“Hate to admit it but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a very good point." To his own disbelief, Fox News host Tucker Carlson found some points of agreement with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's criticism of corporate cronyism.
Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic Socialist and a favorite target of conservative criticism and ridicule, went off on a Twitter tirade Monday about Amazon's plan to open half of its new headquarters in New York City, her hometown, in exchange for over $1 billion of state subsidies.
We’ve been getting calls and outreach from Queens residents all day about this.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 13, 2018
The community’s response? Outrage. https://t.co/Jl4OIfa4gC
Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 13, 2018
“Hate to admit it but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a very good point,” he said.
This performance of bipartisanship is actually not as earth-shattering as it may seem at a glance. Although Carlson was raised on the knees of internationalist conservatism a-la Bill Kristol, he has since adopted the more Bannon-esque version of right-wing politics, which favors government intervention against the interests of big business (populist code for "elitist globalists sticking it to the little guy"). Carlson's recently-published book, "Ship of Fools," puts much of the blame for America's cultural and economic decline on the shoulders of global trade beneficiaries -- the once-sweethearts of the GOP, multi-national corporations. They are so culpable that the book accepts government curtailment of the free market, a notion which not so long ago would have been taboo on the right, as a legitimate -- possibly even necessary -- remedy for beleaguered American workers.
This puts Carlson, by his own admission, too close for comfort to the left's most prominent populist, Sen. Bernie Sanders. From there the road to Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders' intellectual scion, isn't long.
But even ignoring Carlson, Amazon's daylight heist of taxpayer subsidies has led even ardent free-marketeers to agree with Ocasio-Cortez. The National Review published an op-ed commending her as "mostly correct" (a shocking accolade from TNR!) in her criticism of Bezos' "corporate welfare," while the libertarian Reason Magazine preferred the word "bribes" to describe Amazon's
Even David French couldn't help but approve.
AOC takes on corporate cronyism and protests Pelosi on the same day? She’s going to make me like her, isn’t she? https://t.co/A08jvmbUps— David French (@DavidAFrench) November 13, 2018
No matter how earnestly the many tribes of American politics try to paint each other as incorrigible bands of radicals who plot to transform the country into an autocratic nightmare, it's worth remembering how community, small businesses, and local-scale dignity still count as the top priorities for most libertarians, liberals, and conservatives alike. Disagreement on means may be irreconcilable, but acknowledging even a thin consensus on ends may do well in defanging the more carnivorous elements in our discourse.
Adaam James is a Pluralist founder and senior editor. You can argue with him on Twitter.