(Feb. 14) The old joke is that many conservatives are just former liberals mugged by reality. It got a new twist this month when a liberal congresswoman was mugged in her own apartment building elevator and suddenly started talking tough on crime.

The real story, however, is no laughing matter. Let’s hasten to express relief that Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) escaped without major injuries when assaulted last week and to commiserate with her for the fright and the (mild) injuries she did receive. A lawmaker’s bad policy judgments are no reason to take delight in her distress.

Still, it is instructive to note the sudden change in tone from Craig, who represents a closely contested district near Minneapolis. She has a mixed record on criminal justice. She personally opposed a Minneapolis ballot initiative to eliminate the city’s police department, and she has supported federal bills to provide money to local police forces.

On the other hand, Craig supported the so-called George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which even reformist Republicans said went way too far in hampering police from enforcing laws against violent suspects. She was quick to blame Floyd’s tragic death-by-police incident on “systemic racism,” not the guilty officer whose lengthy record of civilian complaints went unaddressed because of his police union.

Craig also attended a California fundraiser for a leftist group that advocates defunding police, and she kept her district director on staff for two years after the staffer publicly supported such defunding movements while tweeting “Burn. It. All. Down.,” and other incendiary statements.

That’s why, in the wake of being assaulted, it was interesting to hear her say today on CBS Mornings that “ we have to get these repeat offenders off the street ” and elaborate on that sentiment at length. She is correct, and it’s long past time for Democrats to relearn this…. [For Louisiana readers, a later part of this column mentions both former U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston and former state Rep. Ron Faucheux, two great New Orleanians. The full column is available at this link.]


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