Sometimes you see a confluence of opinion that leads you to believe that you are being fed a heaping spoonful baby-sh** while someone is trying, desperately, to convince you that it is actually an exotic version of butterscotch.
Case in point: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
Today the Washington Examiner runs a story headlined: The Right is giving Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the Trump treatment.
As enjoyable as it may be to expose an elected official for not understanding aspects of our government, it has become apparent that conservatives are doing to Ocasio-Cortez what the left has been doing to Trump for the last three and a half years: concentrating on every misstatement as a way to highlight how out of place they are in D.C. politics.
And conservatives are doing themselves no favors here. They’re underestimating her. Liberals lowered their guard when Trump ran for president because his gaffes were so frequently mocked that few of his political opponents saw him as a legitimate threat to power.
If the question still comes up in your head as to how Trump became a political juggernaut (and won the presidency), it starts with what’s happening to Ocasio-Cortez right now. Conservatives are risking a lot by only focusing on her gaffes, which in turn is solidfying her power among the Democratic base. To use an old adage, even bad publicity is good publicity.
Lo and behold:
AOC is coming across as a normal person and she has figured out a way to get through to young would-be voters on the left while getting conservatives to elevate her every word. We’ve teased her about her intelligence from the beginning but now been outsmarted. Respect.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) November 19, 2018
Sure seems like conservatives are making a mistake* in trying to demonize Ocasio-Cortez when she comes across as being very relatable, relative to other politicians.
* Not to imply it's necessarily a rational or calculated decision.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 19, 2018
What always throws me is the focus on some term or topic that AOC gets slightly wrong, while at the same time writing off any Trump gaffe. Imagine if AOC said that Finland doesn't have forest fires because they rake the forest floors.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) November 19, 2018
Weigel, of course, is as deeply dishonest as anyone in the media. This comment is particularly comical considering there is literally, actually, no lie he won’t spread about Trump. For instance, this one.
The argument as far as it is coherent, seems to be two-fold. On the left, you have people who are afraid that the constant emphasis on the shallowness of Ocasio Cortez will do to her what was done the GHW Bush (remember the supermarket scanner) and Dan Quayle (potatoe) and George W. Bush and Mitt Romney. The same thing was attempted with Donald Trump, who provided a much richer and deeper vein of material, but that tactic played Titanic to the iceberg represented by the $5 billion in free media given Trump by the Democrat media conglomerate to enable him to beat a talented GOP primary field. On the right, you have the primal Call to Lose. Let’s face it. A non-trivial number of people on the right would rather lose than win because losing is liberating. It means precious, deeply-held personal principles are secure. It means theories never need to be tested. It means a lot less work than actually winning and trying to put principles into action. Here, either disingenuously or because the Call to Lose is so deeply ingrained that it is reflexive, the analogy is drawn from Ocasio Cortez to Trump with the warning that if we make fun of her, we’ll be making people like her and she’ll eventually be president.
Let’s be honest. Ocasio Cortez’s election is the result of a dumb, fat, and happy product of the New York City Democrat machine not taking his primary challenger seriously. Period. That’s it. Once she won the primary, she had the general election sewn up. She seems to have developed a fanboi following among thirty-something male pundits…odd, eh?…who have created in this first term politician from a yellow dog Democrat district a national figure (uh…uh…she has 800,000 Instagram followers, she is just sooooo kewl). She’s not dumb but neither is she particularly bright. The odds of her metastasizing into something greater than another Jerry Nadler, that is, a career House member from New York City, approach zero UNLESS we are all complicit in her rise to national prominence.
If there is something we should have learned from the obvious political trajectories of both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, it is that you can’t lay back and let these kinds of personalities gain strength. If we wait until she gains experience, while we’ve oohed-and-ahhed over her being relatable (does your spouse wear $600 shoes? Mine doesn’t and, unless my Lotto strategy gets better, won’t ever), we’ll see that progression to a New York Senate seat and a cabinet position and another round of “it’s my turn.”
The way we stop that from happening is to keep focusing on the stupid stuff she says and the stupid ideas that she has.
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 19, 2018
Founder of the @womensmarch calls for current leaders to step down for allowing “anti-Semitism, anti- LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform by their refusal to separate themselves from groups that espouse these racist, hateful beliefs.“ https://t.co/gafiEEfX0e
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 19, 2018
Give her future Senate primary opponent something to work with.
More to the point, there is no reason to treat this twit with kid gloves. The stuff she’s being lampooned for it stuff that any politician would be laughed at over. If she is this once-in-a-generation socialist political talent her fan club thinks she is, we can’t let her slide. If she is, as I think, a flash-in-the-pan, then we have nothing to lose. But declaring unilateral disarmament because we’re afraid of her or because we think she speaks to “younger voters” or because she is arguably cute and we’d really like to interview her is ridiculous.
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