Ocasio-Cortez is good for American politics – but her election victory was no moon landing

Landing on another planet, the civil rights movement and a Democrat getting elected in the Bronx really aren’t the same thing

Nash Riggins
Tuesday 04 December 2018 12:53
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launches double attack on Mike Huckabee and 'lying' daughter Sarah Huckabee

There’s some old adage about shooting messengers and why you shouldn’t do it, but a lot of Americans tend to ignore it. That’s why being the White House press secretary is pretty much the worst job on the planet – God, do you remember watching Barack Obama’s old spokesperson, poor Jay Carney, squirm on-air like a lost puppy? You just wanted to give the little guy a bear hug.

But it’s difficult to sympathise with the president’s loyal lapdog when that mutt lies through its teeth and screams hysterically at journalists for asking simple questions. The inconceivably incompetent Sean Spicer absolutely deserved the red target that got painted on his back – and against all odds, his successor's even worse.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a ham-fisted disappointment guided by dogmatism and a mulish orange demagogue she defends using bonafide lies and doctored video clips. Huckabee Sanders deserves every ounce of flack she’s ever received – which is why incoming congressional freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got big laughs this week after invoking Sarah’s deceitful reputation as part of a funny pop shot meant for her daddy.

If you’re keen on a bit of context, Ocasio-Cortez was hitting out at former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee because he said the ambitious millennial was a “looney” for comparing her election win with the moon landing and the civil rights movement (she did). But to be honest, the guy kind of had a point.

Now, let’s not mince words, here: Mike Huckabee is an out-of-touch conservative fart, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant role model who's hungry to make America a better place for us all. I mean, she’s a 29-year-old woman from the Bronx who’s won educator of the year awards, campaigns for human rights and publishes kids’ books for a living. She’s obviously a good person, and a real step in the right direction for American politics.

But if you don’t mind shoving on your cynical hat for a minute or two, is it not fair to say she’s also counting her chickens before they’ve hatched when it comes to all that inspirational waffle? After all, landing on the moon, the civil rights movement and a Democrat getting elected in the Bronx aren’t really the same thing. It’d be weird if she hadn’t been elected, and it would’ve been pathetic if the Democrats hadn’t taken the House this year.

Let’s get real: that proverbial blue wave we were all hoping for in November never really materialised – and although many of us can now take solace in knowing the fragmented but well-meaning Democratic Party will soon take ownership over the lower house of Congress, Donald Trump and his cronies are still large-and-in-charge.

So to argue Democrats have “done the impossible” in 2018 is a bit like finishing the first Harry Potter book and then assuming Voldemort is dead and gone forever. We all know there are going to be six more books – how naive could you possibly be?

Electing a bunch of freshmen politicians with a pocket full of dreams won’t instantly rid America of its own Voldemort problem, and so by pulling out all of this self-righteous rhetoric, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has got to be doing one of two things: she’s either exposing her pie-in-the-sky views on politics and proving to America that her perceptions are not grounded in reality, or she’s trying way too hard to be the next young and inspirational personification of political change.

If it’s the former, Ocasio-Cortez had better pace herself – because two years’ worth of partisan spite and left-wing power struggles on the Hill just might smack all that optimism right out of her head. But if it’s the latter, and New York’s newest congresswoman is simply digging deep with meaningless, motivational crap to try and toss her name in the hat for 2020 or 2024, she needs to check herself before she wrecks herself.

Sure, it worked in 2008 for that junior Illinois senator none of us had ever heard of (and boy, do we miss him). But America is in a very different place right now than it was 10 years ago, and if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to be taken seriously as a political leader of the future, she should think a lot harder before invoking the spirit of the civil rights movement or trying to win us all over by taking easy shots at a national embarrassment and her politically irrelevant dad.

All that said (and cynical hat placed firmly back on its hook), it was a pretty sick burn.

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