Newsweek does damage control for AOC’s constitutional ignorance – Washington Examiner

It must be nice, having national newsrooms to run full-time damage control pro bono.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said a stupid thing recently during a one-on-one interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. That she said something ignorant is not news at all. What is newsworthy is that Newsweek felt the need to protect her where she is clearly in the wrong.

The congresswoman was asked last Friday what lessons she learned from studying former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, for which her preposterous “Green New Deal” is named.

“I think there’s a couple of lessons. One is that when we look into our history, when our party was boldest, time of the New Deal, the Great Society, the Civil Rights Act, and so on. We had and carried supermajorities in the House, in the Senate. We carried the presidency,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding her colleagues today need to overcome “fear within our own party” about being “too bold.”

This is where her response goes awry: “They had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected.”

Close, but no cigar.

The 22nd Amendment was passed in 1947. FDR died in 1945. Though there was indeed talk of such an amendment during FDR’s lifetime, the rule wasn’t introduced and passed until after the GOP took both chambers in the 1946 elections, one year after he died. And even then, it was worded so as not to apply to the sitting president.

This was a simple error on the congresswoman’s part. But Newsweek apparently thought her a damsel in need of rescuing.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked on Twitter for constitutional mistake – but was she actually right?” read the original headline to the magazine’s defense of the New York lawmaker.

The story adds, “The dates appeared to leave the argument cut-and-dried … [but] some eagle-eyed social media commenters pointed out that the original architects of the 22nd Amendment were inspired by Roosevelt’s monopoly on the White House and began campaigning long before his death.”

It’s a huge stretch, but let’s just say this is what Ocasio-Cortez meant when she said the GOP “had to amend the Constitution of the United States to make sure Roosevelt did not get reelected.” Let’s pretend for a moment the congresswoman was really referring to early efforts to limit presidential terms via a constitutional amendment and see where the Newsweek article goes:

FDR did die in office in ‘45 and the 22nd amendment did come in ‘47 but Congress did start the legislative process in 1944 prior to his death so that he would not be reelected,” another Twitter user wrote in Ocasio-Cortez’s defense. “It was not ratified soon enough and he won in ‘44. AOC did not misspeak, friends.”

The National Constitution Center also had Ocasio-Cortez’s back. On its website, the nonpartisan organization explained: “Talk about a presidential term-limits amendment started in 1944, when Republican candidate Thomas Dewey said a potential 16-year term for Roosevelt was a threat to democracy. “In March 1947, a Republican-controlled Congress approved a 22nd Amendment, with an exception that would exclude a president in office from term limits during the ratification process.”

Oh, come off it, Newsweek. You’re embarrassing yourself.

The 22nd Amendment, which wasn’t even finalized until 1951, specifically exempted presidents who were in office during the ratification process, meaning it wouldn’t have applied to FDR even if it had passed years earlier. Yet, this is the “well, actually” defense Newsweek went with on behalf of Ocasio-Cortez, who favorably cited the article this week as she was justifiably mocked on social media for being both ignorant and arrogant enough to make claims about which she was ignorant.

Perhaps realizing its cleanup attempt was as obvious as it was ridiculous, Newsweek has amended the story headline to something a bit more subtle: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked on Twitter for constitutional mistake – but here’s the full story.”

“The full story.” Sure.


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