The strangest thing has been happening over the last couple of months. Ever since winning her primary in Queens, I've been hearing an awful lot about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Most of it negative. Some of it has been her own doing, like when she got into a pointless Twitter fight with Joe Crowley over nothing. But much of the negative coverage has been ridiculous. But not just ridiculous, the kind of ridiculous that has an awfully familiar taste to it. Let's start with CBSNews.com:
Ocasio-Cortez's gaffes have become so frequent--and harmful--that a cottage industry has risen up on the Right to trumpet them. She's become a staple of talk radio and clips of her less-than-flattering moments frequent Fox News. Websites like the Washington Free Beacon and the Daily Caller delight in highlighting the latest misstep from the new poster person for American Progressivism.
Curiously, CBSNews.com doesn't seem nearly as concerned about the plethora of gaffes from Republicans. Why, just this week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted about the dreaded censorship of Twitter:
But it turns out that his personal settings were responsible, not Twitter. This is one of the most powerful men in Congress tasked with passing laws about social media and he didn't understand the most basic aspect of it. But, you know, AOC's gaffes mark her as "not ready for prime time" for some reason while other people's gaffes get a bit of snark and are then quietly and quickly forgotten.
Hmmm...minor missteps are blown out of proportion while other people's missteps are minimized. I know I've seen this somewhere before....
But wait, there's more!
And this is the Ocasio-Cortez Effect: Americans are suspicious of the idea of socialism (though they are fine with "socialist" policies like welfare and Medicare), and typical voters tend to dismiss its advocates as naïve. The error-filled answers and shaky logic offered by Ocasio-Cortez confirm the assumption that, however compassionate these progressive programs are, they have no idea how to pay for them. The fact that Ocasio-Cortez still doesn't have a coherent answer when asked how she'll pay for all the new spending she wants reflects poorly on her—but is even more damaging to her socialist ideals.
Oh, I see. So when someone offers economic plans without a clear idea of how to pay for them, they're "naive" and they make people "suspicious"? That's a fascinating concept! I wonder when the press will apply this same metric to Republicans? Paul Ryan has been offering economic plans that are utter gibberish for years, completely unable to articulate in the slightest how they would work of who would pay for them. Instead of derision and suspicion, though, the press lauded him as a policy wonk and feted him as a hero of serious fiscal conservatism. Heck, he even got to run for Vice President and later become Speaker of the House! Then he proceeded to put the lie to every "fiscally conservative" principle he supposedly stood for by pushing through a $1.5 Trillion (with a "T") tax cut for the rich that exploded the deficit. The press, of course, failed to call him to task for this in any serious way. Now who's naive? But that's all criticism from a conservative writer (although the "liberal" mainstream media echoes a great deal of these themes about AOC). We're to expect that sort of thing, yes? Sadly, it doesn't get any better when it's the media on the left as Politico delightfully cheered AOC's shortcomings in "Down Goes Socialism", a look at how poorly the Bernie (and, by extension, AOC) wing of the Democratic Party is doing. It's true that Bernie and AOC are not performing particularly well in primaries and special elections. One gets the distinct feeling that if AOC were to lose her race against Anthony Pappas, the press would never give her the time of day again. One is forced to wonder, however, why the same can't be said of Steve Bannon, the failed and exiled white nationalist kingmaker. Not for nothing, Bannon's strategy to remake the Republican Party by running anti-establishment candidates on a platform of white nationalism failed miserably. But while the press sneers at AOC for pushing an anti-establishment agenda based on actual economic populism that exists in every other industrialized nation, Bannon is called "brilliant" for pushing a strategy that's already a proven loser here. He literally cost Republicans a Senate seat in deep deep red Alabama that may end up costing the GOP control of the Senate if the midterms go particularly poorly for them. This doesn't seem to dampen the media's eagerness to give Bannon, a known Nazi sympathizer, as much air time as possible. The contrast is startling once you notice it. Other complaints leveled at Ocasio-Cortez is that at 28 years old, she's too young but Paul Ryan was a whole whopping 16 years older when he ran for Vice President. That's the same age as Sarah Palin when she ran for VP. If 44 is old enough to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, 28 is not too young to be a first term congresswoman. But this is the same type of crap Nancy Pelosi gets about her age. She's 78 so she needs to retire, a problem the 76-year-old Mitch McConnell curiously doesn't seem to suffer from. Hillary Clinton was also too old but somehow neither Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders, both her senior in age, were encumbered by their advanced years. Joe Kennedy III is only 37 and people are already talking about him running for president. So strange how only women on the left in leadership roles seem to have such fragility associated with how old or young they are. But, really, this seems to have more to do with how outspoken (and female and to the left) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is. If there's one the thing the "liberal" press hates more than anything else, it's that. It's the only thing that can explain their total freakout over AOC barring the press from two townhall events for undocumented immigrants, survivors of domestic abuse, and other people with a perfectly legitimate interest in not having their faces plastered on TV or the internet. At no point did AOC make a huge deal about the press being the "enemy of the people" or accuse them of being danger and she made it clear that regular townhalls would absolutely be open to the press. Just not these two. Yet, the media lost its mind and accused her of, seriously, of being just like Donald Trump which is weird because politicians constantly have events the press is not allowed to attend. Why the meltdown over these two when the reason was not the usual sleazy one of being free to say horrible things about minorities or poor people but rather to protect the identities of the most vulnerable? It's almost like the press had a double standard. Where I have I heard this before? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez going to win her race because she's in a deep blue district and she's going to be there as long as she wants because she's going to be popular with her constituents provided she's vocal about their needs. But my guess is that AOC will face massive resistance from the press for her entire political career, especially if she seeks higher office and that should make your blood boil if you're a Democrat regardless if you like her or her politics. If you're a Hillary fan, you watched the press aid in the destruction of her candidacy with the most unbalanced coverage in modern political history. If you're a progressive that hates Hillary, you might have thought this was awesome but now you're seeing what that media prejudice looks like from the other side. How's it feel? How do you think you'll like another 25 years of it? There is something deeply wrong in the press that targets women on the left that get too "uppity" and now that a woman-powered blue wave is about to rewrite the political landscape, we need to start really addressing the roots of that problem. If not, we're going to spend the next several years listening to a chorus of "women can't handle power" bullshit from a press desperately trying to convince America to put the Good Ol' Boys back in charge of everything. If we don't hold them accountable, Ocasio-Cortez won't be the media's new Hillary Clinton, every Democratic woman will and that can't be allowed.