Rep. Barbara Lee’s popularity is unquestioned in her district. But, the National Review offered a stern reminder that the East Bay’s brand of progressivism is very much like a small echo chamber amid more moderate ideologies across the nation. We tend to forget admiration for Lee on the right is non-existent.
If Lee is ever offered the ambassadorship, and she accepts, here is a taste of the rhetoric Republican are sure to unleash against her.
Columnist John Fund, in the National Review, said Lee would be the “ambassador of disaster” if appointed to the diplomatic post in Cuba.
The conservative commentator wrote beltway insiders on both sides of the aisle cringed at the Lee rumor and sprung to action.
Within hours of Lee’s name being floated, dossiers on her record were delivered to the State Department and White House by Congressional colleagues of both parties. “There was some concern it could happen,” one Senate staffer told me. “After all, Obama appointed Lee in 2013 to be a U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly.” Luckily, Lee got the drift and issued a statement yesterday that she will stay in Congress to fight for better relations with Cuba. One source told the Chronicle that restoring ties to Cuba has been Lee’s “life work.”
And then the boogeyman was released:
She was involved with the Black Panthers and twice visited Panther leader Huey Newton when he was in exile in Cuba. “I was known as ‘Comrade Barbara’ at the time,” she notes in her autobiography. At age 33, the then-social worker joined the staff of Ron Dellums, the radical Congressman from Berkeley. She rose to become his chief of staff.
Numerous references to Lee being a Marxist and interfering with the 1982 invasion of Grenada follow.
|Daily Kos for CA-13?|
Meanwhile, the founder of the popular progressive blog Daily Kos says he would be interested in running for Rep. Barbara Lee’s seat, if and when she leaves office. Markos Moulitsas lives in Berkeley and his progressive cred fits nicely with the majority of voters in the 13th Congressional District.
Moulitsas told The New York Times he hopes Lee continues to serve as his congresswoman. “That said, my goal in life is to promote progressive values and policies…How I accomplish that goal is always changing, and it will keep changing in large part based on the opportunities before me.”
Earlier in the week, there were reports and then denials by Lee that she was eyeing an appointment to become ambassador to Cuba, if such a position is made available before the end of President Obama’s term. She later said she will not “seek the nomination.”