Douglas Andrews / Apr. 28, 2021

Ted Wheeler Gets Mugged by Reality

The hometown antifa mob has given Portland a black eye, but the city’s hard-left mayor may have finally had enough.

Antifa, that figment of right-wing fever dreams, may have finally found a believer in hard-left Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

You remember antifa. It’s the black-clad, Portland-based anarchist mob that New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler famously dismissed as “a myth that’s being spread only in Washington, DC.”

A “myth,” Jerry? Try telling that to Ted Wheeler.

As The Wall Street Journal editorial board reports, “A well-known politician on Friday denounced ‘self-described anarchists who engage in regular criminal destruction’ and want to ‘burn,’ ‘bash’ and ‘intimidate.’ He called for ‘higher bail’ and ‘tougher pretrial restrictions’ on rioters. And he pleaded with the public to cooperate with police and identify miscreants: ‘Our job is to unmask them, arrest them, and prosecute them.’ Donald Trump? Sheriff Arpaio? Nope. That was Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler, the über-progressive, who made a national reputation last year by apologizing for vandals and rioters he said were merely exercising their right to protest against an unjust America.”

All this is a humiliating flip-flop for the guy who enabled antifa to engage in a nearly year-long orgy of nonstop rioting, and the guy who last June vowed to defund his city’s police force. As The Oregonian’s Everton Bailey Jr. reported at the time, “Wheeler pledged the city will divert $12 million from the police bureau and other city departments to directly support communities of color, defund three police units including the gun violence reduction team and ban officers from using chokeholds as part of plans to reform the Portland Police Bureau.”

Wheeler, who’s also — get this — the city’s police commissioner, said, “My privilege as a white man, my privilege as the mayor and the leader of the institutions of power in this community I believe shielded me from time to time from the many difficult and uncomfortable truths about our history and about our society.”

Clearly, that mea culpa wasn’t good enough for antifa. Nor, we think, was it properly directed. Wheeler seemed to be trying to atone to the city’s black residents for his white privilege, but last time we checked, antifa was as lily-white as Wheeler.

In any case, as the Journal reports, unbridled antifa rioters “shot fireworks at law enforcement, firebombed government buildings, and set fire to cop cars and a police union hall” — all while the milquetoast mayor carried on like a modern-day Neville Chamberlain.

And now, he’s crying uncle. Yep, the guy who slashed $27 million from the city’s 2021 police funding, the guy who called Donald Trump’s decision to send in federal forces to quell the rioting last July “an attack on our democracy,” has finally been mugged by reality. He’s now begging for the citizens of Portland to start ratting out that mob he’s been trying to appease these many months.

As The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti reports, “Wheeler extended a city-wide state of emergency and begged for Portland residents to assist law enforcement in ‘unmasking’ and identifying members of the ‘self-described anarchist mob’ that have rioted through the city nearly every night since last May.”

Wheeler, it seems, has learned a valuable lesson in human nature: Weakness is provocative. Better late than never.

And who knows? Maybe Wheeler’s wisdom will wind its way north to Seattle, where the people clearly want law and order, and where feckless Mayor Jenny Durkan seems to be holding out hope for that Summer of Love.

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