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The Democratic Party is the party of the four S’s: slavery, secession, segregation and socialism (Quote By Author Michael Scheuer).
Don’t exaggerate the significance of raucous chants.
The president can be very entertaining, but I don’t pay
much attention to political rallies, including his famously raucous ones.
For the faithful, the rallies are fun spectacles, like
rock concerts or ball games.
I don’t think they can be taken too seriously,
except perhaps as a gauge of the president’s support. Not in lieu of polls, but
in conjunction. And with healthy skepticism: The polls have a history of
undercounting Trump supporters, but the ardor of the Trump base on display at
the rallies should not be confounded with national enthusiasm for the Trump
presidency — though it may signal more openness to it, especially in light of
the increasingly radical alternative.
Which brings us to Wednesday night’s Trump rally in
Greenville, N.C., and the ginned-up crowd of Trump fans chanting “Send her
back!” That was in reference to Ilhan Omar, who is a naturalized
American from Somalia, a radical at the crowded junction between Islamists and
leftists, and a member of Congress from Minnesota’s fifth district — the
deep-blue Twin Cities area that teems with Millennials and Somali immigrants.
All good populist demagoguery needs a villain. President
Trump hardly has the market cornered on this. Both Barack Obama and Hillary
Clinton studied Alinskyite community organizing. The organizer, a self-styled
renegade against The Establishment, is instructed to avoid abstractions when
picking an opposition target. You’ve got to make it personal, to polarize the
adversary in stark terms. Trump’s persona is to hit back harder than he is hit.
No surprise, then, that he is a practitioner of this demagogic art, since he is
also the Left’s No. 1 target.
Most Republican villains the Left selects (the Bushes,
Mitt Romney . . .) respond by trying to prove they’re not really villains. This
is a futile strategy.
The demagogues making the accusation already know it’s
not true. They do it because it always works. Or at least it used to. It’s
different with the president, who is from the Leo Durocher School: “I come to
play. I come to beat you. I come to kill you!” Trump vexes the Left because he
revels in the mud wrestle. Sure, he craves admiration, but he wants to win
more, and he doesn’t in the slightest mind winning ugly. In that the Left must
see a lot of itself, but that doesn’t mean it has figured out an effective
At the 2016 rallies it was “Lock her up!” because Mrs.
Clinton was the obvious target. To be sure, there is no shortage of Clinton
antagonists who would like to see her in the dock. But that wasn’t what the
chant was about. The point was the political narrative: Hit the villain where
she is most vulnerable — on corruption, where the Left cannot defend her.
Now, for the moment (i.e., while Trump’s 2020 opponent
has yet to be chosen), the villain is the “Squad,” comprising Representative
Omar and three other backbench Democratic congresswomen.
It is a different dynamic from 2016. Clinton, a
Washington overlord, was withered by Trump’s onslaught. For the Squad, the
combat is symbiotic. There is as much personal political advantage for the
radical upstarts in being perceived as the president’s chief antagonists as for
the president in branding them as such. The loser in the triangulized equation
is the Democratic party of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. That, for what it’s
worth, is why I can’t see Biden, another relic, emerging as the nominee.
Of the Squad members, Omar is the most vulnerable. She’d
like you to believe the resentment of her is racist, misogynist, nativist, and
Islamophobic: She’s a black African woman, an immigrant, and a Muslim.
Interestingly, though, my friend Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a black African woman, an
immigrant, and a former Muslim (who nonetheless advocates Islamic reform), is
one of the most revered figures on the political right. (Incidentally, Ayaan
had some excellent advice for Representative Omar this week,
would that she’d take it.)
Race and womanhood have nothing to do with Omar’s
problems. Women are a majority of the population and, for years, they have been voting at higher rates than men.
African-American women, such as Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, are among the
most popular figures not only on the political left but in the nation.
As for Islam, this issue is not that Omar is merely a
Muslim. It is that she is an Islamist fellow traveler. Despite Washington’s
best efforts, Americans grasp the difference between (a) Islam as a personal
religious affiliation and (b) sharia supremacism as an anti-Western political
ideology. They don’t see Omar as simply a Muslim. They see someone who is
hard-wired to blame the United States for jihadist terrorism. They see someone
who is steeped in anti-Semitism, and indistinguishable from her Muslim Brotherhood
friends in hostility to Israel’s existence.
Finally, unlike her Squad mates, Omar has potential legal
problems. There are grounds to believe she may have committed marriage fraud
with her brother from 2009 through 2017. And this is no gut-wrenching story
about a family struggling to shield children from the horrors of war in their
native land: At the time of the marriage, Omar was a 26-year-old American
citizen who had been in the U.S. for 17 years; the man alleged to be her
brother was a young adult living in London, not Mogadishu.
In 2002, Omar married Ahmed Hirsi, her true and current
husband. It was a Muslim wedding ceremony, not a formal legal marriage; but it
was quite real: They have three children, and there are indications that they
continued to live together even after 2008, when Omar says she and Hirsi
divorced in accordance with Islamic law. In 2009, Omar formally married a man
named Ahmed Nur Said Elmi — “formally” in the sense that a state marriage
license was issued.
There is considerable evidence that Elmi is Omar’s brother.
For example, the Ahmed Nur Said Elmi whom Omar married shares a
birthday with a man by the same name who attended a Minnesota high school in
2003. At the time, he lived with a man named Nur Said Elmi Mohamed, whom both
Elmi and Omar have identified as their father. There are also indications that
Omar, Hirsi, and Elmi all lived together for a time.
Omar has summarily dismissed the claim that she married
her brother as “absurd and offensive,” but she otherwise refuses to address it
and has frantically purged old social-media posts and other documentation.
Meanwhile, she filed joint tax returns with Hirsi while she was formally
married to Elmi. In 2017, she formally divorced Elmi; subsequently, she
formally married Hirsi.
At this point, nothing has been proved. If there was a
sham marriage for immigration purposes, however, that would be just one of many
issues. Potentially, there would also be tax fraud, commercial fraud, and
various state and federal false statements to sort out.
Until recently, Omar was merely a Minnesota sensation.
The media-Democrat complex has helped her stonewall the investigative diligence
of journalists David Steinberg, Preya Samsundar, and Scott Johnson. (See Scott’s Power Line post and the links
Now, however, the Squad is a national hit — so much so that Omar
figures she’s ready to go toe-to-toe with Trump. The president, in his
inimitable way, responded by going right for the jugular: Gee, there’s “a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to
her brother. I know nothing about it. I hear she was married to her brother . .
Welcome to the show, Congresswoman.
The president thrives on this stuff. His supporters may
chant send her back! He’s happy to have her front and center
Of course, there has been no shortage of outrage about
the chanting, which was so deplorable, as it were, that Trump himself disavowed
it the next day — even if he didn’t seem too upset while it was happening.
Sorry to say, I can’t get too whipped up about it.
Yes, Representative Omar is
a naturalized American. As a matter of law, she’s just as much an American
citizen as any one of us born in this country. The suggestion that the
government should send her back to her native Somalia — because she is “the Other,”
because she has the temerity to criticize the president — is obscene. I get all
But . . . are we really taking this seriously?
In a column earlier this week, I observed that the
president’s tweets suggesting that Squad members should go back home to their
native countries were not racist; but they were factually ignorant, politically
dumb, and all in all beneath the presidency. After all, three of the Squad are
native Americans; the fourth, Omar, is a naturalized American who left Somalia
when she was six years old and has been here since she was ten. America is the
only home the four congresswomen have even known.
Yet, because they habitually
run America down, the president could not resist the urge to rail that, if they
really believed it was so bad, they should leave of their own volition.
Yes . . . but he never suggested that the government could
or should send them away. No one believes that.
“If it were up to me, I would put in jail every
sandal-wearing, scruffy-beard weirdo who burns the American flag.” I don’t know
if you could quite fit that into a rally chant, but it is a memorable bit of
reactionary sentiment from Justice Antonin Scalia.
Shortly before he died, the
great jurist was explaining why he voted against the criminalization
of flag-burning (in the Supreme Court’s controversial 1989 ruling in Texas
v. Johnson). With characteristic pith, he was illustrating something
that ought to be patent: We often express passionately our most visceral
feelings; but we do not act on these outbursts in actually lived life.
When we get down to brass tacks, principles, laws, and
norms are honored.
We have those guardrails precisely because we’re human,
prone to error and excess, prone to let our id out for a night at the rally
hall. We cannot help what we think in a gut sense, and liberty means being free
to voice those thoughts, even when good judgment would counsel against it. But
when we get back to reality, common sense and law take over.
We might say “Kill the umpire,” but we don’t actually
want the umpire killed. We shouldn’t need to explain that because everyone
understands it. The exercise of our right to scream “Kill the umpire” does not
create a clear and present danger to umpires.
For 60 years I’ve heard crowds
say nutty things at carnival-type venues; on the other hand, I’ve also
prosecuted people for inciting terrorist attacks against the United States.
There is a palpable difference between provocative expression and incitement to
violence, one that is not hard for sensible people to discern, even if great
legal minds have struggled to articulate it precisely.
You want to condemn rambunctious chants? Knock yourself
out. But let’s not exaggerate their significance. No one is going to make Ilhan
Omar stop spouting her bile as long as she refrains from urging violence.
can probably also survive a little “send her back!” without the
The above two links only go back to 2001 through 2017, but
FDR was retroactively insinuating that Calvin Coolidge was a Nazi in 1944, and
Walter Cronkite was doing the same to Barry Goldwater 20 years later.