This page was last updated on April 25, 2019.
Before I begin, please forgive me for the helter-skelter nature of this review. As I pieced this together, bits and pieces rolled in and I chose to be lazy and not “glue” them into a nice flowing review. That said, you should find it accurate, as usual.
If you expect this piece to be an AOC bash-fest, you’ll be disappointed. If anything, I tend to overestimate the competition because I don’t like surprises. AOC attended Boston University (BU) and graduated cum laude (with distinction). AOC’s BA degree was in economics and international relations. I see no reason to believe AOC isn’t smart, but smart and right aren’t synonyms. My position is AOC is smart but wrong.
BU is a private college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. As most other colleges, BU is expensive. I don’t have the figures for the years AOC attended BU, but tuition is $52,816 for the 2018/2019 academic year. Room, board, and fees can drive the total to $69,668/year. That said, BU claims grants, scholarships, and so on can drive down the total. According to CNBC, AOC is “still paying off $15,000-$50,000 in student loan debt.” It should be no surprise one of the planks in AOC’s platform is free college/trade school tuition and the forgiveness of existing college debt for students who attended public college/trade schools. Since BU is a private college, AOC’s college debt would not be eligible for forgiveness.
So, what sets AOC apart from her Democrat competitors? It’s not a tony college; lots of people with political aspirations go to name colleges like BU. It’s not AOC’s policy proposals. In one form or another, Democrats have been pushing the same programs – albeit sometimes in the background – for decades. AOC also appears to be as intelligent as most activists/politicians in her position. The difference I see is AOC isn’t a geezer; she’s attractive, energetic, young, and hasn’t been beaten down yet by fellow activists/politicians.
What I find curious is, since at least late-November 2018, local/national lefty activist Carl Davidson (KD) has been tripping over himself trying to convince someone AOC isn’t “a silly, fluffy girl,” “a dummy,” “a lightweight,” and “has a backbone of steel and a sharp mind ready with snappy comebacks.” I don’t recall KD doing the same for Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist - VT). I think the “someone” KD’s trying to convince is KD himself and other lefty activists/politicians. Otherwise, why would you constantly warn your enemy he’s underestimating your candidate? As I wrote above, I see no reason KD feels the need to prop-up AOC’s smarts.
It looks like KD and Bernie are both a little pervy re AOC. In one video, you can see BS putting his hand on AOC at least once (approx. 10:40). Re KD, he appears to be doing the “white knight” thing, constantly jumping to AOC’s defense. The “YA GOTTA LOVE HER …” comments don’t help dispel that view.
The first KD piece I saw about AOC was “YA GOTTA LOVE HER … Who’s the ‘dummy’ now? Our Alexandra [sic] thrashes Cuomo.” The subject piece was one in which CNN’s Chris Cuomo (CC) asked AOC how she would pay for all of the programs she wants, like Medicare for All, tuition free to the student, green new deal, housing, and so on. Spoiler alert; AOC didn’t answer the question. AOC’s non-answer, however, didn’t stop another talking head (David Doel) from gushing, “Oh my god. Honestly, I think that is the best answer to that ‘how do you pay for it’ I have ever seen from anyone. From better than anything I’ve seen from Bernie. Better than anything I’ve ever seen from any other politician. That is how you answer that question. You make the person that person feel stupid. … ” Yes, you read that right. Ask someone “how do you pay for” some government program, and the best “answer” is one by which “You make the person … feel stupid.”
The second KD piece I saw about AOC was “LISTEN AND LEARN.” Among other errors, AOC commented, “That is our proposal and that is what we are here to do, because in the depths of darkness, in the depths of despair, which what we last saw - you know, when we think about where we were when the New Deal was established, we were a nation in depression, in Great Depression, we were a nation on the brink of war. We saw the rise of fascism creeping across in Europe. And no one would thought [sic] that a nation so poor, so scarce, and in such dire straits as we were in that time could pursue such a bold economic agenda. But we chose to do it anyway.”
Though times were tough, AOC laid it on thick (“so poor, so scarce, and in such dire straits as we were in that time …”). While the U.S. population during the Great Depression (1929-1941) was only about 70% that of the USSR, the U.S. GDP was #1 in the world and ranged from 2.0 to 3.3 times that of the world’s second largest economy at the time, the USSR.” Finally, AOC failed to note Henry Morgenthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary during the Great Depression, deemed the New Deal a failure. I expect someone with AOC’s education to know that.
AOC continued to have FDR-era history problems at least as recently as March 30, 2019. According to Newsweek, AOC said, “When our [Democrat] party was boldest, the time of the New Deal, the Great Society, the Civil Rights Act and so on, we had, and carried, supermajorities in the House, in the Senate. We carried the presidency,” Ocasio-Cortez said Friday while speaking on MSNBC with Chris Hayes.
“‘They [Republicans] had to amend the constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected. There were so many extraordinary things that were happening at that time that were uniting working people,’ she continued.”
False. Where to begin?
As I read her comment, AOC appears to think the 22nd Amendment (A president can serve no more than two terms.) came to be while FDR was still alive. The proposed 22nd Amendment didn’t come up for a vote in Congress until FDR was dead for nearly two years, and wasn’t ratified by the states until 1951, nearly six years after FDR died.
As for “They [Republicans] had to amend …,” AOC failed to mention congressional Republicans didn’t have the numbers to go it alone even after FDR’s 1945 death and the 1946 election. Any role by Congress in this process requires at least two-thirds of the votes in each house, but Republicans held only 55% to 57% in each house. This means some Democrats had to flip and vote in favor of the 22nd Amendment.
Congress cannot “amend the constitution.” The power to “amend the constitution” rests solely with the states. As per Article V of the U.S. Constitution, there are two paths for an amendment. Congress may propose an amendment with at least two-thirds of the votes in each house. Alternatively, a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the states may propose an amendment. In either case, at least 75% (currently 38) of the state legislatures or state conventions must ratify the proposed amendment. The President has no constitutional role in the process. This is yet another example of the Founders’ intent for the states and the people to have supremacy over the federal government.
In fairness, AOC supporters say she merely misspoke. This appears to be at least the second time AOC muffed FDR-era history, however, so I’m not inclined to accept the “misspoke” excuse.
In early-January 2019, KD wrote, “YA GOTTA LOVE HER...Again! The right has no idea what they’re up against, her secret weapon, political judo. She likes them to dismiss her as a silly, fluffy girl--then they wind up with their back on the mat with her foot on their chest.” Nearly two months later, KD wrote, “IF YOU THINK AOC IS NOT VERY SMART, BEWARE. You’ll find yourself flipped by her political judo, with your back on the mat and her foot on your chest.” KD’s still on his crusade as of 3/16/2019.
In another post, KD led off, “for those thinking AOC is over her head on matters economic … Check this out. Seems she travels with a brain trust, one branch of them anyway.” The source for this was a New York Times opinion piece by Paul Krugman (PK) entitled “The Economics of Soaking the Rich - What does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know about tax policy? A lot.” Near the end, PK felt the need to inoculate AOC when he wrote, “Which brings me back to AOC, and the constant effort to portray her as flaky and ignorant. Well, on the tax issue she’s just saying what good economists say; and she definitely knows more economics than almost everyone in the G.O.P. caucus, not least because she doesn’t ‘know’ things that aren’t true.”
I don’t know where KD got the idea AOC “travels with a brain trust;” there’s no mention of one in the NYT/PK piece. Besides, why would AOC need a traveling “brain trust” if she weren’t “over her head on matters economic?” That said, I’d be surprised if AOC – and just about every other candidate – didn’t have an economics “expert” on speed-dial. While we should expect politicians to have a working knowledge of major issues, we shouldn’t expect them to be knowledgeable of all issues.
One last comment about the very-high marginal tax rate. PK wrote, “What we see is that America used to have very high tax rates on the rich - higher even than those AOC is proposing - and did just fine. Since then tax rates have come way down, and if anything the economy has done less well.” What PK failed to mention is the only thing that made the very-high marginal rates “tolerable” was all the “special interest” deductions, exemptions, and so on that most of us hate. One reason our top marginal tax rates are lower today than in Ike’s era is today’s rates don’t have all those “special interest” deductions, exemptions, and so on. Who on Earth would tolerate giving 91% of their earnings - marginal income or not - to someone else?
Punishing “the rich” doesn’t usually work. In 1990, President George H.W. “Read my lips, no new taxes” Bush and the Democrat-majority Congress assessed a 10% luxury tax on private airplanes, pleasure boats, cars, furs, and jewelry whose price exceeded given levels. The tax rate on pleasure boats priced more than $100,000 nearly killed the U.S. pleasure boat industry. Customers (“the rich/oppressors”) either delayed their purchases or made their purchases overseas. Translation: American employees in the pleasure boat industry lost their jobs. President Clinton and the Democrat-majority Congress repealed the luxury tax on pleasure boats in 1993 after it was shown to produce no significant revenue while it killed jobs in the pleasure boat industry.
In 2010, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) attempted to avoid Massachusetts’ high tax rates on yachts by “docking his family’s new $7 million yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, allowing him to avoid paying roughly $500,000 in taxes to the cash-strapped Bay State.” JK did what any of us with a $7 million yacht would do <g>. Though perfectly legal, JK’s maneuver looked bad politically and he eventually paid the taxes voluntarily.
According to “The Hill,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) will enter her 70s in June. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is 77. Former Vice President Joe Biden will turn 77 in November. Mrs. Bill Clinton (HRC) was 69 during her campaign. Remember HRC’s coughing fits, the time she could barely get to her van without needing a lot of help, help navigating stairsteps, and so on? In contrast, AOC is 29, can walk on her own, and has time to hone her skills until she’s age-eligible (35 yo) to run for president. AOC also has other more age-appropriate Democrat competitors.
I don’t if she uses it all of the time, but AOC routinely refers to those who balk at her proposals as being afraid, scared, and so on.
Below are some relevant snippets from KD’s Facebook page, some of which are also in the review above.
Carl Davidson 1/7/19 @ 8:29am: “SNAPPY COMEBACKS DEPT.
“Anderson Cooper: How are you going to pay for all of this?
“@AOC: Nobody asks how we’re going to pay for the ‘space force’”
[RWC] Not answering a reasonable question is a “snappy comeback?” How about this? Tell us “how we’re going to pay for the ‘space force’” then answer “how we’re going to pay for all of” your proposals.
[RWC] It appears KD has AOC and President Donald Trump mixed up. DT was born and raised in Queens, not AOC.
AOC was born in the Bronx and the family moved to Westchester County when AOC was about five-years-old.
Does this mean AOC doesn’t have “Both smarts and street smarts?” Maybe this is what has KD worried people think AOC is a “dummy.” <g>
Carl Davidson 3/14/19 @ 1:33pm: “ONCE AGAIN, THE RIGHT (AND A FEW LIBERALS AS WELL) TRY TO NAIL AOC FOR TELLING THE TRUTH. In many of my political talks over the past 50 years, I’ve pointed out the FDR’s New Deal had a white supremacist ‘dark side,’ caused by the inclusion of the ‘Solid South’ into his New Deal Coalition. For those who this is ancient history, the ‘Solid South’ was the soft-soap term for white segregationists. Since the GOP and nearly all bankers were denouncing FDR as a socialist (weird how they are defending him here), FDR needed the Southern Democrats to get anything passed. So the Southerners made a deal. They would vote for his measures on two conditions. One local implementation was up to them. Two, certain categories of workers were excluded: agricultural and household. In practice, this meant Black sharecroppers in the South and Mexican-Americans in the West, and the primarily women of color who worked as maids, washerwomen and such. In short, we’ll back your New Deal, so long as we can draw the color line, delivering benefits to poor whites while excluding Black. So it was, and these odious restrictions stood for decades. The same was true for the GI Bill, which enabled white GIs to go to college and/or get home mortgages. Things were defined in such a way that Black GIs were mostly excluded. Instead of attacking AOC, her critics might want to crack open some history books. The truth is needed to make us free.”
[RWC] I don’t get the WSJ so I can’t comment on the subject piece.
KD wrote, “In many of my political talks over the past 50 years, I’ve pointed out the FDR’s New Deal had a white supremacist ‘dark side.’” No kidding, Dick Tracy! It’s only a slight exaggeration to assert KD complains of “white supremacy” in one form or another in nearly every piece he writes.
Well, as KD suggested, I cracked “open some history books” and it helped neither AOC nor KD.
I always get a chuckle when KD writes something like “The truth is needed to make us free.”
Carl Davidson 12/10/18 @ 5:16pm: “LISTEN AND LEARN. Some folks on the right like to poke fun at her for being a lightweight. Just keep thinking that way, guys. You won’t know what hit you when you find yourself out in the cold.”
[RWC] The “her” to which KD referred is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), U.S. Rep.-elect for the NY 14th Congressional District. Sen. Bernie Sanders (BS, Socialist-VT) introduced AOC as “a bold progressive fighting for a Green New Deal and for other legislation, not only in terms of the environment, but all areas that are going to protect ordinary people against the greed of big money.”
Carl Davidson 12/31/18 @ 6:23pm: “THIS IS A HOOT … THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE IN FOR. Fox has a new number one demon. Say goodbye to ‘Locker Her Up, Benghazi, Investigate Mueller and are the rest. But this young women has a backbone of steel and a sharp mind ready with snappy comebacks.”
Links to:: “”
[RWC] The subject tweet was deleted before I got around to reading it.
Carl Davidson 1/4/19 @ 5:58pm: “YA GOTTA LOVE HER...Again! The right has no idea what they’re up against, her secret weapon, political judo. She likes them to dismiss her as a silly, fluffy girl--then they wind up with their back on the mat with her foot on their chest.”
[RWC] If AOC “likes [the right] to dismiss her as a silly, fluffy girl,” why does KD undermine that effort by constantly telling everyone how smart and strong AOC is?
RWC: Looks like KD and Bernie are both a little pervy re AOC. I don’t know about KD, but I don’t dismiss anyone. Why do KD’s AOC comments always include something about her intelligence or she’s “a silly, fluffy girl?” I suspect that’s how KD sees AOC.
In Peace, Friendship, Community, Cooperation, and Solidarity. <g>
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