Are the images of lawlessness and disorder pouring out of Portland, Ore., and the gun violence and crime waves overtaking New York and Chicago going to have a negative impact on the rising political fortunes of the left?
They might. Hence the effort to frame the deployment of federal law enforcement to Portland and elsewhere as the emergence of American “fascism.”
Let’s be clear here: There are federal law-enforcement agents “deployed” in every city in the United States, and feds tasked with the protection of federal buildings in those cities. Local and federal officers work together on task forces on a daily basis on matters that cross jurisdictional lines.
Only the most radical among us, from the far left to the far right, see a fundamental problem with this — and generally speaking, that’s because they believe law enforcement is itself inherently unjust.
Given that fact — and the fact that it’s usually liberals and leftists who demand federal intervention in local law-enforcement issues (especially those having to do with race) — we have every right to wonder at the good will of those who are suddenly embracing the glories of states’ rights.
One word suffices as explanation: Trump. If federal intervention in Portland and elsewhere can be successfully characterized by Trump’s enemies as some kind of neo-fascist gambit, the danger these images might pose to liberal hopes in November could be neutralized to some degree.
There’s no doubt that President Trump wants to use this civil decay in blue-governed Portland as a political weapon in his re-election effort. But could any president ignore seven weeks of street-level chaos in a city of 650,000, the country’s 26th largest? Would President Barack Obama have ignored it? Would President Bill Clinton have ignored it?
The primary mission of the federal officers in Portland is protecting federal assets. Recall that the worst event of Bill Clinton’s presidency was the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City by the domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh.
In the quarter-century since, and with 9/11 intervening, making sure that federal offices and federal property are unmolested by terrorists, foreign and domestic, has been a key responsibility. And we have all seen the footage of these Portland barbarians doing whatever they could to tear through the plywood to get at the glass windows to get inside the federal building to wreak havoc.
Barbarians is what they are. Lawless thugs. And yet their actions are apparently not worth criticizing, not when you can caricature the actions of federal law-enforcement officers as though they were “disappearing” enemies of the regime in Argentina in the 1980s.
There is a bizarre idea in the air that some awful crime against humanity was being committed because they were driving through the city in “unmarked vans” — as though it were somehow unsporting not to give the rioters sufficient notice with bright colors and clear lettering that they should run away.
Similarly, we were told, they were whisking people off the streets into vans and making off with them into the night — when in fact they were taking them into custody, reading them their rights, interrogating them and releasing them.
The gap between the sober reality — professionals trying to maintain order in the midst of psychotic madness — and the dystopian teen-lit fantasies promulgated by elite hysterics is startling.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, actually referred to federal agents as “stormtroopers.”
How dare she. How dare she.
It’s almost as though she and her ilk know what we’re all seeing might trigger such revulsion and fear among the great American middle that it could disrupt Joe Biden’s seemingly clear glide path to the White House. It’s unnerving to them, and they’re trying to change the plotline. And because they dominate the airwaves, their narrative is working in the short term.
But that same narrative might contain within it the seeds of their disappointment. Because if it prevails, and the forces of wanton destruction feel empowered to continue, watch out.
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