AOC and “Squad” vs Nancy Pelosi

Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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45 Responses

  1. Chip Daniels says:

    This reminds me of the LBJ biopic with Bryan Cranston “All The Way”, where LBJ is frantically negotiating between Southern Democrats and the Civil Rights leaders, trying to bring the Civil Rights Act to completion.

    He wheedles, flatters, placates, and outright lies to get each side to make concessions and compromises. We saw Pelosi do the same thing during Obamacare, where she had to negotiate half a dozen different options and alternatives depending on which wing of the party was in need.

    But the important part is that the extreme edge needs to be defined, and the unreachable goal has to be pointed to before you can talk compromise. Because AOC and her gang actually represent millions of Americans who really do want Medicare for All and really would like to see Trump impeached.Report

    • Sure. I have no problem with the AOC wing existing. I do have problem with them thinking that the only thing keeping their agenda at bay is a lack of will.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to Michael Siegel says:

        “I do have problem with them thinking that the only thing keeping their agenda at bay is a lack of will.”

        Per Hidden Tribes, AOC’s wing is approx 8% of the population. Anyone who reads the above quote and thinks, “Yeah but…” is truly living in a fantasy. There is a HUGE disconnect between the SJ Left and the rest of the country. I have no doubt that many of them think they just need more brave soldiers, but geez that isn’t reading the room very well.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Well, most of them are so woke that they would mistake a UAW meeting for Klan rally, and the UAW members are probably well aware of that.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          You could easily say the same about any political group, because every political faction contains unpopular stances.

          What percentage of Americans want to hang women who get abortions?

          What percentage of Americans looks at that picture of a father and daughter floating face down and shrugs in indifference?

          The answer to both of those questions is simultaneously “Not very many” but also, “Wow that many??”

          By the same token, things like first trimester abortion, gun control, breaking up large corporations, and a more progressive tax system poll extremely well with American generally.Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Serious question – let’s say one of the candidates just adopted all of the AOC’s positions and ran on that as her proxy…do you see them getting the nod next year?Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              How many votes would she get?
              Not that many, but WOW that many??

              The radical wing of the Democratic Party is still on the periphery of power.

              Whereas the radical right, the ones who really do want to hang abortion providers, occupy seats in the Senate, SCOTUS, and the White House.

              There is a bigger disconnect between the median Republican officeholder and America, than the median Democrat.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “The radical wing of the Democratic Party is still on the periphery of power.”

                So we agree that AOC’s agenda is not a winner right now?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                But I suspect that if her proposals were stripped of her name and party ID, they would fare very differently.

                Like those things where some professor reads from the Declaration of Independence or the Communist Manifesto to people on the street, and a shockingly large number of them think one is the other.

                Notice how even hard righties are now going around using terms like “crony capitalism” and the “global elite”, and talking about reining in corporate power but since they are imagining effete liberals, they think its like some Burkean conservatism.

                Because honestly, and I know I am beating a drum here, but the divide between our tribes has very little to do with any sort of policy, and everything about race and culture.

                The problem with AOC’s agenda is AOC.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “Because honestly, and I know I am beating a drum here, but the divide between our tribes has very little to do with any sort of policy, and everything about race and culture.”

                I’ll give you culture…race is mostly manufactured by the SJ Left, but we can debate that another day.Report

  2. Brandon Berg says:

    Because AOC and her gang actually represent millions of Americans who really do want Medicare for All and really would like to see Trump impeached.

    Some of them are even old enough to vote!Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Good point. How many of AOCs Twitter following is people of voting age?Report

      • Moreover, how many of them vote? Even in 2018, the 18-29 demographic lagged the 65+ demo by 30 points in voter participation.Report

        • She won her primary with something like 18K votes. Her General with 110K-ish. Perspective is important here.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            Her district’s activist wing showed up for a primary that nobody else was paying attention to, because it was a safe Democrat seat with a high-ranking incumbent, so the primary just didn’t matter.

            After the Amazon debacle, those voters know it matters a great deal, and a thousand seasoned New York steely-eyed politicians know that they, and even their odd cousin, is more experienced and better qualified to hold it than AOC is.

            For primary purposes, I would regard it as essentially an open seat.Report

  3. Michael Cain says:

    Pelosi actually passed a bill somewhat to the left of the final Obamacare. Eg, the House bill included a public option. Reid had to drop that to appease Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman. A public option might have passed in the Senate if that’s what came out of a conference committee, but Mark Brown won the Massachusetts special election, Reid lost his filibuster-proof majority, and Pelosi’s choice in the House was suddenly approve the Senate Bill or get nothing.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    The Later Silent Generation and early Boomers seem to be unwilling to abandon their leadership positions in politics and the private sphere. This seems true across the developed world and the political spectrum.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Quite possibly because they are the first generations where enough of them have retained relatively vigorous health into their 70s. The big killers for oldsters — heart disease, cancer, stroke — are much more treatable. Sanity test: treatable enough that news stories about potential detection/treatment for dementia now get bigger play than a new cancer treatment.Report

  5. George Turner says:

    One of the keys to winning a Presidential election is to be the sanest candidate, the safest choice, the adult in the room. Biden is the only Democratic candidate even trying to play that role, and even he is supporting the idea of bringing back the individual mandate to penalize American workers while giving free, even better universal health care to Guatemalans. That gives Trump enormous room to say all sorts of bizarre things and still not be the the crazy candidate. If the Democrats knock Biden out, they’ll likely be running on unicorn-powered Marxism, forced school busing, and government funded abortions for trans women.Report

  6. Doctor Jay says:

    I sort of love both parties to this argument, actually. Pelosi gets it done. And AOC is the dreamer. These sides need to understand something about each other, and when they work together, they can accomplish a lot.

    Lincoln famously had the Radical Republicans in Congress constantly harrying him. If he couldn’t take that, he’d not have been fit to be president. I think that more moderate Dems need to get the idea that the radicals work in their favor, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Their hearts are in the right place.

    This “fight” doesn’t bother me very much.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Obama famously told the bankers in 2009, that he was the only thing standing between them and the pitchforks.

      FDR told them he was the only thing blocking the Communists.

      Its good for Pelosi to suddenly be the sane adult, rather than “San Fran Nan”, the specter of socialism.Report

      • When I was younger, my rural Iowa grandfather would tell me Great Depression stories. One of them was about the communists and the fascists coming to the Grange Hall to talk about a week apart. Both, he said, got a very respectful hearing. Rural America had been in a recession/depression since the early 1920s, and the farmers were willing to listen to anyone who wanted to burn the whole system down.Report

  7. DensityDuck says:

    I gotta say, approvingly quoting Eva Peron is a bold statement.

    Although maybe she just doesn’t actually know who that is. I mean, we already saw that nobody knows who Alfred E Neuman is.Report

  8. Brent F says:

    I think people consistently misremember what happened on the West Wing. Typically the heroes never got anything big done on their agenda and spent the bulk of their time defending previous gains or negotiating marginal changes. The big speeches were to themselves to keep up morale as they grinded through the mud, and almost nobody got anywhere just with a big speech.

    It’s like people deliberately missed interpret the show to bet on a strawman version of technocratic liberalism.

    That the characters were insufferably smug, is totally a fair cop though.Report

  9. Rufus F. says:

    My mother, who lives in Virginia, gets all of her information from Fox News, which she just calls “the news”. I talk to her once a week, so I know very well at this point that Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is perhaps the most corrupt, dishonest, and stupid person ever elected to office in the United States. Prior to this, it was Hillary Clinton, of course, who was also a murderer and possibly the Biblical anti-Christ. Prior to that, Barack Obama was the stupidest and most corrupt and dishonest, etc.

    I can only assume my mother dislikes Nancy Pelosi too, of course, but she really hates AOC. It sounds from this, however, like Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez are playing the classic Good Cop/Bad Cop routine and the moderate American position is something like “I really hate that Bad Cop, but I’m surprised to find that I kinda like that Good Cop.”Report

  10. neal says:

    Obamacare is abstract to the well to do and the poor.
    Why do I, a poor vet living in a leaky travel trailer have to pay?
    That is only because my family barely lives above the poverty line.

    I do not understand the secure and comfortable folk discussing how to force the poor into the big game. Jim Crow writ into the script for hillbillies, even the PHDs.

    I suspect the middle management of that company store uses souls for examples. Good market for profit. If that is the business of our betters.Report

  11. Saul Degraw says:

    I think the tone of this post is a bit sexist. I don’t consider myself socialist (plenty others do that for me). I also don’t think AOC is correct on anything but it is a mistake to just criticize her as a tweeter with a good set of hair. It is condescending.

    This blog seems to swing older, whiter, and more male than the Internet overall. That does not mean AOC represents a negligible demographic. Younger generations are more brown and grew up in a very different economy than this blog’s readers. I think lots of people have a hard time understanding situations outside of their world view and student debt is a prime example.Report

    • The comment on her hair is a reference P.J. O’Rourke’s book, “Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut” in which he contrasts the radical idealism of his youth against the curmudgeonly conservatism of middle age. I changed it because no one would accuse AOC of having a bad haircut. But it’s meant to highlight the contrast between the young Turks and the old Guard of the Dem Party, not to be a sexist slight.

      And considering that AOC and the Squad use Twitter a lot for communication and that this new use of media is touted as one of their strengths, I don’t see that as unwarranted. In fact, late last year, I praised her for using to talk about Congressional orientation and how Congresscriters are immediately introduced to lobbyists to try to influence their votes. I did address the one piece of legislation she proposed, the Green New Deal, in a larger post. And I have previously noted her intense questioning of witnesses during congressional hearings.Report

  12. PD Shaw says:

    While I think that I agree 100% with the thrust of this piece, I think the “moderation” angle isn’t quite on the nose. I doubt there is much ideological room between a liberal from SF and a progressive from NYC. What is different is an approach to politics. AOC defends her positions as forms of self-expression, which is a legitimate approach for a Representative without a leadership position. Pelosi can and should be judged as a leader on her tactics and strategy.

    They should be assessed on different standards. AOC is most likely expressing the views of her constituents, and from what I can divine will not be a politician of national influence outside of the press and certain blogs. I think there is greater room to question Pelosi’s handling of the recent immigration issue, though much of it was in the hands of the Senate. When the Republicans control both the White House and the Senate, the Democratic majority in the House essentially operates as a party in opposition. They can either attempt to soften the political preferences of the party in power or propose a bill that illustrates what Democratic control would look like. Here, neither occurred, in some part owing to (1) a lack of leadership from Pelosi; (2) an intransigent progressive faction within her ranks; (3) superior leadership from McConnell in persuading moderate Democrats with additional funding for immigration lawyers and Immigration NGOs; and (4) ticking clock in which time was of the essence for aid to refugees. It was not an easy row to hoe.Report

  13. Man, those wacky Democrats.Report

  14. DensityDuck says:

    On the one hand, you’re right that the Twitter superboosters aren’t enough of a group in themselves to swing an election.

    On the other hand…they’re more likely to *stay* engaged. I mean, everything is a brand these days, and one thing people sure do like doing is grabbing onto brands and not letting go.

    So these folks aren’t about right now; they’re about six years from now, and twelve, and thirty. They’re about being there to say “AOC has always been there for me!” when someone asks who to vote for.Report

  15. dragonfrog says:

    Sure, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez hasn’t gotten a great deal accomplished since her election in late 2018, compared to Nancy Pelosi’s accomplishments to date since election to the DNC in 1976 and/or her machine-backed anointment to congress in 1988. That’s not especially surprising.

    What national politician first elected in 2018, or even in 2016, has done more than Ocasio Cortez to move the Overton Window in a direction favourable to their respective party? By this measure, Ocasio Cortez is probably less accomplished than, er, Trump. Maybe others can think of someone else who’s got her beat, but that’s all I’ve got.

    What had Pelosi accomplished on that or any other front by 1970 (if we go by equivalent age), 1979 (equivalent tenure in the party) or 1989 (equivalent tenure in congress)?Report

  16. George Turner says:

    Well, it depends what “favorable to their party” means. For exaple, AOC has certainly made anti-Semitism a mainstream Democratic position. Her chief of staff even made an important video message in a Subhas Chandra Bose T-shirt. Bose was the self-declared prime minister of India who met with Mussolini in the 30’s to push Fascism, met with Hitler in 1942, and in ’44 said that India “should be a synthesis between National Socialism and Communism”, and said he’d execute anyone who opposed him. Fortunately he died in a plane crash a year later.

    The other day AOC loved Trump’s comparing her to Evita Peron. Peron, a high-school drop out, was a Fascist. Her husband protected Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann. He gutted the universities, and the common slogan was “Build the Fatherland. Kill a Student.” He was overthrown, exiled, and his party was banned, and Evita’s corpse was hidden in Italy.

    She is the gift that keeps on giving.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to George Turner says:

      “AOC has certainly made anti-Semitism a mainstream Democratic position”

      Has she though? Has she actually accomplished that, or have oppo researchers found things to pick out so they can paint her as antisemitic, to an audience consisting solely of people who were never going to listen to her ideas anyway?

      My impression from afar is that there was more antisemitism among Bernie bros. And certainly much much more among the “very fine people” Trump can only ever bring himself to half-heartedly condemn for a day or two at a time before reversing himself.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to George Turner says:

      For clarity – I didn’t know about either of those things you mentioned, so how “mainstream” they are is unclear to me.

      I agree that the Subhas Chandra Bose shirt was a head-shakingly poor decision, but also (a) not a thing she personally did, and (b) would have vanished with barely a notice if one of the relatively few Americans who have a clue who Subhas Chandra Bose is hadn’t pointed it out to the press.

      As far as the comparison to Eva Peron – it seems more like she’s going, OK, I’ve been compared to Peron, I might as well find some Peron quotes to go “oh yeah” with. Anyway, again, 90+% of Americans probably know of the Perons exclusively through the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which as I recall didn’t exactly mention much about the specifics of their politics. So, again, as far as the result in public perception, how much “pushing fascism” is happening vs. how much “oh yeah, she’s totally spunky like that lady in Evita. Oh, hey here’s a speech she made about how migrant children should be treated better.”Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to dragonfrog says:

        AOC has cozied up to Jeremy Corbyn as well. Then there was the appropriating language from the Holocaust to describe detainment camps on the border, which is in really bad taste IMO. The whole thing is troubling but I don’t really know what AOC’s longterm goal is or if she even has one other than maybe to be a good pal to Ilhan Omar who isn’t even trying to pretend she hates Israel.Report

  17. Freeman says:

    Joe Biden wrote, introduced, and/or supported our worst drug-war laws, including the Comprehensive Forfeiture Act of 1983 (civil asset forfeiture – legalized theft for federal agents) and the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 (equitable sharing – getting the local Barney Fifes in on the scheme). He’ll never get my vote. In fact, he’s the biggest reason I didn’t vote for Obama.Report

  18. Catherine A. Humberg says:

    Oh, NO!!! I’m a woman, but can say with all confidence ——-Why don’t we give these HAGS matching BROOM STICKS ???There seems to be NO end of stupid stuff that they will go through !!! Pelosi isn’t QUITE as bad as the other two, but she’s clearly struggling in the throes of DEMENTIA, and just basically needs to opt out before she shows up in chambers in only her underwear. I KNOW that’s tough, BUT the time has come for rigorous honesty here, before the whole bloomin’ country goes to Hell in a hand cart.Report