The clip below shows her committing a simple goof, uninteresting in itself. What’s fascinating is the reaction to it on social media and elsewhere. Righties and lefties have been swinging at each other over it all day; many Esteemed Pundits have weighed in with takes about the reaction. An error this mundane shouldn’t be worth this much chatter, but then the uproar last week over the Examiner reporter who tweeted about AOC’s outfit shouldn’t have generated the nuclear degree of heat that it did either. All of which can only mean one thing: She’s already one of the biggest stars in the Democratic Party, more so than even news junkies may realize.
Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "If we work our butts off to make sure that we take back all three chambers of Congress — Uh, rather, all three chambers of government: the presidency, the Senate, and the House."
The 3 branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial. pic.twitter.com/8rPSpzottE
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 19, 2018
You want takes? There are takes. One popular reaction: Righties are making a mistake in flogging her for being relatable.
Sarah Palin was relatable to red-state voters and got flogged too, although Palin had a few years as a governor under her belt before she became a national figure. Ocasio-Cortez has never held office.
Another popular take: She’s good at the social media game and righties can’t cope.
Maybe instead of Republicans drooling over every minute of footage of me in slow-mo, waiting to chop up word slips that I correct in real-tomd, they actually step up enough to make the argument they want to make:
that they don’t believe people deserve a right to healthcare. https://t.co/fMOijEa7tF
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 19, 2018
From the Observer:
“Her youth automatically means she is plugged into meme culture and is social media savvy,” conservative meme creator Carpe Dunktum told Observer. “Meme makers should beware that she has a motivated constituency behind her that will immediately jump on memes that objectify, dismiss, or attack her personally.”
“Right-wing media have made Ocasio-Cortez a target for ludicrous attacks, which she has seemingly been able to disarm with mockery and ridicule,” explained Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt. “Even as all cylinders of the right-wing media machine fire on her campaign and transition into office, she’s remained resilient.”
Another theory: Righties have spent three years cringing at their own favorite politician’s ignorance about law and government and are eager to pay the left back by needling their young star for her sporadic semi-coherence. I would pay good money to watch Trump and Ocasio-Cortez go toe-to-toe in a quiz-show format about rudimentary civics. One night only, on the biggest possible stage: Two people who’ve never had a single thought between them about constitutional limits on government power.
There’s no mystery to me about why she’s so interesting to both sides. She’s very young, ideologically radical, yet completely down-to-earth personally. There’s not a whiff of “professional politician” stink on her. (Although a heavy stench of “professional progressive activist.”) To the left she’s proof that the future is socialist and that the right’s fearmongering about it is ridiculous. Who could be less scary than smiling, sunny AOC? She’s a perfect representation of the new generation and, to the older generation, everyone’s idealistic daughter or niece. And she’s in Congress! To the right she’s proof that socialism is a utopian fantasy favored by dopey kids who don’t yet know how the world, including the “three chambers of government,” works. She’s the idealistic niece who wants to lecture you over Thanksgiving dinner about how to solve the world’s problems even though she’s half your age and has a tenth as many life experiences. And now she’s in Congress. We might as well replace the Supreme Court with Vox’s masthead. In both cases, change her age, her place on the ideological spectrum, or her normalcy and the same fascination doesn’t obtain.
She may be young and a radical but she seems to be navigating this Pelosi leadership saga pretty prudently:
Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a freshman representative belonging to the progressive faction of the House delegation, said Monday that she currently backs Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for speaker, since Pelosi is the “most progressive candidate” running.
“Right now, out of the field, I would say that she is the most progressive candidate,” Ocasio-Cortez said on her Instagram Live where she often takes questions from constituents. “All of the rebellion for the speakership are challenges to her right, and so I think it’s important to communicate that.”
Sixteen House Democrats sent around a letter this morning pledging to oppose Pelosi — and 16 would likely be enough to block her from 218 if all of them stood on principle. But they probably won’t; there’ll be a caucus vote, all 16 will vote no, Pelosi will win, and then their colleagues will demand that support her on the House floor so that she doesn’t suffer the humiliation of having to ask for Republican votes. Ousting Pelosi can only happen if there’s a dam break, in which dozens of Dems peel off to oppose her. That’s unlikely to happen and Ocasio-Cortez knows it, which is why she’s spent the past week making nice with Pelosi. A truly blinkered radical might decide to try to lead the charge against the Speaker-in-waiting in a hopeless bid to get a more progressive person elected. AOC isn’t even bothering. Pelosi will be grateful. And if there’s anyone whose gratitude an ambitious young lefty should be eager to have, it’s hers.