Does a Democrat's individual 'moderation' matter, if she's going to vote for a far-left Democratic leadership?

Amy McGrath, right, with her husband, Erik Henderson, waves to supporters after being elected as the Democratic candidate for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Richmond, Ky. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Amy McGrath is a moderate Democrat, or at least that is the way she has campaigned. That’s what she has to be to have a chance of winning the House of Representatives seat from the Sixth Congressional District in Kentucky. But whether she is a real moderate, as is traditional in Bluegrass State politics, or further left, and just concealing it to try to win, might not really matter.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Abolish ICE? Build the wall? Barr, McGrath navigate party landmines on immigration.

By Daniel DesRochers | [email protected] | July 27, 2018 | 02:59 PM | Updated July 27, 2018 | 06:34 PM

LAWRENCEBURG — Amy McGrath stood with a microphone in her hand on a hot July Saturday, making her pitch to a crowd that spilled out of two tailgate tents.

The Democratic candidate talked about why she wants to represent Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. She talked about compromise, bipartisanship and her stance on health care. She told a story about how her students at the Naval Academy often couldn’t tell if she was a Republican or a Democrat.

Then, she turned her attention to immigration.

“I care about secure borders,” McGrath said. “We absolutely have to have it. Folks, I fought for my country. I fought to have secure borders. We want to know who’s coming into our country. But that mother with the four- or five-year-old kid who made this incredible journey just to get to our borders is not the enemy.”

“She’s not a criminal,” someone in the crowd shouted.

“Exactly, they’re not criminals,” McGrath said.

Really? Perhaps Mrs McGrath doesn’t know the definition of the word:

Criminal (noun): crim·i·nal /ˈkrim(ə)n(ə)l/ “A person who has committed a crime.”

The mother with the four-or-five-year-old child who has made that incredible journey to our borders is a criminal the moment she crosses the border illegally, because she has committed a crime, she has broken the law.

Mrs McGrath stated that her students at Annapolis couldn’t tell if she was a Republican or a Democrat? Then-Lieutenant Colonel McGrath was a “a senior political science instructor” to Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, from 2014 to 2017, so one assumes that there was plenty of opportunity for her students to discern her party affiliation, and if they really couldn’t tell, then we are expected to believe that she didn’t bring her personal political views into the classroom. That would be a good thing.

But that makes Mrs McGrath the most dangerous kind of moderate, the faux kind. As we have previously noted, Mrs McGrath stated that “The only feeling I can describe that’s any close to it (Donald Trump’s election victory) was the feeling I had after 9/11.” Mrs McGrath basically said, to the voters of the sixth district, 55% of whom cast their ballots for Mr Trump, ‘You are indistinguishable from the terrorists who hijacked those four jetliners in 2001. Your attitude toward our country is no different from that of Osama bin Laden. You are just plain unAmerican, and are really enemies of America.’¹

Amber Athey transcribed her comments:

McGrath, who just recently won her primary in Kentucky’s 6th district, said in November that after Trump’s win she felt the same “sinking feeling” that she had after learning of the 9/11 attacks.

“And then, of course, the results of the election, we have a new commander-in-chief,” McGrath said during an event by Indivisible Bourbon County. “And that morning I woke up like somebody had sucker punched me. I mean, I felt like, ‘what has just happened to my country?’”

“The only feeling I can describe that’s any close to it was the feeling I had after 9/11. ‘What just happened, where are we going from here,’ and it was that just sinking feeling of sadness, and I didn’t know what to do,” she continued.

These are the words of a moderate? No, these are the words of someone who was, at the time, running to the left in the Democratic primary, and not too terribly worried about having to appeal to the majority of the voters in the Sixth District.Now that she has to appeal to that broader electorate, well, things have changed. She wants to be part of a Democratic surge to recapture the House of Representatives, to “provide a check against this administration,” and that doesn’t mean moderation, but obstructionism and leftist policies. Whether Mrs McGrath really is the moderate she campaigns as being, if elected, the first votes she casts in Congress would be her most important ones, the ones which would organize the House leadership as being controlled either by Democrats or Republicans. If Mrs McGrath has her way, she’ll be voting not for moderate Democratic leadership, but for the hard left Democrats who have been her party’s leadership all along, who would control the rules and the calendar, and who would impose far more leftist policies than Mrs McGrath admits — now, anyway — to supporting.

The Herald-Leader story continued, after describing Representative Andy Barr’s (R-KY 6) immigration positions:

Meanwhile, McGrath has attempted to find the middle, distancing herself from the left of her party on immigration.

As protesters in Louisville have camped out in front of the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement building and the Ronald L. Mazzoli Federal Building, McGrath criticized the movement to eliminate ICE.

“Our immigration system is very complex and the reason it remains a problem is Congress,” McGrath told the crowd in Anderson County. “It is not a problem because of the agents on the border or because of the ICE agents. Folks, these guys are awesome, patriotic Americans who are doing their job, who are doing what they’re told to do. And so the blame for any of these problems right now does not rest on them, it really doesn’t.”

What does any of that matter if she’s casting a decisive vote for Nancy Pelosi to become Speaker of the House, and the further left Democrats to take over the leadership positions?

In a debate on KET during the Democratic primary, McGrath displayed a willingness to compromise on immigration issues.

“If we can get 900,000 Dreamers, DACA recipients, to become full citizens in exchange for Donald Trump to get 20 miles of a wall so he can put a red hat on and take a picture and call it a win, you know what, I’ll take that deal,” McGrath said after calling Trump’s border wall stupid. “Because that’s what we need to do to move forward.”

Sure she’d accept that, any Democrat would, because “20 miles of a wall” along a 1,954 mile long border is wholly insignificant.

One thing is clear: Mrs McGrath is not stupid. She’s clever enough to realize that she cannot campaign as a hard leftist in the general election campaign, and hope to win the Sixth District. But she’s also smart enough to know that however much of a moderate she might campaign as being, it won’t matter at all when it comes to her casting votes in the House of Representatives if she wins.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.
¹ – Interestingly enough, a Google search for amy mcgrath “The only feeling I can describe that’s any close to it ” kentucky.com, designed specifically to find that quote in the Herald-Leader, failed to do so. Given that the cell phone video of Mrs McGrath making that statement exists, and has been published repeatedly, one would expect that a responsible newspaper of record for Lexington would have had a story about it, but no, it doesn’t seem to be there. The Tennessee Star pointed out that several conservative sites noted her comments, but none of the “mainstream media” had done so. The aforementioned Google search did not archive any returns for credentialed media sources.