I happened to watch this interview with DCCC chairwoman Cheri Bustos when it happened and it was pretty remarkable. She was talking with Victor Blackwell on CNN and while the interview runs on for a good seven minutes, Blackwell really only gets two questions in. The reason is that he has to ask both of them over and over and over again because Bustos filibusters endlessly without ever directly answering the questions he’s asking.
The second question was the item of the most interest. Blackwell brought up yet again the issue of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez not paying her DCCC dues and funding primary challenges. In light of that, does Bustos believe that AOC is good for the Democratic caucus? Watching her twist in the wind over that one quickly became uncomfortable to sit through. (Free Beacon)
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) in a Sunday interview dodged multiple questions as to whether Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) is good for the Democratic caucus.
Asked by CNN anchor Victor Blackwell if Ocasio-Cortez is “good for the Democratic caucus in the House,” Bustos offered that “she has a lot of followers. I have respect for her. She brings a new voice to Congress.” Pressed by Blackwell, Bustos added, “we’ve got members from all different spectrums. I respect her, and she brings a new voice. I think that’s always welcome.”
Angling for an answer to the same question, Blackwell brought up Ocasio-Cortez’s fundraising prowess, noting that in the last quarter she out-raised even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.).
The print version doesn’t really do it justice so watch it on YouTube from CNN’s channel. I’ve set up to start at the beginning of the AOC questions, but if you want to rewind it to the beginning you can hear her dodging even more issues.
I’ll confess that when AOC first burst onto the scene after her shocking primary victory, I didn’t think that the hype surrounding her would last very long. She was just so very, very bad on camera giving terrible (and frequently hilariously wrong) answers to questions and making confused policy statement. I assumed she would be the flavor of the week for a little while and then (hopefully, at least for the Democrats) settle in, start keeping her head down and begin doing her job for her constituents.
But here we are more than a year later and she’s still generating headlines on a regular basis. By joining forces with her three other freshman friends to form “the squad,” she’s kept the media coming back again and again like moths to a flame. And given the prodigious fundraising numbers she’s turned in, the Democratic base hasn’t grown disenchanted with her either.
But seeing the deference paid to her by the head of the DCCC is really something. Bustos is clearly legitimately frightened of her. AOC is out there on a regular basis doing the exact opposite of the DCCC’s mission (that is, getting their members reelected) and diverting donor funds away to more socialist challengers. You might think that this would put Bustos off her feed and at least inspire her to politely argue that this is counterproductive.
Keep in mind that AOC’s “brand” hasn’t exactly been bulletproof. Many of the candidates she’s “endorsed” along the way didn’t fare nearly as well as she herself did in her D+90 district in the Big Apple. But apparently the Democratic leadership has bought into the hype and they’re afraid of risking her wrath. In a more normal season, a freshman in her position would be lucky to even be invited for an interview on NPR, but at the moment, AOC seems to be largely in control of the party and the old guard appears too spineless to say anything about it.