While freshman Democrat Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is being feted as some sort of progressive Gilgamesh (although one who wears very nice clothes) destined to vanquish the GOP ogre, there is growing concern in the Democrat party about her style.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already making enemies in the House Democratic Caucus — and some of its members are mounting an operation to bring the anti-establishment, democratic socialist with 2.2 million Twitter followers into the fold.
The effort, described by nearly 20 lawmakers and aides, is part carrot, part stick: Some lawmakers with ties to Ocasio-Cortez are hoping to coax her into using her star power to unite Democrats and turn her fire on Republicans. Others simultaneously warn Ocasio-Cortez is destined for a lonely, ineffectual career in Congress if she continues to treat her own party as the enemy.
Incumbent Democrats are most annoyed by Ocasio-Cortez’s threat to back primary opponents against members of their ranks she deems too moderate. But their frustration goes beyond that: Democratic leaders are upset that she railed against their new set of House rules on Twitter the first week of the new Congress. Rank and file are peeved that there’s a grassroots movement to try to win her a top committee post they feel she doesn’t deserve.
Among those who won’t be getting a Christmas cards from Ocasio Cortez, is former Democrat big shot Joe Lieberman. In an interview in Fox Business he had this to say about her:
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Opens a New Window. is not the future of the party, according to Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat from Connecticut who became an independent.
“With all respect,” he told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto on Thursday, “I certainly hope she’s not the future and I don’t believe she is.”
…However in Lieberman’s opinion, she’s too “different” and “controversial” for the party that has now shifted largely to the center on the left-right political spectrum.
“If you look at the majority of new Democrats in the house, they tend to be, I say, center-left, if they are not left-left,” he said. “And that is because they had to be center-left to win some of those competitive swing districts that they took from Republicans. So that’s the hope.”
This drew a quick and sharp and Trump-like response from Ocasio Cortez on Twitter:
New party, who dis? https://t.co/2cznisv8tB
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 11, 2019
All the cool kids started laughing:
This is where Joe Lieberman always wanted to be: Arguing in absentia with a politician 47 years younger than him, as his 2006 primary opponent becomes governor of his home state. https://t.co/dhpzMpXwoj
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 10, 2019
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) July 18, 2018
But, to the larger point, Lieberman is correct. The Democrats won their House majority in swing districts running on the “OrangeManBad” platform. It remains to be seen whether that can be sustained through 2020. If the Democrats nominate an Elizabeth Warren or Corey Booker, they’ll probably see a GOP House majority sworn in along with Donald Trump in January 2021.
Regardless, this response is reinforcing the stereotype that Ocasio Cortez is creating for herself as someone more interested in being a social media sensation than a serious politician.
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