AOC Went Where Few Female Politicians Go

And that signals 'a shift in our politics'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2020 9:39 AM CDT
AOC Says 'What for Too Long Has Gone Unsaid'
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks on the House floor on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday.   (House Television via AP)

"Having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man." That was just part of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's response to Florida Rep. Ted Yoho's defense/apology on Wednesday following a Monday incident on the steps of the Capitol in which he called Ocasio-Cortez "disgusting" and, according to a reporter, a "f---ing b----." How her remarks are being received: "He'll be remembered as the doormat on which a rising young star wiped her shoes," as Francis Wilkinson puts it at Bloomberg. More reaction:

  • AOC's 10-minute speech "should be studied for its measured cadence, its artful construction, and its refusal of ugliness," writes David Remnick at the New Yorker. She was full of "righteous sincerity," in contrast to Yoho's "deflective, jittery performance," he adds. "The sporting equivalent might be Billie Jean King's measured yet unmistakable destruction of Bobby Riggs."

  • AOC "delivered one of the most thorough thrashings the Capitol has seen … with dignity, eloquence and poise," writes Wilkinson. The speech "will mobilize and energize women, in particular, for whom Yoho's language represents not a random mistake but the interior monologue of a political party that is led by a man who sounds just like Yoho."
  • At the New York Times, Lisa Lerer notes "few prominent women have publicly addressed" being called a b----, an insult directed at Hillary Clinton "between 500 and 10 million" times. But there's been "a shift in our politics," as AOC showed in her "searing indictment not only of Mr. Yoho but also of a culture that allows men to use abusive language and supports violence against women." And "after years of Mr. Trump letting his supporters use that word against them, it's [women's] anger that may end up being his undoing."
  • In a "brilliant" showing, AOC "issued a badly needed defense not just of herself, but of all women who seek power," writes Kara Alaimo at CNN. In allegedly using a word "often used to denigrate women for being (in the eyes of the person wielding the term) malicious, unpleasant or selfish," Yoho "suggested that what he was really complaining about was that a woman was daring to wield political power at all."
  • Other opinions were shared on Twitter. "She says what for too long has gone unsaid ... The moment for reckoning with misogyny and harassment, in Congress, and in the country, is here," tweeted the journalist Dan Rather. "If [my daughter] turns out to be half the woman Alexandria is, I will have won," tweeted Chrissy Teigen, per Deadline.
  • Meanwhile, at the Washington Post, Alexandra Petri writes as though she's Yoho, and it's searing. She begins: "You may wonder, 'Ted, how did you get so good at apologizing?' What can I say? It’s a gift. I’ve literally never done it before. Some (the recipient of my apology, technically) would say that I still haven’t! Welcome to my master class, where I’ll showcase just a few of the tricks that I employed in my apology on the House floor to my colleague from New York!"
(More Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stories.)

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