Two weeks ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) succeeded in disenfranchising her constituents, including many of her supporters, and bragged about it:
“Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”
Of course, AOC was referring to her "successful" grassroots campaign to protest Amazon corporation's efforts to establish a beachhead, and thereby 25,000 quality jobs and ancillary benefits, in Long Island City. Not only were AOC’s efforts misguided, they were selfish and undemocratic; 70% of New Yorkers actually supported Amazon building a headquarters in their city. Even progressive New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio challenged Cortez:
“As a progressive my entire life — and I ain’t changing — I’ll take on any progressive anywhere that thinks it’s a good idea to lose jobs and revenue because I think that’s out of touch with what working people want….I came up watching the mistakes of progressives of the past, unfortunately what happened in this city when it almost went to bankruptcy in the 1970s. I saw all the times progressives did not show people effective governance and all the times progressives made the kinds of mistakes that alienated working people…”
Fellow Democrat and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo chimed in:
“…a small group [of] politicians put their own political interests above their community – which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City…”
One thing is for certain, congressional freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is certainly a sophomoric operator with whom to be reckoned. As a sitting congresswoman, she is in a position of power and influence. Regrettably, that authority, as we saw with Amazon, can be abused and used to the detriment of the very people she claims to champion.
Other than President Trump, no other U.S. politician has recently been so successful at generating controversy through a combination of self-serving misinformation, scaremongering and willful ignorance as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Though some on the far-left cannot seem to get enough of Ms. Cortez, she has repeatedly contradicted herself, showed a stunning lack of basic knowledge (or willful deceit) and proved to be highly hypocritical in her personal conduct. In AOC’s reality, it is ok if she is incorrect as long as she is wrong for the right reasons. Her message should supersede facts, which should not matter as much when living in President Trump’s America.
After she was elected but before she took office, Ms. Cortez gave an interview to “60 Minutes" in which she cited so many factual inaccuracies that even the left-leaning Washington Post’s fact check department gave her four Pinocchio’s.
Recently, Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein took particular umbrage when a group of students met with her to lobby support for AOC’s so-called “Green New Deal.” When the students were informed that the particulars of AOC's proposition were not viable, they objected to which Ms. Feinstein squarely put them in their place citing her experience and electoral support:
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’ve been doing. You come in here and say it has to be my way or the highway. I’ve gotten elected. I just ran. I was elected by almost a million-vote plurality and I know what I’m doing. Maybe people should listen a little bit.”
Even politically-neutral Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was compelled to comment. Incapable of masking his incredulity, Powell referred to AOC’s pronouncements on government debt as “just wrong.”
With regard to personal integrity, perhaps Ms Cortez is not as angelic as she portrays herself. In just the past few days, media sources (both liberal and conservative) confirmed that AOC had misrepresented the address of her New York City residence. Neighbors noted they had not seen her at the Bronx apartment, which belonged to her deceased father. After duress from the media, she conceded she had recently moved and that for personal safety reasons, she chose to withhold those details. The retention of that address was at best an honest mistake and at worst a cynical public relations ploy. While this is the least of her offenses, it is the latest example where she seems impervious to whether or not the facts are correct as long as her raison d’etre resonates.
In a recent photo shoot with construction workers in her district, self-proclaimed socialist Ms. Cortez donned ~$3,500 of designer clothing including a ~$2,000 blazer, ~$900 pants and ~$600 shoes. When questioned, Cortez fired back, “you don’t get to keep the clothes, duh.” In our view, whether or not they were on loan was immaterial. To advocate for socialism and redistribution of wealth and then wear $3,500 worth of couture clothing on a photo shoot with blue collar workers in a district mired in poverty is inconsistent with the values Ms. Cortez espouses and out of touch with reality, which makes good sense since she seems to live in her own. The journalist Piers Morgan’s sniped, rather accurately that “She’s just a glossy socialist version of Donald Trump in expensive heels.”
A consistent manipulator of facts to suit her own agenda, AOC even wrongfully claimed that Amazon would be “given” $3 billion dollars to build a headquarters in Long Island City:
“If we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves, if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers. We can fix our subways. We can put a lot of people to work for that money, if we wanted to.”
Contrary to AOC's claim, however, is the fact that no upfront money was part of the Amazon deal. Not the $3 billion dollars that AOC claims would have been “given” to Amazon. Not anything. And Ms. Cortez knows it. Inline with and in many cases less than what competing cities offered, Amazon would have been given tax incentives spread over a number of years. The facts are that Amazon would have diversified our city’s economy away from finance, and directly created 25,000 well-paying jobs, many of which would have gone to ordinary New Yorkers and were the types of jobs AOC argues everyone has a right to. Additionally, the multiplier effect would have supported a number of local businesses and created other employment opportunities in their own right. The tax revenue ultimately generated from Amazon coming to New York, if used prudently, could have been allocated to fix our subways and hire more teachers. It is a loss for almost all New Yorkers (except perhaps for renters in Long Island City) that Amazon walked away from a mutually beneficial deal because of a few selfish, but effective politicians.
In our article last week, Where We Think Trump Is Right, we argued that just because we might object to a person in general, does not mean that certain polices he or she champions are not ones we agree with. While we generally oppose AOC on almost all issues, believe she is dangerously self-serving and a detriment to her own constituents, to stay true to our platform, we would be remiss to not mention where we think she has done an honest and sufficient job. Last week, we believe she was exemplary as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform when questioning Michael Cohen. Instead of making a speech or grandstanding, she asked sensible questions with the objective of gaining particular insight into how Trump valued his assets. She gave Mr. Cohen time to answer and then asked pertinent follow up questions. A clip of her Q&A is here.
Unfortunately, many of AOC’s policies will undermine the 3.5 million Twitter followers she claims to want to help. At TQC, we believe AOC knows exactly what she is doing. She knows what she says is factually wrong but she doesn’t care. She would rather state falsities that help her fool her own constituents into believing she cares and in turn elevate her political career rather than state the truth and risk the very high probability that she will be voted out office. Ironically, this reminds us of many politicians on both sides of the aisle, especially the one currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.