Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a self-professed “democratic socialist,” is very open about her efforts to push the Democratic Party to the left. And she isn’t shy about criticizing centrists who she believes are blocking progress toward a socialist utopia.
One centrist Democrat that she has repeatedly chastised is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), but the moderate senator dismissed the socialist congresswoman with cutting criticism of his own.
“The dagger stare” photo
In an interview with The New York Times, Manchin was talking about a photo Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in the aftermath of the election in response to a critique from Manchin about how he was not in line with the far-left progressives’ “crazy socialist agenda.”
The photo, from the 2020 State of the Union address, shows Ocasio-Cortez glaring at Manchin as he stood and applauded something that President Donald Trump had said.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 12, 2020
“I guess she put the dagger stare on me,” Manchin told The Times. “I don’t know the young lady — I really don’t. I never met her. I’m understanding she’s not that active with her bills or in committee. She’s more active on Twitter than anything else.”
“We’re not going to defund the police, we’re not for the [Green New Deal],” the senator added in reference to far-left policies the congresswoman has championed. “That’s not going to happen. We’re not for Medicare for All — we can’t even pay for Medicare for some.”
Push back against the push back
In response, the New York Post reported that Ocasio-Cortez’s office immediately touted the fact that, in addition to having submitted more proposed amendments than 90 percent of her congressional colleagues, Ocasio-Cortez had also missed fewer votes overall than Manchin.
As to her work in committees, spokeswoman Lauren Hill said, “The congresswoman has earned a reputation as a tough, prepared member in committee hearings.”
As Fox News pointed out, Manchin is merely the latest member of the Democratic Party’s more moderate wing who has, either directly or indirectly, called out Ocasio-Cortez and other far-left lawmakers for having cost the party congressional seats in the election by pushing radical proposals that may appeal to the far-left activists but don’t play well with the average American voter.
Echoes of Pelosi
Manchin’s remarks also rang similar to what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said. In 2019, she dismissed the influence wielded by Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow “squad”-mates as being little more than “their public whatever and their Twitter world.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s “squad” has grown since then and, despite being dismissed by Pelosi and moderates like Manchin, she has increasingly asserted outsized influence on the party’s agenda. Whether her following and influence continue to grow or is thwarted by the moderates is anybody’s guess, but it should make the next year a bit more interesting as we watch to see which wing of the party prevails.