Rashida Tlaib, unpleasant as she is, deserves to be taken seriously

Foul-mouthed, antisemitic Rashida Tlaib is the avatar of an incoming class of Leftist congresswomen that needs to be taken seriously in the realm of ideas.

Leftists Rashida Tlaib CongressRashida Tlaib, the Palestinian-identifying woman who got herself elected to the American House of Representatives, gained instant notoriety when she excitedly announced that her single most important goal in Congress was to impeach President “Mother****er.” Then, one of her aides “jokingly” erased Israel from the map, renaming it “Palestine.”

While I don’t agree with her sentiments, I appreciate Tlaib’s honesty. At least she and her fellow freshman, women such as Ilhan “I married my brother” Omar, and Alexandria “Let’s turn America into Venezuela” Occasional-Cortex aren’t hiding the ball — which separates them from more seasoned, and dishonest, Leftist political operatives. They are openly letting American voters know what comes with electing them.

The Left is gloating about the attention conservatives are giving these women, which indicates that they think this attention does the women and their ideas an advantage. My instinct, therefore, is to ignore them, on the principle that this will deny them that advantage. After all, in politics, isn’t the saying that (unless you’re actually indicted) there’s no such thing as bad publicity? I’ve also seen conservative arguments that we shouldn’t be paying attention to Tlaib and her ilk because we’re giving them unnecessary oxygen.

Having thought the matter through, though, I’ve concluded that ignoring these women (and the Leftist men trailing mostly silently in their wake) is a mistake. What we’re currently doing, especially with Occasional-Cortex, is focusing solely on the abysmal ignorance that characterizes this new generation of Leftist politicians. That’s valid. They deserve to be called out on stupidity, and ridicule is a powerful weapon.

However, where we err is that not enough of us are challenging their ideas head-on. Even if we could ridicule Tlaib, Omar, Occasional-Cortex, and their fellow travelers into oblivion, their ideas are still out there. Moreover, even though Trump has proven incredibly effective at advancing his agenda — and doing so despite 98% negative coverage that focuses on every verbal slip, rather than on substantive achievements — he’s not one for arguing complex issues. I would love to see Trump give a speech directly attacking socialism, standing up for the rule of law, or explaining why our ally, Israel (which is the only open, pluralist society in the Middle East), does not deserve to be treated like a pariah nation across the Western world . . . but he’s not going to do it.

Andrew Klavan gets that there’s a problem with ignoring these women or limiting ourselves to attacking their outstanding moments of stupidity or crudeness:

AOC, a declared Socialist, is not just a dangerous ignoramus. At 29, the new congresswoman from Queens is a dangerous ignoramus who, in many ways, exemplifies her generation. She is confident and attractive. She radiates an endearing vitality and passion. And virtually everything she says and believes is either immoral or untrue.

If the steady stream of BS that poured out of her pretty face were just a matter of dishonesty, I would chalk it up to normal politics.


Still, the fact that AOC lies is not what bothers me. I wouldn’t get much rest if I worried about politicians lying.

But there’s also the fact that her entire philosophy is based on an apparently bottomless ignorance about economics, history and America’s founding laws and values. When she talks about single-payer health care lowering costs, she speaks as if the money you earn is part of some big pot she gets to redistribute — and yet it never occurs to her to wonder whether the Constitution actually grants her that redistributive power. She denigrates Capitalism without apparent awareness of the fact that Capitalism and property rights have virtually eradicated extreme poverty worldwide just since the 1980’s.


But again, if simple stupidity were a crime in a congresswoman, our prisons would be full of them. The problem is that she — like many of her generation — is attractive, vibrant, likable and a moral idiot. That’s what makes her a potential danger to the nation over the long run.


Every time AOC dances delightfully over a rooftop or “slays a lewk” or speaks with the poignant idealism of youth, I feel she is telling me the same thing: “Socialism is the way my generation does it!”

Klavan is right that these women are the voice of their generation, a thought that should terrify us all. Worse, within the halls of Congress, these women are the thin edge of the wedge. They may be completely uneducated despite or, rather, because of their college degrees; they may be vulgar; and they may be liars — but we also have good evidence that they’re charming and clever in the ways of today’s media outreach. Alex VanNess has an excellent thread about both how awful Tlaib is – and how dangerous:

Let me repeat that final tweet:

As a freshman congresswoman Rashida Tlaib does not have much influence. Her bills will likely die before they hit the hopper.

However, she’ll have years to join caucuses & make friends, where she will slowly shift her party’s antisemitism further into mainstream acceptability.

I think the best internet expression to describe the above two paragraphs is “nailed it.”

Keep in mind that Tlaib, Omar, Occasional-Cortex and other incoming Leftist freshman aren’t the ultimate weapons. They’re not going to force our government to turn Left overnight.

The best analogy I can think of to describe what these new congress critters are is one of those urban legends about a woman who vacations in the tropics. While there, she gets what seems like an innocuous bug bite. However, as the days go by, the bite swells like crazy, becoming increasingly ugly and ominous. As soon as she returns home, the woman goes to the doctor. The doctor, thinking it’s an ordinary infection, lances it, only to have thousands of baby spiders pour out.

Tlaib, Omar, Occasional-Cortex, and all these other rising young Leftist (hard Leftist) political stars are the biting spiders. Unless we immediately address the poison or eggs they’re planting in the American body politic, much worse is to come.

We cannot just ridicule them for dancing or swearing or making stupid and ignorant statements. Instead, we must relentlessly challenge the substantive ideas they advance. That is a responsibility every one of us bears.

It’s therefore time for us to start selling our ideas – core conservative ideas – to the American people. And whether we’re on social media, at a party, in the office, or standing in line at the grocery store, it’s probably better to sell those idea through charm and humor, as opposed to insults and anger. After all, even if there’s a foul-mouth Leftist opposite you, there are probably other people watching and you want them to find you, not the Leftist, impressive.