Step aside, Joe Rogan — the culture-cancelers will shortly adjust their sights to their next target. Ironically, this “thought experiment” from podcaster Adam Carolla apparently came during a discussion about Whoopi Goldberg and cancel culture, at least according to the Fox News chyron at the start of this clip.
“Oh boy,” Sean Hannity responded to Carolla’s question, “you’re going to step in that one.” And maybe even vindicate one of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ claims about her critics to boot:
Radio personality Adam Carolla is being slammed on social media after claiming that people only like rabble-rousing New York City congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because she’s young and attractive. The 57-year-old “Adam Carolla Show” host dropped the controversial bombshell during a recent appearance on “Hannity.”
“Here’s a quick thought experiment: if AOC was fat and in her 60s, would anyone listen to another thing she ever said?” the “Man Show” creator told Sean Hannity in the inflammatory interview. …
Carolla argued that while the 31-year-old politician is “young, vibrant and beautiful,” and “everyone’s always putting a camera and a mic in her face,” her “opinions are idiotic 95 percent of the time.”
“I don’t think, if she was a middle-aged heavyset woman, anyone would care what she had to say,” the podcaster concluded.
Hannity questions whether Carolla’s right. One can say fairly definitively that AOC’s not the only woman in the Democratic Party who gets that kind of attention for her progressive policies. Both Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren do as well, both of whom are in their 70s now but hit their political zenith in their 60s. Other examples come to mind too, such as Pramila Jayapal, who’s hardly known for being a sex symbol while still not “fat and in her 60s” either. In fact, Jayapal wants to make a bid for leadership in the next session and might even step over another woman in the House Progressive Caucus to do so:
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is stepping up calls to her colleagues about seeking a caucus-wide position next year, according to more than 15 lawmakers and aides. Her approach is a stark contrast with the other dozen or so Democrats privately eyeing leadership posts after the midterms, all of whom have avoided overt campaigning of any kind that might risk being seen as overstepping their longtime leaders.
Jayapal has even left some in the caucus with the impression that she could challenge Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), a fellow member of the progressive wing. The third-term lawmaker has tapped two allies to help muster support, having Reps. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) and David Scott (D-Ga.) make calls on her behalf.
AOC gets attention for a number of different reasons. Unlike her other Squad members, her election came as a shock against an establishment Democrat who got caught napping in his district. Her youth and hard-scrabble background made that story even more appealing, and her largely unfiltered public statements made her newsy — across the political spectrum. With that kind of visibility comes political power, and that kind of political power draws more attention, and so on.
However, at least one person agrees with Carolla’s argument, at least in terms of AOC’s critics. Remember this?
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 3, 2022
Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of focusing criticism on her, tweeting, “If Republicans are mad they can’t date me they can just say that instead of projecting their sexual frustrations onto my boyfriend’s feet. Ya creepy weirdos.” Carolla is all but corroborating that by claiming that her sex appeal is the only reason anyone follows her around at all, let alone her critics.
But still, this thought experiment fails. One, AOC is a member of Congress, not just some social-media rando with model-level qualities. Her opinions and policy stands matter, and as such will get attention commensurate to her influence in lawmaking. Two, AOC barely got into Congress before presumptively kicking off a purity purge in the Democratic Party, which makes her an even bigger target for criticism as a party leader. If AOC follows a typical arc of sticking in her House seat to follow Jayapal up the leadership ladder, she may well be around into her middle age, and will still get just as much attention as Warren did, at least.
It’s amusing, and you can bet that the butt-hurt brigade will come after Carolla for being sexist, or looks-ist, or denigrating, or whatever. That will be every bit as stupid as the Rogan Witch Hunt, and hopefully every bit as futile. But Carolla’s argument is wrong here, and Republicans will make a serious mistake in dismissing AOC as just another pretty face.