Whatever else you may think of her, first-time Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is a great American success story. Hers is a classic “triumph of the underdog” tale. Nobody expected her to upset 10-term incumbent Congressman and Chair of the House Democratic caucus, Joe Crowley, in last June’s Democratic primary in her New York City congressional district, but she did. Using her apartment as her campaign headquarters and going door to door in her district, AOC proved once again that a motivated, hard-working American can succeed against long odds.

Ocasio-Cortez is clever and shrewd in some ways, embarrassingly clueless in others. On the positive side, she is media-savvy and shows astute political instincts. On the negative side, to put it mildly, her understanding of American government is deficient (she didn’t even know what the three branches of government are), her grasp of economic and history is minimal (she espouses the ideology of socialism despite its inherent flaws e.g., no economic calculation or coordination is possible without private property, market-based prices, and a profit-and-loss calculus), and she seems oblivious to elementary arithmetic, as evidenced by her proposals for Uncle Sam to spend tens of trillions of dollars more than exist in spendable form.

Conservatives seem to think AOC will self-destruct by repeatedly showing her economic obtuseness, but they are wrong. They are underestimating her ability to exploit media and her political acumen. Last summer after her primary victory, AOC was a guest on “The View.” Channeling King David’s son Absalom — the prototype for using flattery and charm to further one’s political ambitions — she effusively hugged each of the five hostesses, gushing and giving them her best “Oh, I’m so privileged to meet you” greeting.

In her interview on “60 Minutes,” she alternately voiced clever, quotable sound bites at the expense of Republicans and responded to questions about her apparent factual inaccuracies by playing the role of a disarmingly innocent political neophyte who admittedly hadn’t mastered all the details, but whose heart is in the right place.

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