I have to agree with lame-duck Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who wonders about the meteoric rise to super-political stardom of a young member of Congress — who hasn’t even taken office yet!
The object of McCaskill’s curiosity is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old self-described socialist from New York. McCaskill told CNN, “I’m a little confused why she’s the thing.” Ocasio-Cortez took umbrage at being called “the thing.” Well, she ought to settle down and get ready to take on some major challenges while representing the 14th Congressional District of New York.
McCaskill also referred to Ocasio-Cortez as some sort of “shiny object.” And yes . . . the rookie congresswoman took offense at that, too.
McCaskill, who lost her bid for re-election this past month, was speaking metaphorically. The Missouri lawmaker has been known for having a bit of a tart tongue during her years in the Senate. I am quite sure she didn’t intend to denigrate Ocasio-Cortez when describing her.
As for her “confusion” over the representative-elect’s rapid rise, I have to say I harbor some inherent suspicion of politicians who have this way of hogging the spotlight. They become media favorites — and then feed off of that favoritism for the sake of grabbing headlines and elevating their profiles. I can think of several such pols: Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas comes to mind; the guy who almost beat him this year, Democrat Beto O’Rourke does, too.
I fear that Rep.-elect Ocasio-Cortez is going to assume a dubious distinction as she takes her seat a few days from now among the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. She will become the punch line in a gag that talks about the “most dangerous place in Washington is the space between a TV camera and . . . ”
Well, you get the idea.
I hope Ocasio-Cortez does a good job representing her constituents. I only would caution the young woman to think of them first as she learns to navigate her way around Capitol Hill.