How Do You Solve a Problem Like Rashida?

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Upon her accession to the U.S. House of Representatives last fall, practically the first words out of Rashida Tlaib’s mouth were: “We’re going to go in there and we’re going to impeach the motherf—er.” The object of the freshman Michigan Democrat’s derision was, of course, President Trump. This sentiment naturally got whoops and cheers from the guests at a MoveOn.org reception, who were there to celebrate the election of the Muslima from Dearbornistan, one of two female followers of Mohammed—the other is Ilhan Omar—now occupying chairs in the Capitol.

The triumphalism was multi-layered: not only had the Democrats—thanks, Paul Ryan!—retaken the House by both hook (free stuff for everybody except old toxic-male white guys, served up piping hot by the media) and crook (ballot harvesting in California that delivered once solidly Republican Orange County over to the Democrats) but, in the guise of “diversity,” they had also put two more co-religionists of the 9/11 hijackers into the Congress. Tlaib and Omar have wasted no time in getting to work against American norms and the republic itself.

Omar, born in Mogadishu, has been getting most of the attention lately; her unfiltered mouth can’t help but spout anti-Semitic drivel, and a recent attempt by a flailing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to rein her via a resolution against Jew hatred wound up as a boilerplate denunciation of “bigotry”—thus handing Omar a propaganda victory. As Britain’s hard-left Guardian put it in a headline: “Everyone’s against bigotry, right? Not 23 House Republicans, apparently.” Well played.

But Tlaib may be the more dangerous of the pair, cannily redoubling efforts to blame some (Jewish) Democrats’ antipathy to Omar’s casual slurs on . . . you guessed it: “I think Islamophobia is very much among the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party. And I know that’s hard for people to hear, but there’s only been four members of Congress that are of Muslim faith. Three of them currently serve in this institution. More of us need to get elected, but more of us need to understand as we come into this institution that I have a lot of work to do with my colleagues.”

This is typical Muslim thinking, to always be the aggressor and yet simultaneously the victim as well. Tlaib comes by it naturally. Born in Detroit to Palestinian parents—her father is from Arab East Jerusalem, and apparently spent some time in Nicaragua before winding up in Michigan—Tlaib has been hailed by the Left as “the way forward,” as in this laudatory article in Politico from last summer:

The left—particularly the new-school, say-it-loud-and-say-it-proud democratic socialist left inspired by Bernie Sanders’ 2016 primary run—has a tendency toward maximalism. And it’s only natural: The progressive project, as both its subscribers and Fox News scaremongers alike would tell you, is revolutionary, seeking to fundamentally remake the relationship Americans have with their government and that the government has with the economy.

In Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, where the former Rep. John Conyers Jr. resigned the seat he’d held for more than a half-century after facing allegations of sexual misconduct, another Sanders-backed candidate scored a primary victory that might prove more ultimately instructive: Rashida Tlaib, a former state legislator who ran on a platform of “Medicare for All,” a $15 minimum wage and tuition-free college.

For years, Democrats have struggled with a top-down, executive-focused approach to electoral politics that has left them with their smallest representation in Congress since the Truman administration—and now, thanks to Donald Trump, no White House to protect them . . . . Tlaib, on the other hand, represents the most logical path for the left to claim its seat at the table, both within the Democratic Party and in national politics: a candidate unabashed in her progressivism, politically skilled enough to implement it, and, most importantly, savvy enough to identify a constituency ready for her brand of unapologetic socialist politics.

Aye, there’s the rub—or rather the nub. With an own-goal assist from the Bush Administration (“Islam means peace”), the Left quickly forged an alliance of convenience with the more respectable elements of Islamic activists in the West, in order to attack their common enemy, Western civilization. Tlaib is unabashed in her defense of “progressive” socialism while at the same time wearing her faith loudly and with a chip on her shoulder.

“We always said the Muslims are coming,” she told an audience from the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Chicago. “We’re not only everywhere in all kinds of different governments but, mashallah, we’re in the United States Congress. And it was after this president, not once, twice but three times issued a Muslim ban against our community.”

So it wasn’t surprising that Tlaib immediately led the calls for the president’s impeachment and has continued her agitation. Last week, she warned she and others are preparing an impeachment resolution in the House. For what, you ask? “We cannot allow the pay-to-play to continue. We cannot allow the direct violation of the Emoluments Clause. Anybody else would already be in impeachment proceedings.”

Might as well throw in the Logan Act, spitting on the sidewalk, and picking your feet in Poughkeepsie while we’re at it. It doesn’t matter. For Tlaib as a radical, Trump is an affront to every discredited idea she holds; for her as a Muslim, it’s personal.

Although the old-folks’ home known as the Democratic “leadership” has sought to downplay the likelihood of impeachment, it’s more likely that Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are simply playing good cop to the Omar-Tlaib axis of bad cop. Pelosi has to walk a tightrope between hanging on to her own power and accommodating the infantile demands of her instantly restive kiddie corps of radicals without losing the 2020 election in a landslide of revulsion.

Count on a sympathetic media to cover for the young turkettes:

Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were hailed as symbols of diversity when they were sworn in last month as the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, Ms. Tlaib in her mother’s hand-embroidered Palestinian thobe, Ms. Omar in a tradition-shattering hijab.

Four weeks later, their uncompromising views on Israel have made them perhaps the most embattled new members of the Democratic House majority. Almost daily, Republicans brashly accuse Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar of anti-Semitism and bigotry, hoping to make them the Democrats’ version of Representative Steve King as they try to tar the entire Democratic Party with their criticism of the Jewish state.

The tussle over Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar has exposed a growing generational divide within the Democratic Party, pitting an old guard of stalwart supporters of Israel against an ascendant wing of young liberals—including many young Jews—willing to accuse the Israeli government of human rights abuses and demanding movement toward a Palestinian state.

For the Democratic Party, where most Jews have long made their political home, the risks are clear . . .

That was written a month and a half ago. Today, it’s abundantly clear where Tlaib’s sympathies lie, and they’re not with the Jews. Nor are they with traditional American values, although in the Muslim tradition of taqiyya they’re cloaked in benign appeals to the usual suspects: diversity, tolerance, religious freedom, and fairness.

And then recall that in her first public statement she wants to “impeach the mofo.” That tells you all you need to know about her.

Right now, she’s the Democrats’ problem. As Henry Kissinger famously said about the Iran-Iraq War, “it’s a pity they both can’t lose.” Left unchecked and unopposed, however, soon enough she’ll be our problem. And then where are we?

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About Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time Magazine, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction), and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. A sequel, The Fiery Angel, was published by Encounter in May 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules (Photo credit: Peter Duke Photo)