Chuck Todd Treats AOC with Kid Gloves, Refuses to Press Her on Green New Deal Specifics

Already a biased journalist on the environment based on his December 30 Meet the Press stunt, MTP Daily host Chuck Todd brought on socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for Thursday’s show to discuss how she views the 2020 field, the Green New Deal, and socialism. Not surprisingly, he operated on her turf and didn’t pressure her on any of the outlandish, Soviet-style proposals outlined hours earlier in the Green New Deal.

 

 

Todd began with questions about the political disasters unfolding with Elizabeth Warren and in Virginia, but he shifted to the Green New Deal with this convoluted softball (click “expand”):

What are you looking for when it comes to this? Most — I think everyone that’s announced running that’s in Congress has endorsed your Green New Deal or at least philosophically has endorsed it. We’ll get to the details. What are you looking for in a presidential nominee. Because let’s — let's be frank here. You created a political movement. However — people want to disagree, so you have — potentially you might have some sway, right? Nobody wants to assume anything. What are you looking for in a presidential nominee this year?

He interjected part way through Ocasio-Cortez’s long, winding answer to ask her to define “economic justice” and then a series of follow-ups on what her “red lines” would be for supporting a 2020 candidate and whether any moderating stances would be turn offs. 

So again, no fact-checking. It’s all operating on her turf while Ocasio-Cortez asserted that, yes, anything less than what she wants would be crossing a red line.

After AOC asserted that Democrats must “return to our FDR roots as a party,” Todd pointed out to her that FDR had “massive majorities when he went to push his New Deal through” and thus wanted to know how that would be possible if Democrats don’t have that.

To Todd’s credit on this one point, he wondered how she could get someone like Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to agree to a Green New Deal, but Ocasio-Cortez all but asserted that Democrats would do everything possible to get more than enough progressives in office so compromise is not a necessity.

When getting down to specifics, Todd started to go down in the direction where he’d ask about some, but it was, at best, lip service to objectivity, instead asking an open-ended question that allowed the Congresswoman to spawn off a la Barack Obama (click “expand”):

TODD: What do you think the best case is to conservative voters, you know, in more rural areas to say, okay, this is something we’ve got to tackle now even though they see what happened in France and it seems like it impacts the lower to middle lower class more. All of these ideas. Taxing carbon that it will just trickle down to the working class. 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, the reason that it’s trickled down to the working class in France is because we’ve allowed corporations to take over who bears the burden of carbon — carbon taxes and other taxes and that’s why when we work as a progressive movement here, it needs to be led by every day people, it needs to be led by workers, it needs to be led by front line communities because if we don't do that, that is what happens and by the way, when you look at who’s actually responsible for the majority of carbon emissions, it is the top ten corporations — multi-national corporations in the world that are responsible for an enormous amount of our carbon output. It should not be middle class Americans and it should not be every day people that bear that burn and it should not be a gas tax at the pump. It should be really the corporations responsible for soiling — rather for polluting our water and air. 

TODD: Is it a — how do you envision financing this? Is it all through government? Is it just — how are you envisioning financing it that it doesn’t end up with the rank-and-file taxpayers?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: So, there’s a couple things. One is that I think one way that the right does try to mischaracterize what we're doing as though it’s like some massive government takeover. 

TODD: Mmmhmm.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Obviously, what we're trying to do is, well, it's obviously not that because what we're trying to do is release the investments from the federal government to mobilize those resources across the country. So, how do we get there? It can come across a wide range of things. It could be a Tennessee valley authority-style public programs, but it could also be public private partnerships, it can work on a municipal level. There could be some potential contracting involved. So, it's not as though the federal government will wave a wand and say we're going to do it ourselves. Secondly, I think one of the big issues, too, is that we have to really address the fact that there’s been a broken metaphor of the government as this one in and one out piggy bank that Republicans like to say it applies to Democratic programs —

TODD: Yeah.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: — but when it is their turn at the helm, they just cut whatever check they want to cut which is what they did with the tax cut bill. However, the tax cut bill they lied about in terms of saying they were generate economic activity. We know for every dollar you — you cut in taxes you get just a couple cents back, but for every dollar that you invest in infrastructure, in building — 

TODD: Right.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: — in jobs you get more than a dollar back.

It’s worth highlighting how Todd refused to fact-check Ocasio-Cortez on, well, a lot. The claim that the Green New Deal is not “some massive government takeover?” Nadda. How about the deal specifying guaranteed education, food, wealth?  Zilch. Or the banning of cars, domestic air travel, and cows because they fart? Nothing.

In contrast, our friends at places like The Federalist, National Review, and Washington Examiner did the heavy lifting that the media should be doing if they weren’t too concerned about being fan boys and fan girls for the Green New Deal.

Todd instead spent the remaining two portions fretting to Todd about why she wasn’t placed by Speaker Pelosi on the House Select Committee on Climate Change and whether she can both be a socialist and capitalist (which was an interesting exchange, but it should gone on longer considering how the entire sit-down lasted 20 minutes).

What a pitiful showing for the so-called neutral political “referee.”

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s MTP Daily on February 7, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s MTP Daily
February 7, 2019
5:07 p.m. Eastern

CHUCK TODD: What are you looking for when it comes to this? Most — I think everyone that’s announced running that’s in Congress has endorsed your Green New Deal or at least philosophically has endorsed it. We’ll get to the details. What are you looking for in a presidential nominee. Because let’s — let's be frank here. You created a political movement. However — people want to disagree, so you have — potentially you might have some sway, right? Nobody wants to assume anything. What are you looking for in a presidential nominee this year?

CONGRESSWOMAN ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (NY): Well, first, just corollary. I don't think I created a political movement, I think I’m part of one.

TODD: Fair enough.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: But I — I think in terms of what I look for. I think that it’s really about the comprehensive understanding of this moment that we're in right now as a country and our ability to articulate it and so I don't think a 2020 nominee can afford to be bad on issues of race. I don't think they can afford to be bad on issues of economic justice either. I think a 2020 —

TOOD: What is — how do you define economic justice, though?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: So, when we talk about things like the role of the labor movement, the role of labor in — in the working conditions of everyday Americans. When we talk about fighting doggedly for workers, whether it’s wages, whether it’s union jobs, whether it’s good job, I think that is what we’re really talking about in terms of fighting for economic justice. 

TODD: What is there — so you said that on the issues of race, on the issues, I assume gender falls into that too, but I think those are — you would assume you just couldn’t get traction on that. Other specific red lines for you? Medicare for all? Do you have to say you'll do it or is being aspiring to it in the future enough for you?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: So, I think that we need — we need commitments with teeth, so I don't want to be placated as a progressive and I know the progressive movement does not want to be placated in 2020. It’s like, ah yeah. 

TODD: But I guess, what is the definition of it? So you have, for instance, Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown, I think are both arguing, they love medicare for all, but they’re like, it’s not realistic. Let’s fix ObamaCare or let’s do Medicare 50. Medicare 55

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah. For me —

TODD: Would that be a non-starter for you? 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: For me I — I reject that outright. I reject the rationale. I reject the rationale of saying adopting the same or similar insurance models is unrealistic. I reject that. I reject the idea that single payer is impossible. I reject the idea that universal health care is impossible. All of these things are possible. When I talk about what I want in a 2020 candidate, I want a 2020 candidate that says we can do these things, we can be audacious. I think we need, in order to overcome this movement we need to return to our FDR roots as a party. That’s what I believe.

TODD: Now, one thing that FDR had that we were talking about this today and my producer was, he goes, she’s got the Green New Deal. He’s like FDR had a massive majorities when he went to push his New Deal through. You don't have a massive majority. You don't have majority at all on the other side of — of the capital. So how do you do it? 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: So this is a big part of when you actually break down our strategy on the Green New Deal. Even when you go back to our requests in the fall, we were talking about the need to draft a blue bring by it is so that by 2020 because what this really is is an organizing play. It’s so that, by 2020, we can get all of those chess pieces in order. We can get a majority in the House, we can get a majority in the Senate, we can capture the presidency and we can get things done in that time. 

TODD: You may have to compromise to get your 60. I mean, Joe Manchin, a very influential Democrat in the Senate, I think we — we calculated he used the word coal nine times in his — one of his — in his opening statement on Tuesday.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Uh-huh. Yeah. He did. He did.

TODD: And at the end of the day, Chuck Schumer, your senior senator there, he wants to find 51 senators total to get the majority.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah.

TODD: How do you find compromise?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: So, I think when it comes to making the compromises it's about the landscape when we get there. So there are some compromises that I think are on the table if we get — have just 51, but I think some of those are off of the stable if we have 60 and so I can't speculate as to what the potential compromises would be for any variable makeup in 2020, but the thing that we can control is we can start our organizing and being as aggressive as possible now so we can maximize our majorities. 

TODD: What do you think the best case is to conservative voters, you know, in more rural areas to say, okay, this is something we’ve got to tackle now even though they see what happened in France and it seems like it impacts the lower to middle lower class more. All of these ideas. Taxing carbon that it will just trickle down to the working class. 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, the reason that it’s trickled down to the working class in France is because we’ve allowed corporations to take over who bears the burden of carbon — carbon taxes and other taxes and that’s why when we work as a progressive movement here, it needs to be led by every day people, it needs to be led by workers, it needs to be led by front line communities because if we don't do that, that is what happens and by the way, when you look at who’s actually responsible for the majority of carbon emissions, it is the top ten corporations — multi-national corporations in the world that are responsible for an enormous amount of our carbon output. It should not be middle class Americans and it should not be every day people that bear that burn and it should not be a gas tax at the pump. It should be really the corporations responsible for soiling — rather for polluting our water and air. 

TODD: Is it a — how do you envision financing this? Is it all through government? Is it just — how are you envisioning financing it that it doesn’t end up with the rank-and-file taxpayers?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: So, there’s a couple things. One is that I think one way that the right does try to mischaracterize what we're doing as though it’s like some massive government takeover. 

TODD: Mmmhmm.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Obviously, what we're trying to do is, well, it's obviously not that because what we're trying to do is release the investments from the federal government to mobilize those resources across the country. So, how do we get there? It can come across a wide range of things. It could be a Tennessee valley authority-style public programs, but it could also be public private partnerships, it can work on a municipal level. There could be some potential contracting involved. So, it's not as though the federal government will wave a wand and say we're going to do it ourselves. Secondly, I think one of the big issues, too, is that we have to really address the fact that there’s been a broken metaphor of the government as this one in and one out piggy bank that Republicans like to say it applies to Democratic programs —

TODD: Yeah.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: — but when it is their turn at the helm, they just cut whatever check they want to cut which is what they did with the tax cut bill. However, the tax cut bill they lied about in terms of saying they were generate economic activity. We know for every dollar you — you cut in taxes you get just a couple cents back, but for every dollar that you invest in infrastructure, in building — 

TODD: Right.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: — in jobs you get more than a dollar back.

TODD: A little party politics question I got to ask you. You're not -- you rolled this out today with Senator Markey as your Senate partner on this. Speaker Pelosi announced the Select Committee on climate change. You’re not on it. You said you were invited to be on it and you didn't. Why don’t you want to be on it?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I mean, I do want to be on it, but -- 

TODD: Okay. Then why aren't you on it? 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: So —

TODD: I'm sorry. It makes a lot of sense to me to put you on it. Why aren’t you on it?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: — no, absolutely. So, I think a lot of it frankly is timing and logistics. So, we announced our committee assignments, I did not know if I would be asked or selected for the select committee at that time. So I wanted to maximize my — my standing committee assignments. So I was able to get on Financial Services which is one of just a handful of exclusive committees that freshmen almost never get on, and I'm on the environmental subcommittee of oversight, which is also a very high profile committee and so with that, I'm also on four sub-committees and so when I got the call recently to get on the Select committee, I just didn't feel like I would be able to do it justice, however, Joe Neguse, okay, who’s an amazing climate activist is on it. 

TODD: So, you don't feel like it is a snub at all? 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I — I truly do not. 

TODD: Okay.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: The speaker was gracious enough to invite me on it and I think for me it was —

TODD: Would you have had to give up something to get on it? Was that the deal? 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: No. No.

TODD: Okay.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: It — I mean — I would — I would —

TODD: Would you have to give up financial services to have done this? 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I would have to give up the — doing my job well —

TODD: Okay.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: — is how I feel, and I don't want to give that up, you know? I — 

TODD: How committed is Speaker Pelosi to the Green New Deal cause there’s some people that read when she said oh, the “Green Dream,” thought she was being dismissive, you did not take it as a dismissive comment. Good on you, but do you think that she’s bought in?  

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  So, I think we’re a 100 percent bought in on addressing climate. For us on the Green New Deal, specifically what I introduced today was a resolution, not a bill. A resolution just has to pass the House and the substance of our resolution is not a plan, it’s a — it’s the scope of the plan, 

TODD: Right.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And so I think in terms of the scope of the plan, I think — I think we’re going to get there. We have — we launched with over 60 cosponsors in the house. That is pretty crazy and so we were able to launch on day one with 60 cosponsors. We have more rolling in and I — I think we may get a majority of the caucus on board. 

TODD: The president spent a lot of time on — using the s-word —

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Mmmm. Oh yeah.

TODD: — socialism and socialists. It was a not too subtle — I don’t know whether it’s a dig or an enhancement. I’ll let you decide. 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I was flattered.

TODD: Okay. Fair enough. You have said you are a Democratic Socialist. Can you be a Democratic Socialist and a capitalist? 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think it depends on your interpretation. So, there are some Democratic Socialists that would say absolutely not. There are other people that are Democratic Socialists that would say you know I think it is possible. 

TODD: What are you? 

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think it is possible. I think — yeah.

TODD:  Do you say to yourself: “I'm a capitalist, but —“

OCASIO-CORTEZ: No, I don't say that. 

TODD: Okay.

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  If anything, I would say that I believe in a democratic economy, but —

TODD: Gotcha.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: — but the but is there, okay. So, in some reason, if you're coming from Elizabeth Warren's perspective where she says — you know, she says things like I'm a capitalist, but we need hard rules for the game. 

TODD: What does the private sector do better than you know that the private sector — look, the government should say out of X cause the private sector does that better? 

OCASIO-CORTEZ:  Yeah I think there’s a lot of things. There’s a lot of consumer goods where the private sector works and I think there is a way to delineate that just because you're in the private sector, doesn’t — you can be in the private sector and be a democratically social business. Worker cooperates are a perfect example of that. It is not about government takeover. It’s about how much do workers have a say in your business. Do you have workers on the board? Do workers enjoy a decent amount of the wealth that they are creating? Or is the majority of the profits going to shareholders while you’re paying a worker $15 an hor to live in a New York City apartment and so that, to me, is the difference. It’s not that public — the public sector is democratically socialist and the private sector is not. It's really about a more nuanced understanding of how our economy should work.

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