“That’s like five people.”
That quote is what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually said to Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes when she was asked about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the trendy new socialist wing of the Democratic Party. She also went on to dump cold water over the idea of socialism “as an economic system.” If we’re to take anything away from this interview, it’s that Pelosi sees her party taking on water and has realized that it’s time to start bailing. (Fox News)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tried to tamp down the perceived influence of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive freshman Democrats, saying their wing in Congress was “like five people.”
Speaking with CBS News’ Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes,” Pelosi said the 29-year-old congresswoman from New York didn’t have a significant impact on the Democratic Party. The House speaker also said she rejected socialism “as an economic system.”
“You have these wings, AOC and her group on one side,” Stahl told Pelosi, to which the 79-year-old replied: “That’s like five people.”
Here’s the video of that portion of the interview in a tweet from 60 Minutes.
Can the Speaker of the House unify the Democratic party while getting pushback from the left and self-described democratic socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? https://t.co/f4VUYTYIdw pic.twitter.com/a9wOobPj5g
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 14, 2019
So what was AOC doing while Pelosi was attempting to shrug off her impact on the party? Giving her own interview where she went all in on impeachment, contrary to what the Speaker has been saying.
“I think you could reach in a bag and pull so many things out that are impeachable of this president. I support impeaching this president”
No matter what you may think of her policies, you have to give Nancy Pelosi credit for one thing. She’s been knocking around inside the Beltway for a long time now and she knows how things work. And she can spot signs of impending disaster when she sees them. Having a couple of people like AOC and Ilhan Omar show up in Congress is like two people with Ebola arriving at an airport. It may not look like a major outbreak right now, but just give it a few weeks.
The point Pelosi is trying to make should have been true. And it would be if we were living in a more sane version of reality. A freshman political neophyte landing in Washington shouldn’t have anywhere near this level of influence, but the game has changed significantly since Pelosi was first elected. AOC’s every comment is amplified tremendously by the media (who know a good story that draws clicks when they see one) and, to be honest, Republicans and conservatives who want to point out the dangerous direction the Democratic Party is heading in.
For her part, AOC has been a disaster for Democrats. Her only attempt at penning any sort of meaningful legislation has been that Green New Deal debacle that couldn’t even draw a single vote from her own party in the Senate. Every time she opens her mouth the party leadership is sent scrambling to cover for her. The way she’s latched onto Ilhan Omar only exacerbates the public view of the Democrats as the party that embraces antisemitism. Her calls for voters to starve the DCCC of cash and primary more red state Democrats have set off something of a civil war.
What’s even worse is that AOC’s outsized media megaphone has the Democrats’ presidential candidates following her off the cliff. Slightly more than half of Democrats support socialism (which is depressing enough to begin with) but the rest of the country doesn’t. You don’t win general elections that way. Just as the Democrats thought they had a clear opening to take down an unpopular president next year and possibly even retake the Senate majority, AOC and her friends are blowing holes in the Democrats’ lifeboat.
Unfortunately for Nancy Pelosi, hiding her head under the covers and pretending this isn’t happening won’t make the problem go away. And no amount of advice from experienced members is going to change AOC’s tune. I have no idea what the Speaker should be doing to dig her way out of this mess, but it’s certainly entertaining to watch.