Ed wrote earlier about the NY Times not-so-stealth edit of a story about AOC breaking into tears yesterday after the Iron Dome funding vote. The initial version of the story said AOC and others on the far left were “caught between their principles and the still powerful pro-Israel voices in their party, such as the lobbyists and rabbis.” As Ed pointed out, the Times quickly cleaned that up a bit, probably after deciding that the “rabbis” mention was a bit on the nose.
But the Independent has since published a story which suggests the NY Times had it right the first time. They spoke to AOC who told them, “What we saw is a disappointment of just a willingness to rip our communities apart and put member safety at risk.”
What does that mean? Your guess is as good as mine. Voting to help Israel defend itself from attacks on civilians is ripping communities apart? Please, tell us more. As for the part about member safety, whose safety is at risk and why? Fortunately, the Independent also spoke to Rep. Dingell who was with AOC at the time. Dingell offered her own explanation. I’ve highlighted one part of it for reasons I’ll explain below.
Democratic Rep Debbie Dingell, of Michigan, who was with Ms Ocasio-Cortez, said she and Ms Ocasio-Cortez was upset because of the way the Iron Dome’s funding was brought to the House floor, saying how it never went through committee.
“It’s very upsetting to people like she and I when it’s not in regular order, there were a lot of different opinions,” Ms Dingell, who voted yes on the legislation, noting how Ms Ocasio-Cortez has a significant Jewish community in her district. “The way that it was handled, and several of us have made it very well-known to leadership, it should never have been brought up that way and it should not have been out of regular order.”
When I wrote about this story yesterday, I really thought there could be some alternative explanation. It could have been anything. Frankly, I sort of figured AOC would lie about it, i.e. even if everyone was right about why she was really crying, she’d come up with a plausible excuse and claim everyone had been wrong about her. Maybe she’d jazz it up a bit and claim critics had objectified her emotions or some other word salad of leftist buzzwords.
But here it is a day later and Rep. Dingell is basically confirming this was exactly what we all thought it was. AOC has a lot of Jews in her district, many of whom support protecting Jewish civilians in Israel from Palestinian rockets, i.e. they support Iron Dome. Dingell tried to spin this a bit as being about the lack of regular order. I guess if this had gone through a committee, AOC could have signaled her protest in a way that would lead to fewer headlines. But because it happened fast, she had to be willing to risk upsetting some voters in her own district if she wanted to side with the Squad.
In the end, she just couldn’t do it. She felt pressured by the existence of pro-Israel Jews in her district and voted present instead of no. So the NY Times was right when it suggested this was an internal battle between far-left principle and the existence of Jews who feel differently (and who vote). The fact that AOC was literally heartbroken about not being able to cast a pointless protest vote over a beneficial defensive system that saves innocent Israeli lives tells you just how emotionally committed AOC is to her own left-wing extremism. It’s literally gut-wrenching for her to be reasonable.
Update: And here is AOC’s full statement on the incident. I’ve read it and, well…read it yourself. There’s a lot about needing more time to have conversations within the community that is intentionally vague. I think she’s saying she wanted to vote no but she knew people would be outraged. Maybe if she’d had more time to explain why they shouldn’t be outraged she’d have stuck to her guns but because the vote happened fast, she had to back away. Here’s the key paragraph. She’s still sounds pretty emotional about it.
Yes, I wept. I wept at the complete lack of care for the human beings that are impacted by these decisions, I wept at an institution choosing a path of maximum volatility and minimum consideration for its own political convenience. And I wept at the complete lack of regard I often feel our party has to its most vulnerable and endangered members and communities – because the death threats and dangerous vitriol we’d inevitably receive by rushing such a sensitive, charged, and under-considered vote weren’t worth delaying it for even a few hours to help us do the work necessary to open a conversation of understanding.
This was a pointless protest vote. It moved quickly because an overwhelming number of members on both sides of the aisle were in agreement that Iron Dome funding is a good cause. AOC is just miserable because the 420 who voted for this didn’t give the 9 who voted against it time to grandstand about Palestine. She’s heartbroken because she didn’t have time to lib-splain to Jews in her district why a no vote wasn’t anti-Israel. But read it for yourself.
A note to our NY-14 constituents, from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pic.twitter.com/mOmJrgFa4G
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) September 24, 2021
Update: This was pretty much my reaction. She rambles on but you have to guess at what she means.
AOC just posted a 4-page statement where she purports to explain why she voted PRESENT instead of NO on US funding for Israel.
If anyone could find the part where she actually explains why she voted PRESENT instead of NO, please flag it for me. I genuinely can't find it. https://t.co/3dLNWRibat
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 24, 2021
LOL. Exactly – AOC's entire statement is actually a passionate argument for voting NO (like 4 of her Squad colleagues did). Except she didn't vote no. She voted PRESENT. And after this statement, her reasons for doing so remain as mysterious as ever:https://t.co/k48LD2KnzN
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 24, 2021