I'm no big fan of AOC. Some of her ideas aren't bad, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burdens the progressive cause by waving the socialist label like it's some kind of fashion brand. That has enabled Republicans to make her the face of the Democratic Party in a country where the S-word can scare off even moderates.
At least AOC believes in the democracy. We just witnessed the spectacle of Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert suing Vice President Mike Pence to force him to overturn Electoral College results that will deliver a decisive victory to Joe Biden. When the Texas judge, a Donald Trump appointee, brushed the suit off, Gohmert urged people to "go to the streets" and be "violent."
That is insane and also treasonous. Democrats do say irresponsible things at times, but imagine the outcry if they were to tell followers to become "violent."
Gohmert exults in saying moronic things. He's held that the Democrats' health care policies would sentence elderly Americans to death. After coming down with COVID, he publicly mused, "If I hadn't been wearing a mask so much ... I really wonder if I would've gotten it."
Why does he do this? Getting attention and extracting money from the rubes would be high on the list. But that doesn't matter.
The more important question is, why didn't Democrats nationalize their recent campaigns to feature his creepy rhetoric? Did they think he was too much of a lone crackpot to pull that off?
Well, he wasn't alone. The right wing now has its fringe "squad." Next to Gohmert stands Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. She traffics in QAnon conspiracy theory, calling it "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out." Lunacy, yes, but she's now a member of Congress.
Lauren Boebert, a QAnon fan from western Colorado just elected to the House, told local TV, "I'm absolutely running against her," her being AOC. During the primary, she tied the incumbent, Republican Rep. Scott Tipton, to "AOC and her squad." Never mind that Tipton had been one of Trump's most fawning supporters — and that AOC's New York congressional district is 2,000 miles and two time zones from Boebert's.
Add to this group Sen. Josh Hawley, the GOP senator from Missouri who, for all his aw-shucks playing of the Trump cult, is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. He is, in some way, the most objectionable squad member because he obviously knows better.
If Hawley thinks he's going to sail into the 2024 Republican nomination for president by ingratiating himself with Trump World, he's probably in for a surprise. First off, Trump doesn't share. Secondly, Hawley lacks Trump's charisma. Thirdly, there's the example of Scott Tipton: There will always be someone to grovel more abjectly at the feet of DJT. But there's also the strong possibility that once Trump is out of office, his importance will fade but not the memory of Hawley's contempt for American institutions and his sheer lack of honor.
It should also become apparent that Ocasio-Cortez isn't running the Democratic Party. She's already raising money through emails that accuse Democrats of not caring about the climate crisis, mainly because her Green New Deal doesn't have them jumping to attention.
The incoming Biden administration, whose climate plan is extremely ambitious, is clearly not taking orders from AOC. The hope is that she will use her considerable talents to help her party retain power. That means letting it be pragmatically progressive and dropping the S-word.
In the meantime, why don't Democrats start showcasing ghoulish Republicans in their ads from Miami to Seattle? C'mon, Democrats, show more fight.
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.
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