Since her massive upset victory over New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been touted as the fastest-rising star in the Democratic firmament. Potential 2020 presidential contenders seized on her victory as a sign that unapologetic liberalism is where the party is headed. Suddenly would-be national candidates were falling all over themselves to call to abolish ICE. Think pieces over What It All Means – including in this space – were launched.
The problem is that, prior to June 27, almost no one outside of New York’s 14th District knew who she was. And that, in the following month, very few people who fully embraced her have really done any sort of deep dive into what all she believes.
Which leads to moments like this one, which occurred during an interview with Margaret Hoover for PBS’ “Firing Line” in which Ocasio-Cortez gets herself into trouble when she starts talking about the Middle East and referring to Israelis who have settled in the West Bank as occupiers of Palestine. Hoover follows up, smartly, and Ocasio-Cortez begins to talk about an increase in settlements that makes it more difficult for Palestinians to access “their housing.” Sensing that she is making things worse not better, Ocasio-Cortez admits: “I am not the expert on geopolitics on this issue.”
You can watch it all here. (The relevant moment is around 18:30.)
This is not to pick on Ocasio-Cortez. She’s far from the only politician to get herself in too deep when it comes to the massive complexities surrounding a way forward in the Middle East. And, to her credit, at least she admitted she didn’t know exactly what she was talking about; some politicians would just keep talking and talking in hopes of drowning their lack of knowledge in a sea of words.
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The reason this awkward incident with Ocasio-Cortez is worth highlighting is because it speaks to the danger for Democrats of latching onto every Ne