Via Mediaite, I’m probably the only person on either side who thinks an AOC appearance in Fox primetime would be good for her and her cause if she can get the host to agree to certain ground rules beforehand.
I made that case half-jokingly on Twitter yesterday afternoon and had lefties scoffing at me. “Please. If our new progressive hero went into the lion’s den at Fox, the conversation would devolve within five seconds to calling her a communist, an open-borders fanatic, the long-lost daughter of Che Guevara. There are no inroads to be made among the white working-class base by a young brown-skinned Latina from New York who’s comfortable being called a socialist. They want people like her marginalized. And they’d demand nothing less than her total humiliation on air by Tucker or Ingraham.”
Maybe. The odds of Tucker giving her the full Avenatti treatment, replete with mocking chyrons while she’s onscreen, can’t be less than 60 percent. Only a fool would gamble on cable news rising to the occasion of fruitful discourse when ideological enemies engage. And don’t forget that AOC would have her own incentives to engage in bloodsport. For every Trump fan watching who’d want to see the left’s new star obliterated there’d be a Trump-hater tuning in to see Ocasio-Cortez call Carlson a white supremacist to his face. There’s no denying that political pressures from both sides would point to this degenerating into a total sh*tshow.
But. I believe Ingraham here when she says she admires AOC’s populist moxie. And Tucker has done at least one segment on his show amplifying a point Ocasio-Cortez has made about corporate welfare. Carlson in particular has been more consumed lately with tilting the right towards economic populism than with tilting the rest of the country towards the right, broadly speaking. All of which is to say, I think the two Fox hosts really would be interested in engaging with AOC on her own populist economic proposals. The “Green New Deal” would be a non-starter, but higher taxes on the rich? Regulating corporate cronyism? Maaaaaybe Medicare for all, if she had some vaguely plausible-ish suggestion on how to pay for it?
Yeah, I think that could be a friendly enough conversation. And it would be useful to AOC insofar as it would give her a chance to pitch populist Fox viewers, who spend most of the viewing day marinating in the idea that leftists are gargoyles, on Bernie-style economic reform. Obama’s team liked to talk about “permission structures” on the right, the idea that certain policy proposals would be ruled out of hand by the right-wing rank-and-file unless and until they received a seal of acceptability by someone like Rush Limbaugh whose right-wing authenticity was beyond reproach. Having Tucker nod along receptively while Ocasio-Cortez talks up confiscatory tax rates on the rich would help provide that seal of approval. It’s not a heresy anymore! This proposal may be considered. Carlson especially, I suspect, would revel in a chance to use a confab with AOC to make the point that he and she aren’t enemies (yet), it’s the establishment of both parties that’s the enemy.
But as I say, there’d have to be ground rules. No immigration talk, which would derail the interview immediately. No Green New Deal. No name-calling. The point going in, overtly, would need to be “common ground,” with the two sides on their honor to stick to it. Could they do that? Eh, probably not. But I do think Ingraham and Carlson would be sincerely interested in chatting on air with her about policy and open to select proposals. If nothing else, ratings would be yuuuuuuge.
I don’t know that AOC would do it, though, and not just for fear of Tucker or Ingraham luring her with promises of a friendly chat and then blindsiding her. One of the striking things about her much-celebrated social-media offerings is how little there is about finding common ground with the other side. She comes from a deep blue district and can afford that luxury, but normally members of Congress will pay some lip service to bipartisanship, how people of all stripes just want a better life for their kids, etc. There’s practically none of that in Ocasio-Cortez’s daily patter. Her WaPo interview is striking for the absence of it, in fact: She’s only been in Congress for two weeks but already she’s painting Republicans and “the right” with a broad, highly unflattering brush. The word “deplorable” hasn’t been used thus far but give it time. This is an underappreciated part of her appeal to the left too, I think. She seems to disdain the Republican base more than they disdain her and really makes no pretense of trying to win them over, help them “see the light,” and so forth. Her message seems to be that the left has the numbers at the polls and should, and will, simply crush these people, sweep them away. Why would she go on Fox and try to reach out to them, then, no matter how receptive to parts of her message they might be?