AOC Shuns Legislative Work for Spotlight, Earns Pelosi’s Ire
It must be tough, going from a hardworking bartending gig, to a $174,000 legislative job with few actual responsibilities, only to be told that you might on occasion have to legislate a little.
Can you imagine?
But that was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's complaint on WNYC's "New Yorker Hour" earlier today. Apparently the stress of having to sit in Congress, as a congresswoman, and endure congressional-type activities is cutting into her real job of being on social media and shedding fake tears over empty parking lots. She said, "I was assigned to some of the busiest committees and four subcommittees. So my hands are full. And sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to keep me busy."
"They" being House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who in AOC's mind is so threatened by AOC that she stuck the young congresscritter on a bunch of committees, just to keep her from tweeting mean things about Pelosi.
AOC also sounds resentful that Pelosi didn't fully empower the 29-year-old frosh congresscritter to completely remake the economy right away. Ocasio-Cortez complained:
I had made very specific requests which I thought were rather reasonable for the Select Committee on Climate Change. I asked that it have a mission to try to draft legislation by 2020 so that — so that we essentially have a 2 year mission to put together whether it’s a Green New Deal or whether it’s some sweeping climate change legislation that — that the select committee have a legislative mission. I asked for it to have subpoena power which most committees do. The last — the last select committee had subpoena power but now this one doesn’t. And I asked for the members who sit on the select committee to not take any fossil fuel money. And none of those requests were accommodated, and so I didn’t join the committee.”
And these other committees she's on are just a total waste of her vital Twitter time, because they don't allow her to remake Congress (and the country) in her image.
Pelosi, to her credit, isn't having any of it. “You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK,” she told other House Dems in a closed-door meeting earlier today. Pelosi's ire isn't limited to AOC, including three other progressive Young Turk congresswomen -- Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley -- in her caustic remarks.
And given a friendly opportunity to back down or soften her stance, well...
While some see the feud as Pelosi attempting to protect her majority by reining in her party's most obnoxious voices, progressives are having none of it. HuffPo senior reporter Zach Carter opined on Monday that Pelosi is "losing touch with the country," and went on to argue:
This is not how a savvy leader rallies her troops. And it’s certainly not the way anyone attuned to the demographics of the modern Democratic Party talks about its next generation of political talent.
Really? Whatever you might think about her politics, Pelosi is probably the sharpest vote-counter and arm-twister on Capitol Hill since LBJ ran the Senate as his virtual fiefdom. And if Carter is right that a Millennial demagogue, a rabid antisemite, and an alleged brother-marrying anti-American migrant best represent the Democrats' "next generation" of political talent, then I'm not sure there is much of a next generation. And judging by the legislation AOC, Tlaib, and Rashid have yet to pass or even write, not much talent, either.
Unless you count their talent for relentless self-promotion, which might not go as far -- or last as long -- as they think.