Back in July, after Rep. Joe Crowley lost his primary to socialist upstart Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, longtime California Rep. Barbara Lee—one of the few genuinely good people to ever serve in Congress—announced she would run to replace Crowley as House Democratic caucus chair, the fourth-highest ranking position in the party leadership. Today, Lee narrowly lost to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a guy who loves charter schools.
What the fuck.
Lee went down in a 123-113 vote. This comes just two years after Lee lost her election for vice chair of the caucus by two votes, to fellow California Rep. Linda Sanchez. Reports from the vote indicate that Jeffries won in part because he made the case that he’ll bring youth to the leadership, which is currently only comprised of people in their 70s. Jeffries is 48; Lee is 72.
Lee, who was the only member in all of Congress to vote against the bill giving George W. Bush unlimited war powers after 9/11, would have been the first black woman to serve on the congressional leadership team of either party.
Almost immediately, progressive Democrats began spinning this as a win even though the obviously worse candidate won, painting Jeffries (who only announced he was running for this job a few weeks ago, the same day Sanchez dropped out of the running) as solidly on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. This has no basis in reality. Jeffries was long rumored to be considering a primary challenge against New York Mayor Bill de Blasio from the right, in part because de Blasio apparently didn’t love charter schools enough.
For a more accurate picture of what Jeffries believes, check out this glowing Economist description of him from September:
Mr Jeffries is not a member of the moderate New Democrats faction, but he often sounds as if he should be. He is a fan of charter schools and fiscal rectitude. Though he supports the principle of universal health-care coverage, he speaks of “the importance of market forces and getting things done in a responsible fashion”. Quoting Ronald Reagan approvingly, he suggests this means promoting a flourishing private sector outside the “legitimate functions” of government. The eternal quest to strike the right balance between the two “is the American dream”, he muses.
Or his campaign finance records:
Or what he’s been saying about the left over the past several years:
Yep, sounds like someone who’s fully prepared to take on a Republican president next year, which will be 1991. Sound familiar?