When Margaret Hoover asked socialist rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questions during her Firing Line interview on Friday, the candidate who obliterated 10-term Democrat Joe Crowley in the primaries in June stumbled, dithered, and then admitted she really didn’t know what she was talking about. She characterized the generations-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an “occupation” of Palestine by Israel:
I think that what people are starting to see — at least in the occupation of Palestine — is an increasing crisis of humanitarian condition[s], and that to me is just where I tend to come from on this issue.
To her credit Hoover pressed the young socialist to explain exactly what she meant. Said Ocasio-Cortez, after a long pause:
Oh, I think — what I meant is that the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas and places where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to their housing and homes.
Recognizing the incoherency of Cortez's response, Hoover pushed further, asking her to explain exactly what she meant. Ocasio-Cortez admitted: “I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue,” but forged ahead into unknown territory anyway:
I am a firm believer in finding a two-state solution on this issue, and I’m happy to sit down with leaders on both of these….
For me, I just look at things through a human-rights lens, and I may not use the rights words [but] I know this is a very intense issue.
Hoover then changed the subject, to capitalism, asking the young socialist, “Do you think that capitalism has failed to deliver for working class Americans?” Hoover then cited the booming economy and record low unemployment. Said Ocasio-Cortez: “Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Capitalism has not always existed in the world and will not always exist in the world.” Hoover asked if she thought capitalism would survive, and the candidate for the House of Representatives from the 14th Congressional District of New York just shrugged, admitted that it was a good question, and said the system will “evolve.”
When she was running for office, challenging Joe Crowley, who was the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House and slated to take over from Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house if Democrats regained control in November, she had pat answers to the world’s problems: Medicare for everyone, a federal jobs guarantee, tuition-free public college education, abolition of ICE, more gun controls, and ending the privatization of prisons.
When seeking support Ocasio-Cortez would look to her membership in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for it. The group that propelled her to victory in the primary (with the help of Black Lives Matter, the Brand New Congress, and the Justice Democrats, among others) has a clear path to socializing the United States and turning it into a European-style socialist nirvana. The mission is anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist, Democratic Socialist, Eco-Socialist, Multi-tendency, and Socialist feminization. The DSA supports the restructuring of America’s gender and cultural relationships in order to make them more “equitable.” This is the same group that has in the past supported Walter Mondale, Jesse Jackson, John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders.
But get her out from under those handy slogans, and the bright shining star of the new Democrats dims considerably. As The New American reported, following the shooting in the offices of the Capital Gazette on June 28, she tweeted: “Horrifying. This is our nation’s 195th mass shooting this year.”
The number — 195 — was apparently pulled out of the air, but it sufficed for her purposes. As The New American noted, following a failed effort to find the source for that number, “She was counting on that number — unsourced but likely accepted by her adoring fans — to confirm her position that guns are responsible for such shootings, while leaving the blame on the shooter entirely out of the conversation.”
One of her adoring fans is the 20-year editor of the slick uber-sophisticated New Yorker magazine, David Remnick. In his 19-page paean of praise for the rising star in the Democrat universe, Remnick wrote that Ocasio-Cortez “has natural presence. She is also well mannered, disciplined, shrewd, and self-possessed.” He wrote that when she entered “a pizza parlor in Grand Central, her waiter nearly swooned.”
The highlight of the article was when Remnick asked the budding newcomer to Democrat politics where she planned to live in Washington once she won the election in November, Ocasio-Cortez was once again caught off-guard, admitting that she had “not a clue.”
After spending hours with Ocasio-Cortez, Remnick was forced to admit: “It remains unclear whether her story will be the start of a trend in the midterms and beyond … [but] what is certain is the Ocasio-Cortez has energized Democratic Party politics in New York and, to an extent, the country.”
Based on early public interviews, what is clear is that the bright shining Democrat light from the Bronx is a long way from being ready for prime time.