The last thing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez needs is speculation about her presidential prospects. She’s the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, still in her first term, and not even old enough to run under the U.S. Constitution. And yet her speech on the House floor this week decrying Rep.
Ted Yoho — a former “large animal veterinarian” from Florida who called the congresswoman “a fucking bitch” within earshot of reporters — had seasoned political observers looking beyond the 77-year-old Joe Biden’s current bid and investing their hopes in her.
“I am now convinced that AOC has what it takes to run for president and to be President,” wrote Howard Dean, the progressive insurgent star of the 2004 Democratic primary who later found himself recast as a centrist for backing Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“AOC speaks for generations of women. My outrage is compounded by the heartbreak of a broken dream. When I was her age, I believed this would no longer happen at the age I am now,” wrote columnist Connie Schultz.
“Nearly every woman I know with a public profile has been called the worst misogynistic names that exist,” wrote Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan. “And sometimes threatened with violence. And for no reason except we dare to assert ourselves and our views. This is the disgusting norm.”
“We’re all AOC,” Jennifer Rubin, a Post columnist who used to be a conservative, tweeted.
The socialist representative from Queens was born in 1989, the same year as Taylor Swift (who was also famously called a bitch). Hillary Clinton, who came of age in a different generation, was called a bitch so frequently that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler even did a sketch about it on SNL in 2008. “People say that Hillary is a bitch. Let me say something about that: Yeah, she is. So am I and so is this one,” Fey said. “Yeah, deal with it,” chimed in Poehler. “You know what, bitches get stuff done,” continued Fey. “Bitch is the new black!”
Efforts to reclaim the word, from Bitch magazine (launched in 1996) to SNL to Lizzo, who inspired millions to sing that they were “100% that bitch,” have been wildly popular, or at the very least cheered. Such uses have done almost nothing to reduce the word’s sting when issued with animus from the mouth of a man in a workplace context, as the steps of the Capitol surely are for members of Congress, when talking about a colleague. By tackling that head on, with passion and deftness and an attentiveness to the larger social dynamics at play, AOC has one again shown an ability to turn a political clap back into a thunderclap.
Democracy is complicated
“The constitutional procedures don’t change if it’s a close election, but there are more opportunities to weaponize them for political advantage,” writes political journalist Ben Jacobs in GEN this week. “Remember, voters don’t directly vote for the president. They vote for electors in the Electoral College. The electors convene to cast their ballots on December 14, 2020, in their respective state capitals. The ballots are then counted during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, which is presided over by the vice president. Only then do we officially have a president-elect. In between, a lot of things can go wrong, ranging from fundamental election administration issues to a parade of constitutional horribles.”
Mr. Reid, the former Democratic senator from Nevada who pushed for funding the earlier U.F.O. program when he was the majority leader, said he believed that crashes of objects of unknown origin may have occurred and that retrieved materials should be studied.
“After looking into this, I came to the conclusion that there were reports — some were substantive, some not so substantive — that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” Mr. Reid said in an interview.
One more thing…
Washington, D.C. is a small town in which sports looms large. Accustomed to the losses of the Washington Football Team — D.C. residents had been calling it that for years before the owner of the Washington Redskins finally bowed to public pressure and decided to go with that generic descriptor for the coming season — the city developed baseball fever when the Nationals came to town. That love was rewarded when the Nats won the World Series in 2019, and even before that. The way fireworks lit up the Southwest waterfront after games, the whole slow revitalization of the area around the new stadium, its way-above stadium-quality offerings from local restaurateurs, Teddy — baseball in D.C. became about so much more than just the men on the field.
But on Thursday night at the season opener for Major League Baseball, all eyes were on them as every player for the Nationals and the visiting Yankees took a knee in advance of the singing of the national anthem. And then Anthony Fauci threw out a stick-to-your-day-job first pitch. Here’s hoping he stays in it as long as he wants.
The Washington Nationals take a knee during a pregame ceremony honoring the Black Lives Matter movement during opening day. Photo: Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images