I made a mistake: Pelosi and Cortez are not battling for the soul of the Democratic party.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are both Progressives; hard-edged and hard core. Their socialist dream is shared between themselves, as it is with millions of activists.
More government. More control. More so-called equality. Less people being able to say out loud that the world envisioned by them is awful.
I realized my mistake when I said it on FOX News. In a conversation with Leland Vittert, referencing a column in the New York Times from Maureen Dowd, I said that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Speaker Pelosi were locked in a battle for the soul of the party. I should have said that it was a battle for control of the party.
Both potential leaders get to the same place. The Cortez route gets us to government-dominated, humanity-controlled socialism in less than the 12 years she claims it will take people to destroy the planet. Pelosi’s route is exactly the same. It just gets you there in 50 years (give or take.) Under Pelosi, the water boils slower and the frog stays agitated but never jumps out of the pot.
Dowd’s piece isn’t wrong in its acknowledgement of the long history of deal making and moving the party Speaker Pelosi can claim. Nor is it wrong to point out self-aggrandizing, entitlement culture and perpetual victim status that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has made her cornerstone.
Old school Democrats can’t believe the rudeness of this new class. Personally, I have no idea why. After all, they built it. They coddled and nurtured this generation of Progressives, leading them to believe that their feelings matter and no one can tell them otherwise. A generation that thinks that acting out on feelings is virtuous.
Ocasio-Cortez feels you Old School Democrats aren’t moving fast enough. How dare you question her feelings!
Dowd quotes former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who asks this central question: They have not decided what’s more important: Do they want to beat Trump or do they want to clear the moderate and centrists out of the party?
That question was answered at the NetRoots Nation event by Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Ayanna Pressley:
I don’t want to bring a chair to an old table. This is the time to shake the table. This is the time to redefine that table. Because if you’re going to come to this table, all of you who have aspirations of running for office.
If you’re not prepared to come to that table and represent that voice, don’t come…
‘Old table.’ ‘Shake the table.’ ‘Redefine that table.’ Spoiler Alert!!! She means Pelosi and her ilk.
This answer must be surprising to Emanuel, and perhaps to Dowd and some who read the pages to of the Times: YES! The Squad DOES want to clear out the moderates and the centrists.
Let us be even more clear: The Squad wants the Old Schooler’s power. They want to clear out their competition. Pelosi and The Squad are battling to see who gets the keys to the soon-to-be outlawed for fuel inefficiency sports car and drive America to the unpromising land.
This fight is problematic for Democrats (yet eye-opening, if not reaffirming, for the rest of America.) When you realize they aren’t arguing policy, but rather speed of policy, you can’t help but notice the lack of any other ideas but more government and more control.
This fight is more problematic for the presidential candidates. When they have to pick sides in this fight, when they have to speak out on the latest back-and-forth, when it comes up in the debates (can the Democrats press allies really avoid this issue? Can they all act like the fight is not happening?) they, the candidates, no longer look like the leaders. Pelosi and Cortez do. When the candidates have to take sides, they risk alienating much-need voters and donors. In a race with 24 people, even a handful of supporters and $1 donors can make the difference. Isn’t that right, Eric Swalwell?
This fight for control of the party is only just beginning. The only thing left to find is, as Dante’s girlfriend asked in Clerks, “Who’s leading this mob?“