New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be wise to heed a recent warning from a colleague in the House.
The democratic socialist who’s made herself a virtual household name by staking out radical progressive positions on issues like the environment and immigration has now set her sights on the national defense of the United States itself.
But Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney wasn’t letting her get away with it.
In an interview last week with The New Yorker Radio Hour, Ocasio-Cortez expounded on her vision of eliminating Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of the government agencies charged with enforcing the country’s immigration laws.
But when host David Remnick asked why the agency could not simply be improved, as the FBI and CIA have been through the years without being utterly destroyed, Ocasio-Cortez went even further.
“Because the core structure of ICE, I believe — and, frankly, the entire Department of Homeland Security — you know, this was established by George Bush, in the wake of 9/11, right,” lectured Ocasio-Cortez, who was all of 11 years old when Islamic terrorists murdered almost 3,000 of her countrymen.
“As the Patriot Act and all of these different institutions that were, frankly, very large threats to American civil liberties, started to get established. And people sounded the alarm back then that these agencies are extrajudicial, that they lack effective oversight, and it is baked into the core foundational structure of these agencies,” she added.
“Would you get rid of Homeland Security, too?“ Remnick asked.
“I think so. I think so. I think we need to undo a lot of the egregious mistakes that the Bush Administration did. I feel like it is a very qualified and supported position, at least in terms of evidence and in terms of being able to make the argument that we never should have created DHS, in the early 2000s,” Ocasio-Cortez replied.
There’s no doubt the rambling answer was a hit with Remnick’s listeners. For liberals, George W. Bush was a “Hitler” before there was a Donald Trump to fill the role.
But for Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican whose father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, served with Bush 43, the answer was another example of AOC’s “irresponsibility” on display.
“The level of just absolute irresponsibility now that we are seeing in the Democratic side among someone who clearly is one of the intellectual leaders now of the Democratic Party is really stunning,” Cheney said Wednesday, according to the Washington Examiner.
“And we will continue to fight as Republicans to make sure we’re doing everything we can, everything necessary to uphold our constitutional obligations to defend this nation.”
No responsible conservative would argue that DHS is perfect. No government agency ever will be. But DHS was created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to centralize intelligence gathering and national defense to help prevent another catastrophic attack on the United States. The role it plays in national security is pretty important, to say the least.
The department had its critics when it was first created and still has its critics now, but the fact is, there has not been another large-scale attack on American soil since September 2001.
For most Americans, that counts for a great deal.
More importantly, no one who’s even casually followed Ocasio-Cortez’s meteoric rise from New York bartender to national progressive voice thinks for a minute she’s too concerned about national security in the first place.
And even though she told Remnick that she wasn’t comparing a detention center in the American Southwest to the Nazi death factory at Auschwitz, her grasp of historical parallels isn’t what Americans should be looking for in an elected official.
Remnick didn’t ask, and Ocasio-Cortez didn’t volunteer, what she had in mind to replace DHS, but it’s a good bet that “homeland security” wouldn’t play a big role.
Liz Cheney, on the other hand, showed that she understood her colleague perfectly when she called Ocasio-Cortez’s most recent comments “absolute irresponsibility.”
If anything, she was being too kind.
But Cheney’s claim that Ocasio-Cortez “is one of the intellectual leaders now of the Democratic Party,” was sadly accurate.
And sane Democrats are going to find themselves regretting that fact before too long.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.