- - Monday, January 21, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Ours is the era of the Twitter celebrity. Gun control activist David Hogg, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and of course President Trump owe their celebrity to Twitter, giving most of them (the president excepted) celebrity and fame just for being famous. None would have ascended to such fame but for the social networking platform. Twitter is said to be losing money — gobs of it, in fact — but it’s a kingmaker. Or at least a prince-and princess-maker.

At merely 29 years old, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is solely a product of Twitter. The Bronx barmaid used her social media presence to get herself elected to Congress, coming out of nowhere to knock off a powerful incumbent, and she is using her fame to promote herself and an agenda so far to the left that it risks falling into an abyss.

She has an undeniable knack for online repartee. She even taught a class of incoming House Democrats how to tweet effectively. But to be quick on the Twitter finger does not necessarily reveal wisdom or knowledge. That Miss Ocasio-Cortez has become such a celebrity and rock star among her fellow partisans, solely on the basis of her online presence, says a lot about the depth of the culture, which can be measured in millimeters.

Miss Ocasio-Cortez mused the other day about the “three chambers of government: the presidency, the Senate, and the House.”

She later tweeted that “$21 TRILLION of Pentagon financial transactions ‘could not be traced, documented, or explained.’ $21T in Pentagon accounting errors. Medicare for All costs ~$32T. That means 66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon. And that’s before our premiums.”



In the entire history of the United States, the Defense Department has not been allocated $21 trillion. Some people are unable to deal with arithmetic (a trait sometimes ascribed to genetics), but someone should tell her that a trillion is a lot of zeroes. She seems to celebrate her ignorance, as if it’s a good thing. In an interview with “60 Minutes,” she mused that “if people want to really blow up one figure here or one word there, I would argue that they’re missing the forest through the trees. I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.”

No doubt, but a freshperson congressperson ought not to do that.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed political program is similarly unimpressive. A proud socialist, she backs confiscatory tax rates reaching 70 percent (and perhaps more than that). She’s for Medicare for All, which no economist takes seriously when Medicare is bleeding the federal ledger dry. She wants to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the branch of the Homeland Security Department charged with enforcing immigration law. Her “green New Deal” is predicated on the notion that Americans will easily and swiftly give up their cars and trucks that run on gasoline.

Certain conservatives have played their part in elevating Miss Ocasio-Cortez. Relentless commentary on the right, such as this, elevates an otherwise obscure backbencher and gives credence to her goofy ideas. But what’s a good citizen to do if he sees a train bearing down on a washed-out bridge that is about to plunge into the river?

In 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt “welcomed the hatred [of] the old enemies of peace: business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has not been so articulate but it’s obvious she too welcomes the disdain of the right. She thrives on it. Denying the lady the attention she craves might have a salutary effect on the nation’s politics and culture, but taking comfort in the wish that she will go away is foolish. The conservatives clearly have a tutelage project at hand. Miss Ocasio-Cortez needs an education.

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