The bright shining star of the Democratic Party, Alexandra Ocasia-Cortez, is not really very bright. The young woman who defeated incumbent Joseph Crowley – a long time member of the Democrat leadership team – is starting to remind me of Democrat Congressman Hank Johnson.
If you are not aware of Johnson’s claim to fame – or infamy – you need to check out his questioning of Admiral Robert Willard during a House hearing. Addressing an increase in military presence on Guam, Johnson asked the Admiral whether he was concerned that putting more people on the island might cause it to “tip over and capsize.” Yep! That was the congressman’s concern – that Guam just might go belly up.
Johnson’s question could be the dumbest one ever asked in the history of the Congress. Hard to say. Willard’s straight-faced expression in response to the question is priceless. Even as he tried to offer a polite thoughtful answer, the expression on the Admiral’s face suggested he would have preferred to have exclaimed, “What in God’s name are you thinking?”
I make the comparison to Ocasia-Cortez because she is likely to be entering the Congress as one of the least informed and factually-challenged candidates in this year’s election. I do not say “ignorant” as a partisan pejorative, but a reflection of the fact that her tree of knowledge does not appear to be bearing a lot of fruit.
To make matters worse, the left-wing leadership of the Democratic Party – who are totally star struck with her youth, her beauty (both irrefutable) and her dogmatic devotion to the socialist agenda – has put Ocasia-Cortez on a national political media tour as the new (pretty) face of the Party.
One can certainly debate the strategic wisdom of making socialism the new future of the Democratic Party. It may be counterproductive in our right-of-center nation – but much has been and will be debated on that subject. The real problem with Ocasia-Cortez is that she is obviously not ready for prime time. Democrats might have been better served to keep her in the shadow rather than put both her political philosophy and her lack of knowledge on full display.
For historical comparison, one might also consider former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was brought to national prominence as the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate by the standard bearer Senator John McCain. The excitement and energy generated by the Palin selection – and her outstanding acceptance speech – quickly faded in the face of a few less-than-brilliant comments and responses to questions. Palin was not ready for prime time, but her political faux pas were more rhetorical than expressions of fundamental ignorance. Not so with Ocasia-Cortez.
Ocasia-Cortez’ obvious lack of knowledge led to a number of on-air responses that might have seemed more like a Saturday Night Live routine or an Onion satire. In one interview, Ocasia-Cortez said that the unemployment rate is low because people have three and four jobs. It should be explained to her that unemployment is calculated on the person, not the number of jobs some people might have.
She sees Israel as an aggressor that is occupying Palestine (a nation that does not exist now) and massacring Arabs with little knowledge or appreciation of the constant attacks on the Jewish state by Palestinians. She makes the totally false claim that people who work 80 hours a week (and that is very, very few people) cannot feed their children. She favors abolishing Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because they maintain “black (secret) sites” on the border even though ICE does not even operate on the border. That is a completely different agency. She claims we have “no-holds-barred hyper-capitalism” even though business in America is highly regulated by governments at all levels.
Ocasia-Cortez’ incredible lack of knowledge is compounded by a platform presence that adds to her unintentional comedic persona. On may questions, she seems lost in thought as she tries to create an answer that she is fundamentally unprepared to give. She flounders. She fumbles. Her pondering gives the appearance she not only does not have an intelligent and informed answer, but that she does not even understand the question. Her pondering expression is reminiscent of old-time comedian Oliver Hardy’s icon inquisitive look sans the head-scratching. (For those under 40, you can do an online search on Oliver Hardy videos).
As an ardent supporter of the so-called “occupy movement,” Ocasia-Cortez say “we” – presumably the radical left – have to occupy everyplace including the border, airports and government buildings. This comes very close to governance by mob rule – don’t ya think?
Taken together, Ocasia-Cortez’ lack of knowledge, her radical views and her lost-in-space appearance certainly supply fodder for partisan criticism and mockery, but her dialectical talking-points reveal a very shallow knowledge of economics and political issues – to which she at least once candidly confessed that she is “not an expert.” An understatement, to be sure.
When asked how she would pay for her socialist free everything-for-everyone economic programs, she falls back on socialism’s false premise of getting the money from the corporations. Rather than reduce corporate taxes to produce job growth, she and her fellow (and gal) radical left-wingers would increase corporate taxes – in her case a 23 percent job-killing tax.
Where Ocasia-Cortez’s abysmal ignorance comes in – or her willful efforts to deceive the public – is in the fact that corporations and businesses do not pay taxes. Shocking as that may seem to the capitalist-hating left, it is true. Corporations are merely vehicles to get the money from the customer to the government.
Taxes on businesses are a very regressive tax on the people who purchase the taxed goods and services. It is built into the price. It is regressive because price increases hit hardest on those with the least income and financial resources. Imagine that. Truth be known, Ocasia-Cortez is actually promoting taxes – indirect but real -- that hit hardest on all those middle-class and poor folks she claims to be championing. In that bit of deceit, she is a true socialist.
Ocasia-Cortez is less than just another pretty face. For Republicans, the Democratic Party’s trending toward socialism is a gift that keeps giving and Ocasia-Cortez may be the best present yet.
Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at email@example.com.