The Corleone we need? The Hill essayist argues that Dems' best hope in 2024 presidential election is ...

AP Photo/Alastair Grant

Need a good laugh on a Tuesday primary evening? Allahpundit will have a post up shortly where we can watch election results, but in the meantime enjoy the desperation behind this pitch for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the best presidential candidate for Democrats in 2024. Not just better than Joe Biden, mind you — better than any other Democrat.

Why? According to political strategist Michael Starr Hopkins at Northern Starr Strategies, Ocasio-Cortez is the Michael Corleone of our era, or something:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is less of a personality and more of a movement. Yes, the smart, photogenic congresswoman is the face of the rising progressive movement, but she is also the future of the Democratic Party. AOC has cultivated a following beyond politics. She’s an influencer in its purest form. Her ability to relate to her supporters and allow them a glimpse into her private life is a blueprint for Democrats trying to act less like mannequins and more like humans.

She’s the voice of a movement that began after the banks were bailed out by the government, while homeowners were left to default. The simplicity with which she talks about everyday struggles hints that she’s not just a persona for consumption. She isn’t beholden to corporations, is a prodigious small-dollar fundraiser, and could out-Trump Trump like no other politician has been able to.

If Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the Godfather, Ocasio-Cartez is Michael Corleone. As the architect of Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage and numerous other programs that are now mainstream, Bernie’s place in history has already been solidified. While Sanders may disagree with some of the progressives in his caucus, his worth carries major weight. Bernie passing the torch to AOC and recruiting her to run for president would be bold and would strengthen and solidify her base of supporters before she even gets out of the gate.

Um … most Americans prefer their politicians to not be entirely gangsterish. Besides, Michael Corleone was a cold-blooded “b*****d” (according to his own sister) who rarely signaled his next move, just like his father. That description doesn’t fit either Sanders or AOC, who rely on populist demagoguery and rabble-rousing to pursue their socialist or socialist-lite agendas. They’re not even Sonny or Connie in the Corleone metaphor universe. They’re not exactly Fredo either, but their strategizing in this session of Congress makes that a lot closer of a comparison than Michael or Vito.

Maybe they’re Tattaglia?

I mean, if you’re going to use Godfather analogies, at least make it sound like you’ve seen the movie once or twice. Perhaps sensing this, Hopkins switches gears to put AOC in either the DC or Marvel comics universe, complete with a superpower of sorts, which is …

AOC wields a superpower that is rarely found in Washington: She isn’t afraid to lose. Her 2018 victory wasn’t just historic, it was shocking, and felt predestined — much like when we first saw a brilliant speaker with a funny name and big ears remind us that through hope and change we could put our country on a new course.

Good grief. Risk-taking is not a “superpower,” and it is in fact very common in national politics. So are arrogance and hubris, both plentiful in and out of the Beltway. No one in Congress is “afraid to lose,” just as no one who runs for president has a fear of rejection. And by the way, AOC has spent this entire session of Congress losing, just as she did in the previous session. How much of her agenda has actually passed?

For that matter, how many bills has Ocasio-Cortez authored and pushed onto the floor of the House while her party is in the majority? According to Congress.gov, AOC has only authored 50 bills in almost four years. Only four have made it to committee consideration, and only one has come up for any kind of floor action — a bill called “A Just Society: The Uplift Our Workers Act,” which apparently died in committee. That bill only had six co-sponsors, by the way, not exactly a sterling example of coalition-building or a demonstration of fearlessness.

From her actual record, it looks like Ocasio-Cortez’ true talent is in self-promotion. Is that a superpower? YMMV, but …

Let’s put a dash of reality on this desperate spin. Ocasio-Cortez caught a Democrat incumbent napping in 2018 and scored a real win, but that’s it. She has done nothing since except make speeches and promoted herself as the voice of a generation based on a couple of elections in Brooklyn and some good PR work. She has no executive experience, and really no effective legislative experience, and her approach to economics is best described as highly successful in Academia rather than the real world.

If Democrats want to compete in 2024 by replacing Biden on the ticket, they will need a candidate with reliable experience at governing who can reach out to a broad swath of voters — not a fringe backbencher who has spent four years looking for cameras and PR stunts. But if Democratic strategists really think AOC is the best they can do, well … who am I to dispute that?

Jazz Shaw Aug 07, 2022 2:31 PM ET