It’s hard to know exactly what drives House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s apparent disdain for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Perhaps she’s jealous that the young congressional freshman is getting so much media attention. Maybe she just doesn’t get along with her personally. Or perhaps she’s been around politics long enough to tell the difference between a genuine rising star and a dunderhead who got lucky. Whatever the case may be, Pelosi seems to take a covert shot across the bow at AOC whenever she’s asked about the Bronx Bimbo, and Sunday night’s “60 Minutes” interview was no exception.
“So you are contending with a group in Congress: Over here on the left flank are these self-described socialists, on the right, these moderates. And you yourself said that you’re the only one who can unify everybody. And the question is can you?” asked host Lesley Stahl.
“By and large, whatever orientation they came to Congress with, they know that we have to hold the center. That we have to go down the mainstream,” Pelosi replied.
“They know that?”
“They do,” Pelosi said.
“But it doesn’t look like that,” Stahl said. “It looks as if it’s fractured. You have these wings– AOC, and her group on one side–“
“That’s like five people,” Pelosi deadpanned.
Stahl persisted on that topic for a bit, and Pelosi tried to convince the “60 Minutes” audience that she was a progressive and the whole nine, but we really just wanted to highlight that “five people” remark because it says so much about how Pelosi views Ocasio-Cortez. And it shows you that no matter how many times AOC gets to the top of the Reddit Politics site, her influence inside Capitol Hill is somewhere between not-much and none.
This isn’t the first time that Pelosi has jabbed AOC in public. Not long ago, when asked about which climate change proposals the Democrats were looking at, Pelosi mentioned the “green new dream, or whatever” in a dismissive tone that would have made a lifelong Republican proud. And just last week, Pelosi said in an interview that getting votes on the House floor was a lot more important than amassing followers on Twitter, a comment that couldn’t have been more clearly directed at AOC if she’d actually said her name.
Now, is all of this important or is it just Washington gossip? Well, we see it as important because it is an illustration of just how divided the Democrats are going into 2020. And while they are fighting over whether to go the Biden/Pelosi path or the Bernie/AOC way, Trump will have a golden opportunity to steamroll his way to a second term.
If that’s what having a goober like Ocasio-Cortez in Congress buys us, it’s a price worth paying.