But this time it was not a quick hitter with journalists in the basement of a House of Representatives’ office building, it was for a longer sit-down interview with Politico.
In it she addressed one of the biggest questions about her future – whether she will run for the senate and engage in a primary race against Democrat incumbent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Now AOC Is the Cagey Politician
Ocasio-Cortez sounded like a normal politician when asked about running for higher office. She left the door open and refused to specify her intentions about the future. “Don’t ask me that question … print that,” she said with a chuckle.
“There’s a world where I’m here for a long time in this seat, in this position. There’s a world where I’m not an elected official anymore. There’s a world where … I may be in higher office,” she continued.
She Is Four Years Older Since Attaining Office
It is hard to believe that AOC is no longer in her twenties. She is now 33, and while no elder statesman, she has grown into a more establishment figure rather than someone who mainly spouts off on social media.
She is not attacking former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with a vengeance since Pelosi has been replaced by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries as House Minority Leader. She seems to be more at ease since Jeffries assumed her role. She is not the same “squad” leader that she has been in the past. Even her official web site shows her diligently working at her desk and not making a rabble-rousing speech.
With More Experience Comes Committee Seniority
AOC is now vice-ranking member of the House Oversight Committee. This is an important panel that is investigating the Biden family’s alleged financial wrongdoings. Ocasio-Cortez has embraced her role on the committee to foil the Republicans and defend President Joe Biden from investigatory overreach. She also serves on the Committee on Natural Resources where she can make her environmental voice heard and agitate for her Green New Deal plans.
Is AOC Slowing Her Roll?
The more settled AOC is taking a nuanced path toward political power. She is in the ebb and flow of being a committee member. Her party is in the minority so any bill she introduces or sponsors will likely not see the light of day as it will be buried in Republican-controlled committees. That means AOC will be forced to make speeches on the floor or ask pointed questions during hearings if she wants to make news.
Of course, AOC still hates Republicans and is not shy about taking the fight to the enemy. “There are people, including moderates, who sometimes try to draw this completely unfair, false equivalence between progressives and, frankly, the fascists that we see in the Republican Party,” Ocasio-Cortez told Politico’s Nicholas Wu and Jordain Carney.
AOC still looks back on the past with wonder. She recounted how her Democratic colleagues often refused to speak to her but then would jump to grant media interviews about what AOC might say in any given situation. This has been frustrating as her profile has grown.
The progressive darling has also enjoyed a more understated leadership of other young House liberals who have been elected since she was a 29-year-old. Four years in the House has given her the cachet to mentor first-time lawmakers in the House. These members are often minorities who she endorsed with her leadership PAC.
Ocasio-Cortez’s public comments have shrunk since her days in the majority. She now gets only five minutes to make her points and ask questions during hearings. But House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer has noticed that AOC is always prepared. “She maximizes her five minutes as well as anyone in Congress.”
But is a few minutes here and there enough to keep the ambitious Congresswoman in the House for the long run? It will be difficult to turn down the opportunity to run for the senate, but the upper chamber’s slow pace may not be what AOC is interested in.
MORE: Is AOC a Sellout?
She will still be publicly adored by the left. AOC has a huge social media following and can easily raise money due to her fame, but she could lose interest in serving in the House. She has a high amount of ambition and yearning for the limelight so running for senate is the next logical step on her upward trajectory. We may see fewer bombs thrown from the Congresswoman until that election effort gets underway, if that is indeed the path that AOC chooses.
Author Expertise and Experience:
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Senior Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.