Yesterday The Nation published a piece titled “The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Effect” which reads like a summary of recent history written by someone in love with the subject who thinks you should be in love too.
It’s a midsummer night, and I am sitting with [Janice] Manlove, a 64-year-old retired postal worker, on the back of a hay wagon decked out with campaign signs for Democratic congressional candidate James Thompson, a civil-rights lawyer whose challenge to a Republican incumbent has attracted the support of Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. We’re waiting to join the parade that kicks off the annual Sedgwick County Fair in this community of 2,100. It’s almost 100 degrees and wickedly humid. Manlove is irritated—not with the weather, which she’s used to, but with the politicians and pundits who say that Middle America won’t take to Ocasio-Cortez and her message of working-class solidarity. “That’s just crazy,” Manlove says. “People love her.”
Yes, the people love her and her critics are all wrong about her:
Critics attack Ocasio-Cortez as inexperienced and unrealistic—in the words of National Review, “the unserious face of an unserious movement.” They could not be more wrong. Ocasio-Cortez can wonk out with the most dedicated policy analysts. A graduate of Boston University with an economics degree and a passion for digging deeply into budgets, she has hosted campaign events and exchanged ideas with Stephanie Kelton, the “rock-star economist” who contributes to the New Economic Perspectives blog. Ocasio-Cortez talks about “reprioritization”: having the “political and moral courage” to place the needs of working families ahead of the demands of billionaires for tax cuts, and ahead of a military budget packed with items that the Pentagon “didn’t even ask for.”…
Ocasio-Cortez takes it all in stride. When Sean Hannity exposed her “dangerous” platform planks (“Medicare for All, Housing as a Human Right…”), the candidate tweeted: “Pretty much!” And that’s what really has people on the right shaking in fear: Ocasio-Cortez has a gift for explaining democratic-socialist ideas as common sense.
The idea that people on the right are shaking in fear is so laughable. Look, I’m willing to grant that Ocasio-Cortez, like a lot of socialists, is pretty good at spinning a populist speech when she’s in front of an adoring and supportive crowd. But, unlike The Nation, most people on the right have also noticed how spectacularly bad Ocasio-Cortez is at facing even mild questions about her beliefs, her agenda, or how she would pay for any of proposals.
From her appearance on PBS’ “Firing Line,” to her recent comments about Medicare for All on CNN, Ocasio-Cortez has distinguished herself with the number of truly head-scratching blunders she has made on television in a very short period of time. The Washington Post has already fact-checked her on five separate claims and she hasn’t even been elected yet. It’s starting to look like a trainwreck. One Democrat told the Daily Beast, “She’s clearly decided to ride the wave of the moment. I do think that’s a tricky game to get right.”
No one is quaking with fear over the thought of facing off with Ocasio-Cortez. On the contrary, conservatives like Ben Shapiro are lining up and willing to pay for the chance to interrogate her. She’s in over he head with Trevor Noah for goodness sake. This isn’t fear it’s eagerness:
Just reminding everyone that @Ocasio2018 is turning down $100,000 to a charity of her choosing— because she doesn’t want to debate her socialist platform with me.
Weird. I thought socialists LOVE taking money they don’t earn. https://t.co/3MZa7qbjml
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) August 13, 2018
The only person acting afraid at this point is Ocasio-Cortez herself who declined Ben Shapiro’s offer to debate for charity by comparing it to catcalling (a polite “No thank you” would have sufficed). But none of this seems to be getting through to her socialist cheer squad at The Nation. In their eyes, she’s doing great so far. All I can say to that is what so many other conservatives have said: I hope she keeps talking. The more the better. If this is what fear feels like it’s a type I haven’t experienced before.