Robert Hockett, who worked as an outside adviser to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezLawmakers coming under increased threats — sometimes from one another Maryland Democrat announces positive COVID-19 test Colorado Democrat latest House member to test positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-N.Y.) on the "Green New Deal," said Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinLawmakers in both parties to launch new push on Violence Against Women Act Domestic travel vaccine mandate back in spotlight Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE's (D-Calif.) viral exchange with young activists over the proposal was "unsurprising" and "sad."
Hockett described the 85-year-old Feinstein as "elderly" and an "old-timer" in his comments to Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising," saying the young people who confronted the senator have much at stake in the battle over climate change.
"When we're younger we tend to have much bigger ideas as to what's possible. We're more energetic, we're less tired when we're younger, and that means we tend to view many more things as feasible than elderly folks do," said Hockett, a professor at Cornell University.
"When an old-timer in the Congress sort of poo-poos them or dismisses them, and even is so cynical as to say 'well you can't vote for me anyway, so I don't care,' it's in a certain sense unsurprising, and yet in another sense, very, very sad," he said.
Feinstein's encounter with children, teenagers and adults working with the Sunrise Movement went viral after clips showed her appearing to dismiss the group. Feinstein said at various points of the discussion that she had worked hard on climate change in the past and had just won her election. She also said that the Green New Deal could not realistically pass Congress, an opinion that at least some other Democratic lawmakers also appear to share.
Hockett said the young people who had met with Feinstein have got "many more years ahead of them than do some of us old-timers, especially like Sen. Feinstein."
"I think for that very reason they have a much greater sense of urgency, on the one hand, because they're going to have to live with the most profound effects of climate change in a way that old-timers in the Congress are not going to have to."
— Julia Manchester