“America is a one party state. But with typical extravagance, they have two of them.” – J.K. Nyerere
Jerry Kremer’s column (Rising political stars can fade away quickly) points out the growing schism in the Democratic party.
Unfortunately, he’s on the wrong side of history, and he writes of “Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, whose every word is embraced by a group that is hungry for something different. “
“Something different” is not the reason for her attraction, and for someone who has been in the political sphere for as long as Mr. Kremer has, this is incredibly insular and dismissive.
Whether it has been her incisive questioning on House committees, or her dealing with right-wing trolls on social media, Ms. Ocasio Cortez demonstrates a firm grasp of policy, shows up prepared, and is equipped to deal with the realities of modern, hair-trigger media. People respect those attributes. She’s sharp-witted and has obvious political gifts.
The attraction which Mr. Kremer misses is simply that corporatist Democrats, as represented by the Clinton wing, have failed the natural allies of the party, and the base now demands real live Democrats. And that disturbs him.
It poses a problem particularly for Long Island Democrats who simply wear the party label but do little on actual policy.
Some even call themselves “progressives” which is about as honest as labeling pork rinds kosher. Mr. Kremer is almost gleeful in anticipating Ms. Ocasio Cortez’ downfall. And why not? The current state of affairs certainly has been good to him and other Long Island Democrats. Because it requires no sacrifice or courage.
When Tom Suozzi ran for re-election to the House, his slogan was “A Democrat who gets it.”
The implication, of course, is that he’s not one of “those” Democrats who will actually change the course of the economy and the laws to suit the needs of working people who have been ravaged since the Great Recession began.
So he made common cause with an organization called “No Labels” which is a conservative front group backed by hedge fund money, among other sources.
No, he’ll simply ignore people like that woman from Port Washington who is reduced to starting a $150,000 “Go Fund Me” to cover her bills to treat her breast cancer and her son’s spinal disease, while the one percent lavish millions on palaces of medical care few can afford and then write it off their taxes.
This isn’t the country the base wants. And it shouldn’t be the country any Democrat wants.
Mr. Kremer suggests we turn our support to centrist candidates. What Mr. Kremer doesn’t grasp is that centrism is not the absence of ideology. It is merely another ideology.
He writes “This new phenom from Queens has become a vocal part of a small group of newcomers who have a far-left agenda on things like healthcare, college tuition and the environment. “
Those aren’t parts of a “far left agenda.” They’re genuine policy solutions to problems real voters face. Mr. Kremer acts as if they don’t exist. And that’s the problem. He’s content. The base isn’t.
As Adam Serwer of the Atlantic wrote, “Clintonism’s doctrine of granting major policy concessions that cause substantial human suffering in exchange for political victories hasn’t changed much since the 1990s, but I don’t think it’s where the Democratic Party base is now.”
And he’s right. Characterizing Rep. Ocasio Cortez as “far left” only speaks to the fossilization of the party.
Those who know their history realize she is following in the footsteps of FDR, Frances Perkins, Harry Truman, Robert F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey and others. “Action, and action now” bellowed FDR in his inaugural speech. No more half measures.
The old guard on Long Island has gotten fat and comfortable just giving a tip of the hat to pro-choice issues, a few environmental matters and then calling “mission accomplished.” They’ve been perfectly fine with the most regressive property tax system in the nation that assures them that everyone knows their place, and their world won’t be disturbed.
They’ve paid lip service to the widest earnings gap of the Post War era, decades-long wage stagnation, and a trebling of health care costs. In other words, they’re not Democrats.
And it’s high time we elected a few.