First it was a photo of long-haired Beto O’Rourke playing in a punk band. Now, it’s college-age Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing on a rooftop.
(A reader sent along the Youtube link to the full four-minute music video. Watch it here.)
It first resurfaced on Twitter on Wednesday, the day before Ocasio-Cortez was sworn in as the youngest-ever female member of Congress. A Twitter user that affiliates itself with the far-right conspiracy theorist QAnon posted the video with the caption: “Here is America’s favorite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is...”
But if the point of releasing the video was to mock the young congresswoman, it elicited the exact opposite response:
Well, @AOC is officially done. She’ll never recover from the world seeing her...— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 3, 2019
...dancing adorably and having fun with her friends in high school? https://t.co/0zENCzBinA
cannot wait for my enemies to post a video of me spinning around looking super hot with the shiny hair of youth and act like they just caught me breaking into the Watergate Hotel— Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) January 3, 2019
Dear Anonymous, whatever your intentions were, you just won millions of new fans for the Congresswoman. America loves exuberance—& dancing. https://t.co/NdpDNYePhM— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) January 3, 2019
Does anyone have a video from my past that inadvertently makes me look effortlessly cool that they would like to release, to own me— Erik Hane (@erikhane) January 3, 2019
Since Ocasio-Cortez burst onto the political scene with her surprise primary victory over incumbent Joseph Crowley, she has become a favorite punching bag for the right. They are offended by her politics — she’s a self-described democratic socialist — and her inexperience. They’ve attacked her clothes and that maybe she went by “Sandy” in high school?
But the attacks often fall flat. Ocasio-Cortez, 29, catapulted to celebrity-level fame in the past few months, buoyed by live, unfiltered social media videos that offer a more authentic glimpse at who she is. The right’s attacks target the things that make her so popular: her fresh, unjaded view of what can be accomplished in Washington. Maybe it’s naive, but for many Americans, it feels refreshing.
It’s reminiscent of candidate Barack Obama who figured out early the power of connecting to voters via social media. And remember those pictures of a young Obama smoking what looked like marijuana (though it could have been a cigarette)? Those images only added to his “cool” factor.
It’s hard to see the strategy in unearthing old photos or videos of politicians actually looking hip and fun in their youth.