We reported earlier on how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) went “full-metal stand-up comic” in wacky comments made during her press conference Thursday in which she described her fellow House Democrats as “the greatest collection of intellect, integrity, and imagination, for doing the right thing for the American people.”
Much of Pelosi’s generous characterization of her colleagues, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. Especially the part about “the greatest collection of intellect, integrity, and imagination.” There are too many examples of House Dems behaving badly and disproving Pelosi’s point in the process, but we’ll focus on one that happened just a few hours after she uttered her statement.
A number of Democrats took to the House floor on Thursday to decry the Senate’s failure to change the filibuster rules in a 52-48 vote, which included all Republican Senators as well as Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin.
One of those House Democrats was Rep. Mondaire Jones, a freshman member who represents New York’s 17th congressional district and who is also considered to be a member of AOC’s “Squad.”
Jones, who said during the speech he gave that he had worked tirelessly along with Democrat members of the House on the two so-called “voting rights” bills that are at the center of the filibuster standoff, didn’t just throw the “Jim Crow” card around with wild abandon during his remarks. He went so far as to call those who voted Wednesday night to keep the filibuster rule in place “white nationalists“:
I want to thank my brother and colleague, Congressman Allred, for his leadership in the fight to protect the right to vote and to save our ailing democracy. It has been an honor working with him, with Congresswoman Terri Sewell, and with Congressman John Sarbanes over the past year on both the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
As you just heard, we are living through the worst assault on the right to vote since Jim Crow. And yesterday, on the Senate floor, white nationalists used the Jim Crow filibuster to block voting rights legislation.
Watch Jones demonstrate what Pelosi apparently feels is “intellect, integrity, and imagination” by calling members of the Senate “white nationalists” in his floor speech below:
Unlike John Lewis and his generation, we are not called to risk our lives. We are merely called to exercise the rights they helped to win: our votes and our voices.
Like those before us, let us march on. pic.twitter.com/keNDTorzCI
— Rep. Mondaire Jones (@RepMondaire) January 20, 2022
Firstly, I guess we should congratulate (?) Jones for taking Joe Biden’s “you’re either with us or you’re no better than racist segregationists of the past” talking point and running with it. Because if there’s one thing we can say about Democrats is that they are one-trick ponies when it comes to trotting out the race card when they are on the losing end of a debate.
But beyond that, here are a couple of observations that are rather inconvenient to Jones’s “argument.”
For starters, the “Jim Crow filibuster” was a key tool for Democrats during the Trump years, where they abused it hundreds of times to stall judicial confirmations and other parts of Trump’s agenda. Senate Democrats even used the “Jim Crow filibuster” last week to block a bill from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would have imposed sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Secondly, I’m sure “white nationalist” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who is also a proponent of the filibuster, would dispute being described in such a way. Just a wild guess. Further, Democrats used that same “Jim Crow filibuster” to block Scott’s police reform bill two years ago, and I certainly don’t remember hearing anyone on the left referring to the Democrats who blocked it as “white nationalists.”
Aside from all of this is whether or not Pelosi will see fit to rebuke Jones for his comments. Because the House has a rule for conduct during a debate that “strictly” forbids “impugning the motives of another Member, the Senate or the President, using offensive language, or uttering words that are otherwise deemed unparliamentary.”
I’m pretty sure describing colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the other chamber as “white nationalists” qualifies as “impugning the motives” and as “offensive language” and “unparliamentary.”
As offensive as these attacks are, if Democrats want to further risk losing even more seats when the 2022 midterm elections get underway, I encourage them to keep using this line of argument. Because few things in this country are more illustrative of an elected official’s character or lack thereof than viciously fanning the flames of racism against your political opposition as a form of childish, unstatesmanlike pouting – and for no other reason than because you couldn’t get what you wanted.