She’s got millions of followers on Twitter. The media hangs on her every word. She is credited — fairly or unfairly — with jumpstarting the radical transformation of the Democratic Party. She makes extremism cool.
She’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, member of Congress representing the Bronx, and a proud Puerto Rican/Hispanic/Woman/ green/ socialist.
According to a study by the non-partisan Center for Effective Lawmaking, she’s also an incompetent radical. AOC was rated 230 out of 240 Democratic congresspeople based on some simple, but telling criteria.
How many bills has she introduced? How many bills of hers have gone to committee? How many have been voted on? In other words, what real-world impact has AOC had on the legislative process?
The answer is not too damn much.
AOC introduced a total of 21 bills which the center defined as “substantive” — but that is where the story ends. Her legislation received no action in committees, no floor votes, and none ever became law, according to the center, which takes its data from Congress.gov.
“She introduced a lot of bills, but she was not successful at having them receive any sort of action in committee or beyond committee and if they can’t get through committee they cannot pass the House,” Alan Wiseman, a Vanderbilt political scientist and co-director of the center, told The Post.
“It’s clear that she was trying to get her legislative agenda moving and engage with the lawmaking process,” Wiseman added “But she wasn’t as successful as some other members were — even among [other] freshmen — at getting people to pay attention to her legislation.”
Getting people to pay attention to her is what she’s all about — and not much else. She’s got an incendiary tongue and throws tantrums as well or better than most other teenage girls. But calling people names — especially fellow Democrats — will not win friends and influence people.
Democratic House insiders said many of Ocasio-Cortez’s colleagues found her approach alienating.
“Tweeting is easy, governing is hard. You need to have friends. You need to understand the committee process, you need to be willing to make sacrifices,” said one. “Her first day in Congress … she decided to protest outside of Nancy Pelosi’s office.”
A second Democratic insider who worked with her in the New York delegation added that “legislation was never her focus. It was media and narrative.”
AOC has been a goldmine for both parties. Her antics raise a lot of money for herself and the Democratic Party. She has also become the face of American radicalism. For Republicans, putting her front and center in fundraising efforts is pure gold.
I’m sure she glories in the attention. She might not know how a bill becomes law, but she knows how to rile up her supporters and get them outraged about absolutely nothing.
AOC has chosen the path of the revolutionary. They called them “fire eaters” before the civil war — members who weren’t interested in passing legislation, only in goosing the opposition. Engaging them in a civil conversation was impossible. They eventually made Congress so unworkable that members began to bring pistols to the floor. And then came Lincoln’s election and Fort Sumter and they were gone.
It’s not likely AOC will disappear anytime soon. But we should hope that the Democrats will be able to marginalize their crazies rather than giving them free rein to carry on with their scorched earth tactics.