Finally, after all these years, there's an honest Democrat in Washington, D.C. Two of them, actually, who live up to Cicero's admonition: "If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it."
Freshmen Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York spoiled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's big week by simply telling the truth about their party's plans for President Donald Trump and taxes. Democratic leaders, desperate to hide what's inside, grimaced, but the truth of what drives Democrats emerged nonetheless.
The truth has a funny way of doing that.
Let's start with Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old liberal phenom who unceremoniously dumped a member of her party’s old guard in a primary before winning in November. She told the truth about her plans for raising taxes: "You look at our tax rates back in the ’60s, and when you have a progressive tax-rate system … sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent,” she told Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes Sunday night.
Her idea is to massively raise taxes to pay for a "Green New Deal" to completely eliminate the use of fossil fuels in 12 years. Ocasio-Cortez compared her idea to Abraham Lincoln's signing the Emancipation Proclamation. "If that’s what radical means, call me a radical," Ocasio-Cortez said.
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That's a new deal I can live with — a Democrat who unapologetically tells you how liberal she is and fully acknowledges the fringe nature of her platform. If Democrats want to run a campaign for massive tax increases ahead of the 2020 elections, preach on.
On their plans for public service
Tlaib's moment of honesty came as she rallied a crowd of supporters Thursday night, recounting a conversation she had with her 13-year-old son about her plans for public service.
“When your son looks at you and says, ‘Momma look, you won, bullies don’t win,’ and I said, ‘Baby they don’t, because we’re going to go in there and we’re gonna impeach the mother-----r,' ” Tlaib screeched into the microphone, as her enraptured fans lost their minds in applause and euphoria.
I was probably the lone Republican to support Tlaib's speech. Not because I think Democrats should impeach the president, but because I support honesty in politics. And when a brave soul like Tlaib rises to articulate precisely what motivates her base, I say amen!
Consider the facts: Nearly 80 percent of Democrats told exit pollsters following the midterm elections that they wanted impeachment proceedings immediately, and more than 6.5 million Democrats have signed a petition to impeach Trump. If you hear a Democrat telling you that his party isn’t bloodthirsty for impeachment, that this is all some fictional distraction conjured by Republicans, he's straight up lying to you.
Old guard House Democrats such as Elijah Cummings immediately distanced themselves from Tlaib’s comments because they know her position is politically damaging. Their feigning distaste for what Tlaib said, though, is one of the biggest cons in American politics: A vast majority of Democrats desperately want to impeach Trump, and yet Democratic Party leaders are willing to lie about it.
For her part, Ocasio-Cortez took up for Tlaib. "I got your back @RashidaTlaib — the Bronx and Detroit ride together," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. Something tells me there's already a war room set up in Pelosi's office to track and respond to these two truth-tellers.
The energy on the American left is behind higher taxes and impeachment, and now Pelosi must decide whether to embrace where her party really wants to go, or risk internal turbulence from her progressive flank. This sets up an interesting dynamic for Democratic leaders who clearly know that following these radical freshman Democrats into the fever swamps of the American left will be hyperdamaging in the 2020 election.
Exacerbating all of this is the onset of the Democratic presidential primary. I'd wager large sums that a high percentage of people who ventured out to see Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Iowa over the weekend have signed that petition for impeachment and would gladly applaud any and all tax increases put in front of them.
If Pelosi was hoping for her partisans to calm down following a record midterm turnout, she's going to be disappointed. Warren and other presidential aspirants will be drawing big crowds that drive huge news coverage, and they are going to be carrying messages that sound more like Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib than some establishment party leader in Washington.
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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib are honest Democrats. And their party can't stand it.