Rep. Ro Khanna wins high praise from the
progressive “The Nation” magazine.

Since even before his election to Congress and swearing-in last January, Rep. Ro Khanna has tried to burnish an exemplary progressive image. Progressives in his own congressional district were skeptical, and for good reason. Khanna sought to unseat a perfectly good progressive in Mike Honda and he did it with millions in campaign contributions from Silicon Valley leaders, moderates and even conservatives.

Should the doubters hold their tongue after a year of steadfast left wing ideology proffered by Khanna? In fact, the bible of progressive thought, The Nation, says yes. John Nichols, writing in this week’s The Nation, named Khanna its “Most Valuable House Newcomer.”

“Capitol Hill’s steadiest champion of congressional oversight on war-making, Representative Barbara Lee always needs allies. She got a great one when Khanna arrived in January,” wrote Nichols.

In relation to Lee, who is best known for her lone opposition in 2001 for giving President George W. Bush unfettered ability to raise war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Nichols heaped praise on Khanna for his role in highlighting the U.S. military’s coordination with Saudi soldiers fighting in Yemen.

“That was a small step,” wrote Nichols. “But with support growing for Lee’s effort to overturn the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which has served as an excuse for military adventurism, Khanna says the Yemen vote signals that the project of ‘re-orienting our foreign policy away from our Saudi alliance and away from neocon/neoliberal interventionism’ is finally beginning.”

The connection between Lee and Khanna and its potential to deliver a potent progressive one-two punch from the East Bay is something to watch in the coming year.