Lauren Boebert fancies herself, tacitly or otherwise, as the AOC of the right.
The former bartender from the Bronx, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, isn’t intimidated by the pistol-packing diner owner from Rifle, who is one of the newest members of Congress.
A gun tips the balance in a test of wills, however.
AOC was on “Cuomo Primetime” on CNN last Friday night. The host asked if she thought fellow members of Congress were armed to protect her or possibly target her, if things go bad, again.
The day before, Rep. Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, reportedly tried to carry a concealed weapon onto the floor of the House.
After he set off the metal detector, Harris oddly tried to hand off his pistol to Rep. John Katko, according to a reporter who was there. For the record, if anyone asks me to hold their gun at a metal detector, I’m a hard no.
Katko reportedly told Harris he didn’t have a license to carry a gun. Harris left and came back unstrapped.
Katko used to prosecute organized crime for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Syracuse. I imagine the ex-prosecutor's face as a potential lawbreaker tried to hand him the smoking gun. Politics is strange business, which gets me back to Boebert.
Chris Cuomo straight up asked AOC if she was afraid of some of her colleagues. Some, she wasn't so sure about. You can guess which ones.
“Here’s what I’ll say,” AOC said. “The moment you bring a gun on to the House floor in violation of rules, you put everyone around you in danger. It is irresponsible. It’s reckless, but beyond that, it’s in violation of rules. You are openly disobeying the rules we have established as a community, which means you cannot be trusted to be held accountable to what we’ve decided as a community.
“So I don’t really care what they say their intentions are. I care what the impact of their actions are. And the impact is to put all 435 members of Congress in danger.”
Without even saying Boebert’s name, she put down the gunslinger.
Boebert has staked her political persona on her gun, and it's going to get heavy. On Jan. 3, she tweeted a look-at-me-now video of her marching around D.C. promising to carry her gun to Congress and in Washington. "I refuse to give up my rights, especially my Second Amendment rights," she said.
Yeah, that’s illegal, said Robert Contee, the capital's police chief.
“We plan to reach out to the congresswoman’s office to make sure that she is aware what the laws of the District of Columbia are, what the restrictions are,” he said. “That congresswoman … will be subjected to the same penalties for anyone else that’s caught on a District of Columbia street carrying a firearm unlawfully.”
Naturally, she went on "Fox and Friends" to respond.
“I will have and will be able to carry here in Washington, D.C., so this is something that I am well ahead on,” she said.
Let's see how long it takes that tea kettle to whistle. We will find out if Boebert can be disarmed in the coming weeks.
Rules ban guns from the House and Senate chambers, but congressional members can keep loaded guns in their offices. They can only carry unloaded, "securely wrapped” firearms on Capitol grounds.
Boebert called the metal detectors a "political stunt" hatched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Takes one to know one, I suppose. A procession of other gun-loving Republicans joined her, welcoming a Second Amendment fight that might divert attention from any role they had in spurring on the insurrectionists.
AOC's teammate on The Squad, Rep. Rashida Tlaib from the Detroit area, said rogue Republicans now know how school kids feel passing through metal detectors to keep the river of guns on the street from seeping into school buildings.
“Suck it up buttercups,” Tlaib tweeted. “Y’all brought this on yourselves."
Pelosi plans to have the Democratic majority vote on rules that could level fines starting at $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 per offense after that, deducted from the flouters' congressional pay.
Leading a movement does get expensive. It remains to be seen if her antics cost Boebert support from moderate voters tired of the D.C. circus on both sides, a reason they might have voted for an outsider over a five-term incumbent.
I talked to my friend Michael Huttner on Sunday. He’s the slickest of the slick in the operative game. He doesn’t just know where the Democratic Party’s philosophical bodies are buried, Huttner philosophically dug the hole.
He says Democrats have the 3rd Congressional District circled in red to beat Boebert. Money won’t be a problem, and the incumbent will have to answer for what she did or didn't do in Washington. Now she can't back down and give up her guns after putting out a video promising she wouldn't. That's central to her brand, like Colonel Sanders giving up fried chicken.
Guns won’t keep a drop of water on the Western Slope or keep the oil and gas industry alive. Those causes need allies, not enemies, so, like I said, fighting is expensive.
The trick, Huttner said, will be to make every Republican look just like Boebert.