Over the years, here at RedState, we’ve chronicled Failure Theater with the same loving care that Hollywood Reporter lavishes on the latest blockbuster with a transsexual or gender fluid (ewwww) non-traditional leading actor or whatever. If you aren’t familiar, Failure Theater is a term that I believe to have been coined by Ace at Ace of Spades. It takes place when a political party, almost always Republicans, makes a big show, usually accompanied by a blizzard of fundraising appeals, about fighting for or against some policy and then caves on it at the last minute. They never had any intention of trying to win, but they did want to create the illusion of fighting for those of us out in the cheap seats. Why do they do this? Because they are so compromised that they fear being left off the guest list for the best parties if they win, and because they value the issue more than they value resolving the issue. It works best when the other party has the White House; look at Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander, and, yes, Mitch McConnell under Obama. But it is particularly useful if your party controls the White House and you run the risk of winning. There would be a pretend slap fight in Congress; then we’d be told, “We really could have won if we’d just had more seats, and please do send us money.” The best examples of this, prior to Trump, were immigration and abortion. What did George Bush and a Republican congress do on either subject for six years? Nothing.
Now, with a Democrat president on the horizon, House Democrats are discovering that they, too, can play Failure Theater.
For some years, “Medicare for all” has been a Democrat dream. Why? I have no idea. I know very few people who have Medicare who prefer it to their insurance while working, but that is neither here nor there. A few days ago, a comedian and leftist activist named Jimmy Dore came up with a neat idea. Because Nancy Pelosi has a razor-thin majority in the House, maybe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, member of Congress and noted former bartender and high school science fair winner, and some other loudmouths should leverage that vulnerability to make Pelosi commit to a vote on the Holy Grail of Progressivism.
Not only can this work, it’s exactly how politics is supposed to work. You extract SOMETHING for your vote. Med4all is the most popular policy idea in entire country. If progressives don’t do this they are revealing that they are careerists who will never fight for anything. pic.twitter.com/XiuKHBrSfz
— Jimmy Dore (@jimmy_dore) December 12, 2020
If, as AOC has claimed, she is really in DC to shake up the power structure and fight for progressive principles, well, Dore is on target. You never have more power than when they really need your vote.
Two things proceeded from that. First off, AOC’s army of frustrated incel white knights and winged monkeys waddled to her defense, trashing Dore for being insufficiently respectful of AOC’s magnificence. This even though Dore has been on the front lines in the struggle against (yes, against) human rights and freedom and personal responsibility for longer than AOC has been able to vote:
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) December 13, 2020
Second, AOC responded in a way that shows she knows how Washington works.
In contrast, you can use leverage to push for things that *can* happen and change lives – ie a $15 min wage vote in the first 100 days (doable), elevating longtime progressive champions to important positions of leadership (also doable)
That’s the opportunity cost to weigh
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 12, 2020
If I had a dime for every time I’ve been told that it makes no sense to force a vote on a conservative cause because we’d lose, I’d be wealthy.
What is going on here is simple. AOC is no longer part of a progressive insurgency. She has been co-opted by Nancy Pelosi and now sees herself as being on the cusp of being a Congressional chieftain in her own right. This is especially true as there is (probably) going to be a Democrat president. For her to move toward a position of power in the Democrat caucus, she is required to be seen as powerful. The way she does that is by manipulating the people who think she’s bright and articulate (and dare I say clean) into thinking she’s fighting for them when she is just using them.