Pipe down, Sparky!
That was the gist of Whoopi Goldberg’s message to freshman congresswoman, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
Goldberg’s exact words were, “You just got in there, and I know you got lots of good ideas, but I would encourage you to sit still for a minute and learn the job. There are people in that party who have been working their tails off for this country. You could learn some stuff from them."
"You don’t have to know it when you step out,” she continues, “but before you start pooping on people and what they’ve done, you got to do something, too,"
Goldberg’s comments come in response to Ocasio-Cortez’s challenges of establishment Democrats, both in word—"It requires risk to try something new, but also we. . .know so much of what we've tried in the past hasn't worked either,"—and in deed—she is encouraging primary challengers to Democratic incumbents whom she deems insufficiently progressive.
Ocasio-Cortez would do well to listen to her elders on this one. From the moment she won her primary against incumbent Joseph Crowley, she has been the media’s shiny new thing. With good reason. She’s young and charismatic and talks a good sound bite.
Unfortunately, many of her ideas are bad—Seventy percent tax rate? No thanks. Medicare For All? How are you going to pay for that?—and often her positions do not come from an informed place. She shares them with youthful exuberance and passion, though, and for many that is enough.
But if she wants to be taken seriously, that’s not enough.
Time after time during the campaign, she made media appearances she clearly wasn’t prepared for and made astoundingly wrong statements. Unemployment is not low because everyone is working two jobs, in spite of what Ocasio-Cortez claimed last summer. ICE does not have a nightly bed quota to be filled by detainees (despite the urban legend to the contrary), the upper middle class has not disappeared (it’s grown), and the Pentagon has not made $21 trillion in accounting errors that can be used to fund Medicare For All.
A quick Google search would have prevented these gaffes, but who has time for research when Anderson Cooper is calling? Clearly not AOC.
It’s obvious she is enjoying the spotlight now, but is her everywhere all the time presence good for her political career?
Whoopi Goldberg doesn’t think so, and I agree. Ocasio-Cortez would do well to follow her advice. She needs to get out from in front of the camera, huddle with her staff, and learn her job. Who knows, she might even find some good ideas if she takes the time to study up.
Ocasio-Cortez’s far left progressive notions are not my cup of tea, and I wouldn’t mind them failing spectacularly in the marketplace of ideas. However, I don’t want to see Ocasio-Cortez herself fail spectacularly—we need passionate women in Congress—and if she wants to be successful in the long term, she needs to do a lot more listening and a lot less talking in the short term.