Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about as annoying as they come.
Even if she weren’t a socialist, and in saner times, therefore automatically barred from holding a political position of power in the U.S. government, her patronizing, condescending, holier-than-thou, I know better than you, finger-wagging bravado would seem to disqualify her from the position of humble servant — which, after all, is what a lawmaker on Capitol Hill is supposed to be, at root. That’s how the Founding Fathers foresaw it. That’s how a nation with an “of, by and for the people” form of governance is supposed to operate.
But let go of the political persuasions for a moment. Just listen to her go.
In the face of stinging failure — Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal fell to Senate slap-down, with zero ayes, 57 nays — the freshman congresswoman apparently wasn’t in the mood for nonsense. So when Republican Rep. Sean Duffy introduced an amendment to a homeless bill being debated in the Financial Services Committee that would impose green standards as a condition of receiving benefits, and then explained his proposal this way: “The Green New Deal is one that if you are a rich liberal from maybe New York or California, it sounds great because you can afford to retrofit your home or build a new home that has zero emissions, that is energy efficient, affordable and safe” — Ocasio-Cortez snapped.
The little socialist’s nerve got struck a little too hard.
“When we talk about the concern for the environment as an elitist concern,” she said in a two-minute rant, captured on widely shared video, “one year ago I was waitressing in a taco shop in downtown Manhattan. I just got health insurance for the first time a month ago. This is not an elitist issue. This is a quality of life issue. You want to tell people that their concern and their desire for clean air and clean water is elitist? Tell that to the kids in the South Bronx which are suffering from the highest rates of childhood asthma in the country.
“Tell that to the families in Flint whose kids, their blood is ascending in lead levels, their brains are damaged for the rest of their lives,” she went on. “Call them elitist. You’re telling them that those kids are trying to get on a plane to Davos? People are dying! They are dying. And the response across the other side of the aisle is to introduce an amendment five minutes before a hearing in a markup? This is serious.”
J.G. Wentworth serious, in fact. Only instead of wild-eyed TV commercial actors screaming, “It’s my money and I want it now,” it’s the wild-eyed Ocasio-Cortez — It’s my Green New Deal and I want it now!
“People are more concerned about helping oil companies,” she went on, “than helping their families? I don’t think so. I don’t think so. This is about our lives. This is about our American lives.”
And with that, she once again drew a comparison between climate change and the Great Depression and World War II. As if she hadn’t already been mocked enough for those strange, even deranged parallels.
For those annoyingly over-the-top deranged parallels.
Given her socialist bent, it’s already too much to expect Ocasio-Cortez to stay within the constitutional bounds with all her legislative goals. But it’d be nice if she could tone down the rants, rein in the hand-flinging.
After all, Queen of Annoying doesn’t exactly scream “fit for office.” Rather, the opposite. But then again, maybe the taco shop in Manhattan is still hiring.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.