The Independent’s journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shouldn't insult Nancy Pelosi. She should learn from her

AOC and her fellow colleagues — all brilliant at social media and less brilliant at realism — are going to end up like Ted Cruz did when he tried to defund Obamacare

Jay Caruso
Washington DC
Monday 08 July 2019 21:15
Comments
Ocasio-Cortez: Democrat Representatives 'didn't try to negotiate' border funding bill

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took the oath of office less than six months ago. For some reason, she and her large Twitter following thinks that entitles her to second-guess House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Unfortunately for Ocasio-Cortez, she continually brings a knife to a gun-fight.

Ocasio-Cortez made a splash when she won her primary race. The favorable coverage she received due to her age and unlikely win set things up nicely for her social media empire, where she's amassed nearly 5 million followers on Twitter and 4 million on Instagram.

The problem is that she's still behaving like an advocate, not a legislator. The recent comments by Pelosi about AOC and her fellow freshmen Democrats, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, shone a spotlight on the shortcomings of Pelosi's younger colleagues.

When asked about the recent $4.6 billion emergency border package, which Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib all voted against in the form of a protest vote, Pelosi said, "All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn't have any following. They're four people, and that's how many votes they got."

You can imagine the response. Time magazine editor-at-large, Anand Giridharadas, griped on Twitter, "These are four historic candidates and now members of Congress. And this is the language their boss throws at them? This is why people clamor for generational change. Because it is hard in life's sunset to learn to see people you are trained to overlook." Ocasio-Cortez in a tweet, said, "That public 'whatever' is called public sentiment. And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country."

To my mind, both Giriharadas and Ocasio-Cortez are missing the forest for the trees. Historic elections, generational change, and thinking retweets and likes on Twitter align with public sentiment means little in a town where only one thing matters: results.

On that front, Speaker Pelosi is holding a royal flush to Ocasio-Cortez's pair of deuces.

Nancy Pelosi says 'we know exactly what path we're on' when asked about Trump impeachment

Whatever one thinks of Pelosi's politics is irrelevant to her record of accomplishments while serving as Speaker of The House. She's managed to work the following legislation to a president's desk (George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump): the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008; the Affordable Care Act; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; the First Step Deed; and the Dodd-Frank Act on banking reform.

As a conservative, I don't care at all for the above legislation outside of First Step, but that doesn't diminish the fact Pelosi worked to enact those laws across three separate presidential administrations. Ocasio-Cortez can count among her accomplishments: Amazon ditching New York as a location for their shared new headquarters.

Ocasio-Cortez is part and parcel of a newfound stock of elected officials over the last eight to 10 years who think "fighting" is the same as getting something done. It's not hard to forget Texas Senator Ted Cruz standing on the Senate floor in 2013 and arguing, "We can defund Obamacare if we stand on principle!" In the real world, it required enough votes and a president willing to sign the legislation. Cruz had neither.

Ocasio-Cortez is much in the same predicament. She can talk all she wants about how the detention centers are akin to "concentration camps" and send tweets with #AbolishICE hashtags, but at the end of the day, what does any of that accomplish? Is she so naive to think anyone outside her orbit would seriously entertain the idea of abolishing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement?

Nancy Pelosi has to walk the finest political of lines in her role as Speaker. She has a Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, as majority leader of the Senate, and an unpredictable Donald Trump in the White House. Pelosi faces an increasingly progressive portion of her caucus while at the same time knowing plenty of House members won their races in districts Trump carried in 2016.

So, while Ocasio-Cortez continues to tweet and her soundbites continue to make cable news, Speaker Pelosi is going about her way and doing real work. Instead of casual dismissal, Ocasio-Cortez could instead attempt to learn a thing or two from someone serving their second stint as Speaker of the House.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in