Obama feels heat from lefties angered by his ‘defund’ comments
Last month, Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted a tweet of her shooting daggers at Sen. Joe Manchin, a fellow Democrat from West Virginia, after he denounced his party’s pursuit of a “crazy, socialist agenda,” and more specifically the “defund the police” movement.
Now, AOC might need to crank up her glare machine again.
That’s because former President Barack Obama also has suggested that Democrats talking about defunding cops amid rising violence in many major cities is a stupid idea.
Obama made the comments in an interview with Vanity Fair.
Responding to a question by reporter Peter Hamby about what advice he’d give to young activists, America’s 44th president likened politics to marketing athletic shoes or music: know your audience.
“If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like Defund the Police, but, you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” Obama replied. “But if you instead say, Hey, you know what? Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s being treated fairly. … You know, suddenly a whole bunch of folks who might not otherwise listen to you are listening to you.”
“So the key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?” he added. “And if you want to get something done in a democracy, in a country as big and diverse as ours, then you’ve got to be able to meet people where they are. And play a game of addition and not subtraction.”
Radicals in his own party pounced.
Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, a member of AOC’s “Squad,” tweeted, “We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety.”
We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020
Another Squad member, Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, replied on Twitter, “The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific. Lives are at stake daily so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists. Whatever a grieving family says is their truth. And I’ll never stop fighting for their justice & healing.”
Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter activist from Missouri who won a seat in Congress las month, tweeted, “With all due respect, Mr. President – let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence. It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police.”
But Obama’s comments were not lost on all liberals. Some applauded the former chief executive for recognizing the obvious.
In response to Omar, one Twitter user shot back, “The point is that the messaging f—ing sucks. I wish progressives would realize that. You have to compromise whether you like it or not. Don’t poison the well with oversimplified tag lines that require a s–t ton of context.”