According to her supporters, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a singular obsession of the right-wing media. This framing ignores the indisputable reality that she's a creation of the mainstream and left-wing media, heralded and celebrated as the fresh face of a new generation of hard-charging progressives. She's also succeeding in yanking her party leftward, as multiple presidential candidates have endorsed her fanatical and fanciful "green new deal" legislation -- although they all scurried behind a wall of "present" votes when the moment to support the resolution actually arrived.
Her latest media showcase occurred on MSNBC late last week, during with the freshman Congresswoman made all sorts of attention-grabbing assertions and comparisons -- including advancing the notion that "environmental justice" must only be achieved alongside "economic justice," which certainly won't hlep dispel many skeptics' suspicion that programs like the green new deal are less about addressing an urgent crisis, and more about redistributing wealth and amassing governmental control. Among other topics, she explained that the Tea Party is different than her movement because unlike those xenophobic white supremacists, she doesn't call her opponents names:
Rep. AOC says the difference between her movement and the Tea Party is her's don't call anyone names. Whereas the "grounding of the Tea Party was xenophobia, the underpinnings of white supremacy," and the Koch brothers funded them. pic.twitter.com/WeJKNspCZ9— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) March 30, 2019
Seems legit, and duly noted. She went on to make the following claim about the success of aggressive statism in American politics. FDR's vast expansion of government was so popular, she averred, that opponents had to amend the constitution to prevent him from winning again:
According to AOC, Congress amended the Constitution to prevent FDR from being re-elected:— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 31, 2019
"They had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt dd not get reelected."
(Reminder, FDR died in office in 1945; the 22nd Amendment came in 1947) pic.twitter.com/DImHj0caVy
Her point is correct, except for the fact that (a) President Roosevelt (who ignored the Washington-set precedent of serving a maximum of two consecutive terms) had been dead for roughly two years when the 22nd Amendment was passed by overwhelming and bipartisan Congressional majorities, and approximately six years by the time it was ratified by the states and implemented, and (b) even if it had been directed at FDR while he were still in office, the amendment only applied to future presidents. It's also worth noting that Republican majorities were only able to introduce this ultimately-successful amendment because they'd won sweeping landslide victories in the 1946 midterm elections, winning control of both legislative chambers. Also, at least two Republican presidents opposed the amendment, with Ronald Reagan going so far as to urge its repeal. Some dutiful media acolytes are performing their own version of Trumpist 'translations' in order to ostensibly demonstrate how AOC was actually kind of correct, if you ignore the actual substance of her core claim.
A number of her critics are willing to overlook historical inaccuracies like this one as relatively harmless mistakes ("she's at least in the zip code of the truth"), and I tend to be agree with them. On the other hand, it's always worth pointing out the how this high-profile advocate of socialism frequently makes statements and arguments that are rife with errors and distortions. There's a deeper concern here. Meanwhile, she's giving her own party leadership a new bout of heartburn by urging her fan base not to donate to the DCCC -- the official campaign committee dedicated to protecting the House majority -- in protest of its policies designed to discourage intra-party primary challenges:
The @DCCC’s new rule to blacklist+boycott anyone who does business w/ primary challengers is extremely divisive & harmful to the party.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 30, 2019
My recommendation, if you’re a small-dollar donor: pause your donations to DCCC & give directly to swing candidates instead.
Some great ones:
Conservatives are popping popcorn over this spat, with some trollingly applauding her stance:
Finally, Ocasio-Cortez has famously blamed her poor national favorability ratings on those dastardly right-wingers and all the negative attention they pay her (and also racism and sexism, natch). While it's hardly breaking news that a politician would targeted by opponents in an effort to drive down his or her popularity, I'd remind the new lawmaker that her numbers are also deep underwater in her home state, which doesn't typically take its electoral cues from the GOP or conservative media figures. Perhaps she should spend less time pushing for a nationwide socialist utopia, and more time serving the people of her district, many of whom are unhappy with her anti-Amazon gambit -- with some wondering if she cares about actually representing them at all:
Amid her zeal to save the world with the Green New Deal, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has ignored residents in her own Bronx back yard. “I thought AOC would be our savior, but that’s not the case,” complained Roxanne Delgado, a local activist who said she has tried for months to get in touch with the congresswoman for help saving an animal shelter and to clean up parks in the district...The Post made several calls to both the Washington and Queens offices last week. The same recording at both numbers gives Ocasio-Cortez’s website and doesn’t allow callers to leave a message...“You know, I appreciate what she’s doing, but she has to represent us,” he told the board gathering, where other elected officials — from the city and state but not AOC’s office — sent staffers. Vitaliano told The Post: “She has to address these local issues. Her district is everywhere else in the US. Her heart is not in the Bronx.”
Alas, stardom has its drawbacks -- including alleged and dubious betrayals by unnamed staffers.