What will it take for Republicans to stop putting a socialist lawmaker in the spotlight, either by lamely attempting to cooperate with her, or succumbing to the temptation to savage her inane online effusions, or both — and thereby helping boost her profile?
Last week, in the midst of GameStop mania, Sen. Ted Cruz retweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez going off on Robinhood for blocking small investors from purchasing stock.
“I agree,” Cruz tweeted.
It wasn’t the first time the Texas conservative firebrand had gone out of his way to signal his agreement with Ocasio-Cortez. In May 2019, Cruz signaled his concurrence with her call for a lifetime ban on lawmakers from becoming lobbyists.
“Here’s something I don’t say often,” Cruz tweeted. “On this point, I AGREE with AOC Indeed, I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former members of Congress becoming lobbyists. The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation?” And the pair did cooperate, working on a bill together that went nowhere.
This time, though, she bodyslammed Cruz in response: “I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there’s common ground, but you [Cruz] almost had me murdered three weeks ago, so you can sit this one out. Happy to work with almost any other GOP [members] that [sic] aren’t trying to get me killed. In the meantime, if you want to help, you can resign.”
Cruz was, understandably, outraged. But what did he expect? Ocasio-Cortez is pointedly not a friend of anyone on the right. She is barely even a friend to Democrats. She’s in the House to be outraged and to be outrageous. She’s a self-described democratic socialist. Her purpose is to destroy the Ted Cruzes of this world and everything they stand for. So why is he even bothering? Would Ocasio-Cortez ever go out of her way to agree with Cruz or any Republican? Of course not.
It’s a wider problem on the right: We just can’t get enough of the Commie congresswoman from The Bronx. Her real political power is still blessedly minimal, yet the space she occupies in our conversations is infinite.
If we aren’t ceding power to her by publicly stating our rare agreement with her, like Cruz did, we’re picking on every silly thing she says. I’m as guilty as anyone else on the right. When Ocasio-Cortez said cauliflower was racist, I had to comment. When she said we should get rid of farting cows and rebuild every building in America over the course of a decade, I had to comment. And yes, when she said Cruz tried to murder her, I had to comment.