It’s only been a week since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez started her tenure as the congresswoman representing New York’s 14th district, but it was one inundated with a litany of offenses — including sexism, condescension, and a despicable degree of harassment.
On Wednesday night, the 29-year-old member of Congress took to Twitter to denounce the conservative media outlet The Daily Caller for posting a story about an apparent fake nude photo of her that had been circulating among select Republicans. Worse, they couldn’t be bothered to denote the picture in question was not of Ocasio-Cortez in the article’s headline. Even if she were not a member of Congress, she is a woman, a person; how vile to exploit her in this manner.
The Daily Caller refused to apologize, which lead to Ocasio-Cortez once again taking the publication to task, noting that their statement offered no admission of wrongdoing and adding, “The @DailyCaller, funded by @TuckerCarlson (at @FoxNews), has a well-documented relationship with white supremacy. Unsurprising they’re targeting me.”
Although The Daily Caller may be the most pathetic examples of how Ocasio-Cortez has been failed in her first week as a congresswoman, they are not the only ones guilty of not treating Ocasio-Cortez as the serious politician she is. Anderson Cooper’s 60 Minutes interview with Ocasio-Cortez was disappointing. Climate change is real and its potentially dire consequences on humanity have been repeatedly made painfully clear. Yet, when it came to her plans to tackle that or other issues like healthcare, whose burdens on American society need no further explanation, Cooper spoke to her in an incredulous tone that has since sparked online backlash.
As she explained to Cooper: “No one asks how we’re gonna pay for this Space Force. No one asked how we paid for a $2 trillion tax cut. We only ask how we pay for it on issues of housing, healthcare and education. How do we pay for it? With the same exact mechanisms that we pay for military increases for this Space Force. For all of these— ambitious policies.”
As for Cooper’s response to Ocasio-Cortez’s rightful claim that President Trump is racist – “How can you say that?” – I would also like to introduce the handsome Vanderbilt to the color of the sky: Blue…you know, like Beyoncé’s daughter.
For the record, despite Cooper’s invocation of the word “radical” to describe Oscasio-Cortez’s tax policy, actual economists have highlighted a top 70 percent tax rate is anything but. Meanwhile, for his entire time spent in Congress, Paul Ryan was treated as a kind of wunderkind and policy wonk because he could regurgitate lines from the Ayn Rand books he read in high school (despite proving himself to be a perpetual hypocrite and overall farce).
Ocasio-Cortez’s 60 Minutes interview was followed by a verbal scolding from Whoopi Goldberg, who on Monday’s episode of The View, took issue with the congresswoman’s assertion that when it comes to Democrats, “We as a party have compromised too much.” Goldberg countered with a lot of Democrats have “been busting their asses” before issuing a declaration.
“Before you start pooping on people and what they’ve done, you got to do something, too,” Goldberg argued. “So you just got in there, and I know you got lots of good ideas, but I would encourage you to sit still for a minute and learn the job.”
I love Whoopi, but one plus one does not equal 3,861. The notion that the Democratic Party has acquiesced too much to the Republican Party based on past losses suffered by older politicians is not a new argument even among older politicians (meet Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren). As for learning the job, well, a bevy of Republicans – including House Minority Whip Steve Scalise – griped about Ocasio-Cortez’s tax proposal only to be clowned for not understanding how marginal tax rates actually rate.
What was that about experience again?
Ocasio-Cortez is not perfect, of course; like any human, she makes mistakes. Yet a handful of ordinary slip-ups caused conservative columnist Max Boot to liken her to Sarah Palin and Donald Trump in a Washington Post column. But mistakes don’t make you (for one, Ocasio-Cortez acknowledges her errors publicly and promises to do better). If it did, Boot, a former Iraq War drum beater, is more of their triplet than Ocasio-Cortez could ever be.
Regardless of the various attempts to demean Ocasio-Cortez and diminish her rising star, she proved during her appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show this week why the people are increasingly with her.
No one has anointed her as the second coming. No one asked that she be deemed as such. She does, however, deserve a level of respect that is afforded to other politicians but is missing in much of the coverage about her. She is a serious politician with serious ideas that ought to be taken seriously. She speaks with a level of clarity and bluntness many other politicians can’t fathom; she speaks to issues many of her generation feel have been largely ignored by both political parties. It seems anyone conditioned to the status quo is most threatened by Ocasio-Cortez. And with her candor, her transparency, and the way she’s helping to reignite millennial interest in politics, they definitely should be.