“I was assigned to some of the busiest committees and four subcommittees. So my hands are full. And sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to keep me busy,” she says — with a laugh. But at best she’s kidding on the square. Between her escalating cold war with Pelosi and her propensity to view herself and her interests as victims whose truth is being forever suppressed by power, it’s perfectly in character for Ocasio-Cortez to believe that she was given plum committee assignments not as a reward but as a punishment.
But look, we can’t fault her too much for resenting having to work for a living. She’s a socialist, man. Imagine her showing up in Washington and finding out that she has to do nuts-and-bolts committee stuff, not just spend her time on Twitter “raising awareness.”
The clip picks up with Ocasio-Cortez having just informed the interviewer that she and Pelosi haven’t spoken in many months, since the Speaker invited her to join the Select Committee on Climate Change — which AOC declined.
.@AOC on @SpeakerPelosi: "I was assigned to some of the busiest committees and four subcommittees. So my hands are full. And sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to keep me busy." (Via @WNYC) pic.twitter.com/EWHSnLb2JN
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) July 10, 2019
Did Pelosi deliberately load up Ocasio-Cortez with committee assignments to keep her preoccupied and out of the leadership’s hair? Honestly, that … does seem possible! I doubt it’s a coincidence that AOC and two of the other freshman class’s far-left pains in the ass, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, were all placed on the Oversight Committee at the start of the year. The Oversight Committee is the one charged with investigating Trump; Pelosi knew that Ocasio-Cortez et al. were going to spend most of their time making trouble for the establishment of one party or the other, so she put them on Oversight to focus them on Trump instead of her. The invitation to AOC to sit on the climate change committee was doubtless more political, a way of signaling to the left that they have a voice in the global-warming debate by including their favorite congresswoman on the panel. AOC recognized it as a token thing and passed. Really, though, that’s the best explanation for why she’s been loaded up with committees — not so much because Pelosi’s hoping to distract her (AOC’s medium of choice is Twitter, which is always available at a moment’s notice) but because she’s trying to pacify restive progressives by giving the DSA faction positions of responsibility in the new Democratic majority.
Although, in that case, one might ask why she’s repeatedly belittled the support the progressive freshmen have nationally. Just this past weekend, AOC took exception to Pelosi saying in the New York Times that she, Tlaib, Pressley, and Ilhan Omar had gotten four votes between them to win election to their seats. Which is it, Nancy? Are they fringers with no constituency who are out of step with their party and can afford to be ignored, or are they important contributors to the Democratic coalition who deserve major committee assignments?
Pelosi will be coping with the monster she helped create until she retires. The latest:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi chided progressives in a closed-door meeting Wednesday, calling on them to address their intra-party grievances privately rather than blasting their centrist colleagues on Twitter…
“If you have a complaint about our members, come talk to me about it, don’t tweet about it,” Pelosi told lawmakers according to two sources in the room…
“I’m here to help the children when it’s easy and when it’s hard. Some of you are here to make a beautiful pâté but we’re making sausage most of the time,” Pelosi told the caucus.
Those comments were probably aimed at Mark Pocan more so than at AOC or her “Squad,” as it was Pocan who was most aggressive in attacking centrist colleagues on Twitter after they forced Pelosi to pass the Senate’s immigration bill. But don’t forget that AOC’s chief of staff was also vicious afterward, all but accusing the centrist Dems of racism in failing to demand better treatment for migrants in detention facilities. Imagine how that might be used against the centrists in primaries by progressives. I have a mental image of Pelosi drunk-dialing Joe Crowley every night and chewing him out for not having taken his primary last year more seriously.
Here’s a little bonus from the AOC radio interview for you in lieu of an exit question. Oh, she’s also in favor of getting rid of the entire Department of Homeland Security.
Ocasio-Cortez admits on The New Yorker Radio that she does not want immigration enforcement on the border
Question: “What constitutes a sane immigration policy?”
Ocasio-Cortez: “A sane immigration policy, we should not being using detention for people who have harmed no one” pic.twitter.com/WsMvgGux3r
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 10, 2019