY even tried to play peacemaker, calling House Majority Leader STENY HOYER personally this weekend and asking him to help facilitate a meeting between the two women.
Some Democrats — particularly allies of Omar — don’t see Boebert’s apology as authentic. Omar’s office would not say whether she will take Boebert up on her offer to meet. But other Democrats privately worry that if they punish a lawmaker who admits a mistake and tries to make amends, they’ll be setting themselves up for similar treatment — or worse — under a future GOP majority.
The situation highlights the slippery slope Democrats created when they removed MTG from her committees over comments she made before entering Congress. Where do Democrats draw the line? If Democrats don’t lower the boom on Boebert, what message would it send to the Muslim community? But if they do, what message does that send to those who apologize for saying something wrong?
Republicans have their own divide to navigate. Greene took to Twitter to tweak Boebert over her apology, writing that “the Jihad squad are undeserving” of one. The apparent split — the two were thought to be friendly before this — could complicate McCarthy’s effort to calm the waters. Watch Boebert’s rhetoric this week, too. We’ll soon find out how sincere her apology was, particularly if she maintains her current posture amid Greene’s criticism.
What nauseating palaver. Our friend Roger Kimball offered contrary thoughts last night in the Epoch Times column “Rude Words Spoken About Ilhan Omar, Fake Outrage, and an Unneeded Apology.” Right or wrong, Roger was prescient in taking up this matter.
Before this particular incident, Rep. Boebert opposed the House’s censure of Gosar by reference to Reps. Omar and Swalwell captured in this video clip.
Rep. @laurenboebert: "My colleague & three-month presidential candidate from Calif. [@ericswalwell], who’s on the Intelligence Committee, slept with Fang Fang, a Chinese spy. Let me say that again. A member of Congress who receives classified briefings was sleeping w/ the enemy." pic.twitter.com/DvlQv2KjPF
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 17, 2021
I want to comment briefly in six bullet points:
• Omar is a classic anti-Semitic bigot. However, it’s not just Jews. She’s not crazy about America either.
• Omar loves to portray herself as a victim and play the victim card with her accusers. I had the experience myself when, back in August 2016, I asked her to comment on her apparent marriage to her brother. She even played the role out with the Star Tribune in 2019 when they wanted to talk to her about the newly released documents bearing on that marriage.
• On a personal note, I am gratified to see that Omar’s 2009 marriage to her brother (Ahmed Nur Said Elmi) has become common knowledge. Everyone knows it. Everyone has nevertheless moved on.
• Omar is a living reproach to the Democratic Party and the House of Representatives. Yet the fabricated outrage over Boebert has turned her into a cause. How pathetic can you get?
• Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has heretofore kept her distance from Omar. She didn’t want to be seen with her. She didn’t want to be photographed with her. Yet Klobuchar has now adopted Omar as a cause. This is how pathetic she can get.
Bigotry is never funny, bigotry is never a joke, and bigotry must always be condemned. https://t.co/NuTCBYbpH7
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) November 28, 2021
• “The jihad squad” name bites. Omar and her friends hate Israel. To my knowledge Omar has never said a negative word about Hamas, Hezbollah, or al Qaeda. To my knowledge Omar has never said a kind word about the United States or Israel. You can see why Omar et al. — her political allies as well as her friends of convenience — want to take the opportunity to stigmatize those who have the temerity to mock Omar about her affinities.