“Why would we ever pay people who are ‘unwilling to work’?”
A top adviser to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was widely cheered by liberals for on Friday standing up to Tucker Carlson’s claim that the Green New Deal would “pay who people unwilling to work.”
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But on Saturday, Robert Hockett was forced to admit that the provision of the deal he had scoffed at as an absurd idea invented by Republican hoaxers was in fact part of the sweeping plan spearheaded by Ocasio-Cortez.
“I regret that we seem unknowingly to have ended up speaking about different documents for a minute during our longer and otherwise ‘on-the-same-page’ conversation last night,” Hockett told the Daily Caller.
Hockett, a Cornell Law School professor, made the humiliating-in-retrospect comments during an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Host Carlson opened the interview by asking: “Why would we ever pay people who are ‘unwilling to work’?”
Hockett responded with a flat denial that Ocasio-Cortez would ever consider such a thing.
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“Uh, we never would, right? And AOC has never said anything like that, right?” he said. “I think you’re referring to some sort of document – I think some doctored document that somebody other than us has been circulating. … She’s actually tweeted it out to laugh at it, if you look at her latest tweets. It seems apparently, some Republicans have put it out there. I don’t know the details.”
Hockett was apparently referring to a tweet Thursday by the freshman congresswoman from New York that criticized parody versions of the Green New Deal FAQ.
Later in the interview, Hockett doubled down on his stance that the FAQ does not guarantee universal economic stability, saying: “Definitely not. That’s erroneous. It’s the wrong document. That’s not us.”
The exchange won the professor cheers from many liberal social media users. In a Twitter post retweeted by Media Matters, Andrew Lawrence, a senior researcher for the left-wing advocacy group, claimed that Hockett had debunked “all the conservative media lies straight to [Carlson’s] face.”
Watch what happens when Tucker Carlson steps out of the conservative bubble and brings on an @AOC policy adviser who debunks all the conservative media lies straight to his face (spoiler: it doesn't go great for Tucker) pic.twitter.com/joDNXBBB7G
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) February 9, 2019
But as some conservatives were quick to flag, the FAQ – which was posted to Ocasio-Cortez’s website and later deleted amid backlash – did in fact say that the Green New Deal will provide “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.” A copy remains on NPR’s website.
On Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist in favor of a massive increase in the size of the welfare state, seemingly backed away from that language, tweeting that an FAQ “got uploaded + taken down. She did not offer further details.
There are multiple doctored GND resolutions and FAQs floating around. There was also a draft version that got uploaded + taken down. There’s also draft versions floating out there.
Point is, the real one is our submitted resolution, H.Res. 109: https://t.co/ZlgWmNQn57
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 9, 2019
Her chief of staff and an author of the document, Saikat Chakrabarti, offered a similar explanation.
Both Chakrabarti and Ocasio-Cortez also referred supporters to a New Green Deal resolution that was formally introduced in Congress which does not include the FAQ’s language on universal economic support. The resolution is only a broad statement of intent, not a bill.
Ocasio-Cortez has a history of making factually incorrect claims, including about climate change, and then attacking those who point them out. She has also falsely accused conservatives of “doctoring” her words in the past.
For his part, Hockett vaguely admitted he had made an error in an email late Saturday to the Caller.
“It appears there was more than one document being discussed yesterday, only one of which I had heard about with any definiteness by last evening after a long day of media appearances – namely, the one referred to by the Congresswoman in her tweet,” he said. “I regret that we seem unknowingly to have ended up speaking about different documents for a minute during our longer and otherwise ‘on-the-same-page’ conversation last night.”
Still, a number of liberals and news outlets framed the saga as somehow embarrassing to Carlson and Ocasio-Cortez’s other conservative critics. The Huffpost has yet to amend an article it published Sunday taunting Carlson for getting “fact-check on his own show.”
Hey, shout out to Trump supporters falling over themselves trying to eviscerate @AOC over a single word in a summary that WASN’T IN THE ACTUAL BILL, barely a week after the President literally said “Brr, it’s cold outside in January – guess there’s no climate change!”
— Jules Suzdaltsev (@jules_su) February 9, 2019
Apparently emboldened by the fact-free partisan environment, Hockett on Sunday compared the Green New Deal to the classic James Joyce novel “Ulysses,” urging everyone to wait for the supposed masterwork to come.
Exactly. Literary historians can talk about pirated versions of Ulysses, discarded drafts, notes that Joyce wrote to himself, even his grocery lists… but at some point shouldn't we start reading the actual book – the huge game-changing work that got signed and published? https://t.co/MHlg2rRkQm
— Robert Hockett (@rch371) February 9, 2019
The Green New Deal plan – a promised progressive panacea for America’s alleged problems that offers net-zero greenhouse gas emissions within 10 years, health care for all, high-speed trains, and support for family farming, among other far-fetched goals – has been endorsed by leading Democratic presidential candidates, including cosponsors Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has not shown much enthusiasm for the would-be legislation, referring to it last Wednesday as the “green dream or whatever they call it.”
Republicans, who have generally pooh-poohed government solutions to global warming as counterproductive, have almost universally derided the Green New Deal plan. The Republican National Committee in an email last month dubbed it a multi-trillion dollar “factually incorrect socialist wish list” that would kill at least 1 million jobs and disrupt global trade.
The RNC also called Ocasio-Cortez a “mini-Maduro,” referring to authoritarian Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.
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