Some congressional Democrats are already frustrated with upstart freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's tendency to butt heads with members of her own party, according to a number of lawmakers and aides.
Members of Congress tell Politico on and off the record that Ocasio-Cortez will have an ineffective legislative career if she continues to criticize party leadership. "I’m sure Ms. Cortez means well, but there’s almost an outstanding rule: Don’t attack your own people," veteran Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said. "We just don’t need sniping in our Democratic Caucus."
"She needs to decide: Does she want to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star?" an anonymous House Democrat said. "There’s a difference between being an activist and a lawmaker in Congress."
"She’s new here, feeling her way around," Rep. Kurt Schrader (D., Ore.) said. "She doesn’t understand how the place works yet."
Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff hit back at the Democrats quoted in the Politico piece, comparing them to King George III during the American Revolution, and approvingly quote-tweeting a tweet comparing them to people who opposed civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s.
The Democratic Party and the King of England have surprisingly similar reactions to democracy when their own power is threatened. https://t.co/eKwRR0rzFp
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) January 11, 2019
Many people will always disagree with ‘disruptive' tactics — whether that disruption is in the form of primary challenges or the unpopular civil disobedience tactics of the civil rights movement.
All movements win over public opinion on the issues, rarely the tactics. pic.twitter.com/mcbNAuvGXZ
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) January 11, 2019
The Politico report follows criticism from high profile former members of Congress like Democrat Claire McCaskill, a former senator from Missouri. "I'm a little confused why she's the thing. But it's a good example of what I'm talking about, a bright shiny new object, came out of nowhere and surprised people when she beat a very experienced congressman," she told CNN in December.
"The rhetoric is cheap," McCaskill said. "Getting results is a lot harder."
Joe Lieberman, a former Democratic Connecticut senator and vice presidential candidate, leveled his own criticism Thursday, telling Fox Business, "With all respect, I certainly hope she’s not the future and I don’t believe she is."
"If you look at the majority of new Democrats in the House, they tend to be, I say, center-left, if they are not left-left. And that is because they had to be center-left to win some of those competitive swing districts that they took from Republicans," Lieberman said. "So that’s the hope."