Nancy Pelosi was probably not heartbroken when the fourth-ranking member of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Joe Crowley, was defeated in his 2018 primary by a bartender named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Crowley had been seriously considered for House Minority Leader in 2016, and he might well have made a serious play for the House speakership had he been reelected in 2018. From Pelosi’s perspective, it must have seemed that she had lost a potential leadership rival and gained an easily managed back-bencher.
Even after AOC began making demands concerning the membership and agenda of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming while encouraging climate activists to besiege her office, Pelosi probably believed that the solipsistic socialist would settle down once she took office and got to work. But AOC has a rather unique view of her congressional duties. Indeed, she suggested in an interview with WNYC’s New Yorker Hour that Pelosi had deliberately loaded her down with a lot of busy work:
The committee assignments that I was ultimately given were very intense and very rigorous. I was assigned to some of the busiest committees and four subcommittees. So my hands are full. And sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to keep me busy.
And, by Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez had evidently lost patience with Pelosi. At issue were the latter’s less-than-flattering remarks regarding the “gang of four SJWs”: AOC herself, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. Referring to the speaker’s observation that, in AOC’s Bronx district, “This glass of water with a ‘D’ next to it would win,” AOC unloaded on Pelosi in a discussion with the Washington Post, essentially calling the leader of her own House caucus a racist:
When these comments first started, I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm’s distance in order to protect more moderate members … But the persistent singling out . . . it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.
According to the Post, AOC and Pelosi haven’t spoken since February. As I have pointed out before in this space, AOC is so fuddled by her 15 minutes of fame that she doesn’t have enough sense to avoid twisting the dragon’s tail. And Pelosi is a dragon who will incinerate the self-styled “girl from the Bronx” if she becomes a real nuisance. Things do appear to have reached that point, so now it’s only a matter of time. Meanwhile, conservatives can take comfort in the fact that these two deserve each other.