News & Politics

Twilight Zone: Has Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Realized That Antifa Violence Is Bad?

AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File

Antifa opened up 2021 the same way it spend much of 2020: violently rioting and causing mayhem and damage in Portland. My colleague Rick Moran reported the details, including the fact that there were no arrests.

Perhaps Portland’s New Year’s Day riot finally pushed him over the edge. Wheeler delivered surprising remarks Friday indicating that the glimmer of a clue may have at last flickered to life in his head.

“My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn, from radical antifa and anarchists,” Wheeler said.

He’s earned scorn from the rioters, who know he’s weak, and from everyone else who knows he’s destructively clueless and weak. Whether his efforts were ever in “good faith” is questionable.

Wheeler continued:

In response, it will be necessary to use additional tools and to push the limits of the tools we already have, to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end. Lawlessness and anarchy come at great expense, and at great risk to the future of our community. It’s time to push back harder against those who are set on destroying our community, and to take more risks in fighting lawlessness. In closing, once again, I condemn anyone who engages in violence or criminal destruction no matter what their ideology.

If Wheeler means that, he has finally arrived at what’s called the “rule of law.” He has abrogated the rule of law for the second half of 2020, allowing violent rioters to destroy Portland without resistance expressly because they are on the left and he largely agrees with their “social justice” politics. Wheeler is also wrong, and ominously so, about having to “push the limits” of the tools available to law enforcement to stop the rioting. He need not become a neo-authoritarian. He has to empower police to arrest rioters for the crimes they openly commit, and then Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has to actually prosecute them. Both are well within the scope of ordinary law enforcement. But on Wheeler’s watch, the police have been defunded and held back, and when they do arrest rioters, the Soros-funded Schmidt refuses to prosecute them.

In Oregon, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt released data Wednesday showing that more than 540 cases related to “mass demonstrations” have been dismissed since May “in the interest of justice.”

Multnomah County includes Portland, which has been rocked by unrest for more than four months. Schmidt, elected in May, announced upon assuming office in August that he would be lenient in “protest-related cases.”

And here we are. This has created an air of anarchy in Portland that manifested in the “red house” mess and the New Year’s riot, and the 100 straight days of rioting that have rendered Portland an apocalyptic embarrassment reminiscent of a dystopian video game.

Mayor Ted Wheeler has spent 2020 in the Worst Mayor Playoffs alongside NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. They’re all worthy competitors. Wheeler holds the distinction of being the only mayor to have marched with antifa, then was later driven from his home by antifa. Even then he refused to stop antifa riots for months. That’s a tough record to beat, but all the competitors have shown that they belong in the hunt.

All four are Democrats.

Durkan has been quiet lately, after announcing she will not seek another term. Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s nation-leading defunding of the city police and his attempt to shut down New Year’s dining across the city kept him in serious contention. He lost the latter at the Texas Supreme Court, though, amounting to a turnover at the goal line. Adler is also looking increasingly likely to lose control of APD to the state once the legislature has a crack at him.

Wheeler went into the playoffs as the number one seed, but de Blasio’s Times Square dance party put serious points on the board.

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