Following up on Adam’s post about AOC and Pelosi, I thought this profile of her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, was interesting, especially this:
“To me, there wasn’t a difference between working for her and working for the movement as a whole,” he said. “The whole theory of change for the current Democratic Party is that to win this country we need to tack to the hypothetical middle. What I think that means is, you don’t take unnecessary risks, which translates to: You don’t really do anything. Whereas we’ve got a completely different theory of change, which is: You do the biggest, most badass thing you possibly can — and that’s going to excite people, and then they’re going to go vote. Because the reality is, our problem isn’t that more people are voting Republican than Democrat — our problem is most people who would vote Democrat aren’t voting.”
The rest of the article is full of references to movement building with AOC and other House members using their seats as a platform to bring attention to the Green New Deal and other initiatives, as well as to drive recruitment for other like-minded House candidates. If that’s your mission, then balancing your work on committees with public appearances and behind-the-scenes work is perfectly reasonable. Maybe it’s naive, but I’ve seen a hell of a lot of naivete from establishment Dems who still think they can deal with the Trump administration using same rules and conventions they used with past administrations. (See Martin’s comment in Adam’s thread for more on this line of thought.)
In other words, if Adam’s right that Pelosi assigned AOC a set of tough committee assignments as a test, isn’t one possibility that AOC knows its a test and doesn’t give a shit if she passes that test? The fact that this profile of Chakrabarti exists–and that he hasn’t been fired for some of his anti-Pelosi tweets–is more evidence that AOC and Pelosi are playing two different games. No member whose goal was to move up quickly in the House hierarchy would allow their chief of staff anything like this latitude.
Two more things. First, if it looks weak to impeach Trump in the House and have it fail in the Senate, why should the House pass any other legislation? If passing legislation that the Senate will ignore or defeat is important because it sends a message to voters, so does impeachment. Second, before it gets brought up in the comments, this is the guy who committed the apparently unforgivable sin of allowing an early draft of the Green New Deal to go live on a website, three months after AOC was sworn in, thus ruining progressive politics forever and ever.