Anybody remember Milli Vanilli? For a while there back in the late 80s, they were the Next Big Thing—a hit machine that cranked out inoffensive yet infectiously danceable grooves such as “All Or Nothing,” “Baby Don’t Forget My Number,” and my personal favorite, “Blame it on the Rain.” Looking back now, nobody really seems to understand exactly why everybody lost their minds over the band, but they took home the Grammy for best new artist in 1990–quite a feat for a couple of guys who looked good and had the right moves, but didn’t actually sing.
That’s because Milli Vanilli were a product, rolled off the production line not unlike like canned dog food or whatever toys Hasbro was hawking with their latest cartoon series. Created by German music producer Frank Farian, the band was carefully-crafted to maximize their appeal to a specific audience—mainly people who didn’t know any better. Toward that end, Farian auditioned prospective members until he found what he was looking for: a telegenic presence that would lip-sync whatever he put in front of them without asking questions, all while their fans ate it up, blissfully unaware unaware of the fraud being perpetrated on them.
Which brings us to Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
The freshman Congressional representative (D., Fantasyland) was in the news—again—when she made an appearance at SXSW in Austin over the weekend. There, as is her usual modus operandi, she let fly with comments deliberately meant to cause controversy and keep the spotlight focused on her—kind of like what Madonna used to do when she thought the press had forgotten she existed. The Hill has a couple of choice excerpts:
Ocasio-Cortez, who made the remark at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, added that “we should not be haunted by” the possibility of automated workers replacing jobs.
“We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem,” added the lawmaker, whose Green New Deal proposal includes a federal jobs guarantee.\
And it only gets better from there.
“Capitalism is an ideology of capital — the most important thing is the concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit,” [Ocasio-Cortez] said during an interview.
“To me, capitalism is irredeemable,” she added, arguing that capitalism’s goals come at a cost to people and the environment, Bloomberg reported.
That opportunity cost should come as a surprise to somebody who supposedly has a degree in economics hardly speaks well of her alma mater, Boston University—but whatevs. Both of these statements are absurd on their face, so much that conservatives have taken great pleasure in dismantling them. What they all seem to forget, however, is that debating the merits of Ocasio-Cortez’s arguments is a lot like discussing the methods of songwriting with Milli Vanilli. There just ain’t no point to it, because there isn’t a thing that comes out of her mouth that hasn’t been scripted for her in advance.
That’s because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also a product—but in her case, the manufacturer is Socialism, Inc.
You might know them under a different name, the Justice Democrats. They’re the PAC founded by former Bernie Bros who decided to try a different way to get hardcore progressives in elected positions, and so they held—get this—casting calls for potential candidates. Ocasio-Cortez was one of the aspiring stars who got the part, and so the Justice Democrats took care of the paperwork, put up the money, ran the campaign and scored her a primary win. And given that the district she’s in is so solidly Democrat that the GOP doesn’t even bother running candidates, Ocasio-Cortez was all but assured of a win.
Her story isn’t one of a scrappy young woman with no political experience defying all odds to defeat a 20-year incumbent. It’s actually a story of intrigue, in which a shadowy group of well-funded, well connected operatives get a puppet elected to Congress. They pull the strings, she does the dance.
In other words, Ocasio-Cortez is merely the spokesmodel for Socialism, Inc.
Conservatives who go after her for these outrageous policy prescriptions should bear that in mind, and act accordingly. These ideas are not her own—and who even knows if she believes them? Whatever the case, she’s just playing the role she was cast to play. Perhaps we might be better served by looking past the actor and focusing our efforts on the producers and director.