AOC v. Pelosi: Round 12? | TheHill

A girl fight is hard to resist. And though this one is more pantsuits than bikinis, political observers are drooling at the prospect of another round of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) versus House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Though this “feud” has been a thing only for a couple of years — the duration of AOC’s political career thus far — it has all the makings of a blockbuster story that leads to great soundbites and, most critically, lots of clicks online.

The latest installment centers on comments that AOC made on the podcast Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill, wherein the young congresswoman offered: “We need new leadership in the Democratic Party.” She added, “Opportunities to lead are so few and far between,” because there is a “lack of real grooming of a next generation of leadership.”

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True to form, about five seconds after some recent college grad working at The Intercept hits “upload” on the podcast, Beltway media combusted. But the dirty little secret behind this story, and so many others like it, is that it really isn’t a story at all.

It isn’t a novel idea that Democrats need new leadership, or that one of the most vocal progressive representatives shares that belief. As AOC wrote on Twitter, “Yep, journalists have asked me (and others!) this same question for two years and I’ve answered the same way almost every time but for some reason today it’s “news.” (It’s not news) I am however guilty of the cardinal political sin of clearly answering a journalists’ question.”

Two things are important here. First, she rightly highlights how infrequently politicians directly answer journalists’ questions. I know the business of politics is messy and that some dodging is just part of the game. But the frequency at which pols spin, obfuscate and outright ignore media questions has done real damage to Americans’ ability to get a real handle on where those tax dollars they send to Washington are going.

Second, AOC isn’t alone in feeling this way about the Democratic leadership. Far from it. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi in 2016 and, after the Democrats won the House in 2018, said, “I think it’s important that we listen to those new members. They got elected in red districts, conservative districts. They did a heck of a job over the last year. I think their opinions should matter.”

All House members’ opinions should matter, and especially so when they’ve just won a conservative or purple district. In 2018, more than 20 congressional candidates pledged not to support Pelosi for the speakership should they win, with nearly 10 of them winning their races and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) very seriously weighed a challenge. Pelosi was able to hold on to her position by pledging to serve only four more years in the role, but criticism persisted.

Source: AOC v. Pelosi: Round 12? | TheHill

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