Sarah Jones makes a strong point: Has Rep. Ilhan Omar been making some actual sense?
We can't offer a view on that. Last Wednesday, Kevin Drum cut Omar some provisional slack regarding the recent comments for which she's drawn a world of hurt.
Then, Rep. Omar piped up again. New York magazine's Sarah Jones offers a brief description:
JONES (3/8/19): Whatever you think of Ilhan Omar, you have to admit she’s fearless. In an interview with Politico’s Tim Alberta, the freshman Democratic representative from Minnesota criticized the insufficiencies of Barack Obama’s “hope and change,” pointing to the former president’s “caging of kids” at the border and his “droning of countries around the world” as proof. “We can’t be only upset with Trump,” she said. “His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was. And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.”Does it make sense to describe Obama's "droning of countries around the world" as involving acts of "murder?" That's a question you won't see debated on anti-Trump cable news channels, which now devote virtually all their time to the "true crime" thrill of The Chase.
It’s one of the bolder criticisms a Democrat has leveled at Obama, and it’s even more remarkable considering the source...
In truth, you'll see almost nothing discussed on those channels unless it connects to the thrill of The Chase. Public schools? Health care spending? Topics like these don't exist.
Do Rep. Omar's new claims make sense? We don't know, but it's worth considering a possible reason for her pungent remarks.
Jones has been a valuable "progressive"-leaning addition to the American press corps. In this passage, she authors a potent speculation:
JONES: A critical re-examination of Obama’s record is inevitable; in fact, it’s probably overdue. Omar’s latest point, about the darker aspects of his presidency, should be uncontroversial. The congresswoman taped her own interview with Politico, and though the recording she released after the publication of the piece doesn’t substantively change her quotes, it does capture her saying “that what is happening now is very different,” a clear distinction between the Obama and Trump presidencies. Nor did she conflate the Democratic Party, categorically, with the GOP...Instead, she accurately pointed out that Obama authorized drone strikes overseas and detained unaccompanied minors at the border in chain-link cages, and that these policies that did not provoke a proportional amount of outrage from Democrats because of Obama’s personal charisma...Put aside, for now, the question of whether Omar's statements about those drone strikes make sense. Instead, consider the possible reason why she's the one speaking up.
Omar is a Somali-American and a former refugee. The most recent Democratic president’s Middle East and immigration policies are probably of more immediate and personal interest to her than they are to many of her colleagues. Despite professing to be the party more sympathetic to her concerns, the Democratic Party has failed individuals like her in certain specific ways.
"Omar is a Somali-American and a former refugee," Jones says, stating the obvious. Then comes the important speculation about the possible reason for Omar's remarks concerning the drone strikes:
Rep. Omar is a Somali-American and a former refugee! For these reasons, it may be that she actually cares, in a personal way, about drone-related deaths overseas, in a world where not everyone does.
Truth to tell, our public discourse is characterized by a great deal of tribal posing and a startling lack of real concern about a range of matters. Does anyone actually care about low-income American kids? About the looting of the public through our astonishing health care costs? About the deaths of innocents overseas?
Concerning the third item on that list, it's possible that Omar cares in a way no one else does. Consider a similar matter:
Way back in October 1999, did Mary McGrory care about our ridiculous health care system when she devoted two columns about the initial Gore-Bradley debate to mocking remarks about Candidate Gore's funny clothes?
The debate had focused on health care issues; McGrory focused on Gore's hilarious wardrobe. Did McGrory give a flying fig about the uninsured?
We reported in real time. You've had twenty years to decide.