Matt Taibbi on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vs the US political establishment

Matt Taibbi (previously) is in characteristically fine form here: the average Congressjerk is mythologized as a "brilliant 4-D chess player" but "would lose at checkers to a zoo gorilla": they are only in office because "someone with money sent them there, often to vote yes on a key appropriation bill or two. On the other 364 days of the year, their job is to shut their yaps and approximate gravitas anytime they’re in range of C-SPAN cameras."

Meanwhile AOC "won in spite of the party and big donors, not because of them" and while "that doesn’t make anything she says inherently more or less correct" it does give her a different job from the average Congress-sponge: her backers sent her there to make noise, not to keep her mouth shut.

This is why the "thinkfluencers," and other establishment figures are so bent on giving her unsought advice to shut up and decide whether "to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star."

The shut-up-and-play-nice camp likes to draw comparisons between AOC and Trump, on the grounds that their grassroots followings let them escape the gravity of their party's machines and the power-brokers that stoke them, but the real comparison is that both were elected by people who were rejecting DC establishment politics (which has refused to bring forward insanely popular policies).

That means that, as with Trump, every time a despicable establishment figure denounces AOC, it increases her influence and power (possibly the nicest thing you could say about Trump is that he is hated by the looter Mitt Romney and the war criminal George Bush, and every time either one of those weasels talks Trump down, I'm tempted to reconsider my strict I-wouldn't-piss-on-him-if-he-was-on-fire policy).

The Lieberman example is the most amazing. Here’s a person who was explicitly rejected by his own party in 2006 and had to run as an Independent against the Democratic nominee to keep his seat. Yet he somehow still has the stones to opine that if Ocasio-Cortez is the “new face” of the Democrats, the party does not have a “bright future.”

How many Democrats, do you think, heard that and immediately thought the opposite – that if Joe Lieberman disapproves, Ocasio-Cortez must be on the right track? Sixty percent? Seventy?

I have no idea if Ocasio-Cortez will or will not end up being a great politician. But it’s abundantly clear that her mere presence is unmasking many, if not most, of the worst and most tired Shibboleths of the capital.

Moreover, she’s laying bare the long-concealed fact that many of their core policies are wildly unpopular, and would be overturned in a heartbeat if we could somehow put them all to direct national referendum.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Crusher of Sacred Cows [Matt Taibbi/Rolling Stone]