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Operation Boomerang

Watch: Mary Katharine Ham Skewers AOC's Weird Self-Absorption, Cracking Up CNN Anchors

Screenshot via CNN

It all began the day before New Year's Eve, when National Review published photos of New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez having a cocktail in sunny Florida. The resulting hubbub, particularly on Twitter, started immediately. Critics accused AOC of hypocrisy, charges that ranged from "pretty weak," to "they might have a point." In my mind, it's not a scandal that she wasn't wearing a mask, despite online finger-pointing from various detractors. She was seated at an eatery outdoors.  Who cares? There's no science whatsoever backing outdoor masking, and I can't find any evidence that the leftist congresswoman ever pushed to mandate the practice. And although it's somewhat amusing to see a prominent Democrat choosing to vacation in Ron DeathSantis' alleged hellscape (this thread is useful in further challenging the narrative that Florida is uniquely terrible and that its governor has "blood on his hands," or whatever), are people not supposed to visit places if they disagree with local leadership? That's an absurd standard – though I am curious why AOC didn't select Puerto Rico as her destination instead, where she could have at least visited her famous abuela.

The strongest hypocrisy knock relates to the congresswoman fleeing her jurisdiction amid spiking COVID cases. Leaders are entitled to take some time off for rest and relaxation, just like the rest of us. The president went to the beach and kept a low profile over the holidays, which earned him glowing coverage. Meanwhile, progressives and their media allies obsessed over the supposed absence of DeSantis from the public eye. As it turns out, Florida's governor spent some of the holidays accompanying his wife to cancer treatments, and also consistently showed up for work. But perhaps this scandal will finally sink him. Was it wrong for AOC to have fun in the sun amid an emergency back in her district? I'd say that's a debatable proposition, based on several factors, but as National Review's coverage notes, the congresswoman went hard after Sen. Ted Cruz's deeply ill-advised Mexico jaunt as Texans suffered: 

The Florida outing comes as New York City reported a record number of new, confirmed cases of Covid-19 (almost 44,000). Ocasio-Cortez represents New York’s 14th congressional district, which covers parts of the Bronx and Queens. Back in February, when Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) drew fire for taking a trip to Cancun, Mexico, during a winter disaster in Texas that left millions without power or water, Ocasio-Cortez joined the pile on. “If Sen. Cruz had resigned back in January after helping gin up a violent insurrection that killed several people, he could’ve taken his vacation in peace,” she tweeted at the time. “Texans should continue to demand his resignation.” After Cruz took shots at her later that month at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida, she wrote, “I don’t care what Cruz said at CPAC, but I do care that it appears Texas was just a layover stop for him between Cancun and Orlando to drop a pack of water into someone’s trunk and abandon his constituents again as they get slammed with $16,000 electrical bills.” The congresswoman was still harping on the trip two months later, tweeting during a feud with the senator in April: “Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico.”

She beat that drum for months. Are the two situations perfectly analogous? No, not really. But if her standard is that it's an outrageous dereliction for a member of Congress to take a vacation while their constituents are under siege from some crisis, she's obviously going to take some lumps over this trip. Naturally, as an eager and endless social media combatant, AOC couldn't just quietly "take the L" here, or decline to engage on this front. She instead embraced the stupid "where's Ron?" conspiracy theory just before it blew up in people's faces, then meandered down a cringe-worthy, myopic, bizarre clap-back road


There are, of course, weird and deranged criticisms leveled at AOC. Anyone in the public eye deals with some amount of weirdness, or worse. But it's her response that is the weirdest thing about any of this. Republicans want to date her? So they're channeling their sexual frustrations into political attacks against her? And why drag other women and LGBT people into this, beyond a clumsy attempt to telegraph identity solidarity? I, for one, can confidently assure you that my critiques of this elected representative do not stem from any latent desire to date her. These were my favorite reactions to AOC's titanic self-absorption and self-regard: 


MKH (full disclosure: she is my co-author and close friend) took the bit to CNN, and it was hilarious: 

Well first of all, I woke up like this. So I think I have the authority on people being sexually frustrated by my mere existence. It happens all the time. And I’m glad to be able to discuss this important issue with you. The plight of the super hot in America has long been ignored. AOC has started a national conversation about this. You know, I know we have all dealt with it. By that, I mean, AOC, you Brianna, myself, and John -- well, the point is: We can start an organization or something. Just the other day, I noticed the IRS keeps sending me notices even though I’ve never expressed any interest in them. It’s like, why are you so obsessed with me? One day you wake up and think is there more to life than being really, really ridiculously good looking? I did it. And now I'm here. AOC did it and now she's a congresswoman. 

This is the perfect response to AOC's nonsense. Not indignant anger, but playful ridicule. Even the anchors couldn't help but laugh. And if there's one thing that self-righteous progressives cannot stand, it's being laughed at. 

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