Monday, November 11, 2013

Liz, si: Hillary, no...?

Should Elizabeth Warren be the Democratic party standard bearer in 2016? Here's the piece by Noam Scheiber that everyone is talking about...
On one side is a majority of Democratic voters, who are angrier, more disaffected, and altogether more populist than they’ve been in years. They are more attuned to income inequality than before the Obama presidency and more supportive of Social Security and Medicare.1 They’ve grown fonder of regulation and more skeptical of big business.2 A recent Pew poll showed that voters under 30—who skew overwhelmingly Democratic—view socialism more favorably than capitalism. Above all, Democrats are increasingly hostile to Wall Street and believe the government should rein it in.

On the other side is a group of Democratic elites associated with the Clinton era who, though they may have moved somewhat leftward in response to the recession—happily supporting economic stimulus and generous unemployment benefits—still fundamentally believe the economy functions best with a large, powerful, highly complex financial sector. Many members of this group have either made or raised enormous amounts of cash on Wall Street. They were deeply influential in limiting the reach of Dodd-Frank, the financial reform measure Obama signed in July of 2010.

But as central as this debate is to the identity of the party, Democrats won’t openly litigate it until they’re forced to ponder life after Obama.
All of this is deeply problematic for Hillary Clinton. As a student of public opinion, she clearly understands the direction her party is headed. As the head of an enterprise known as Clinton Inc. that requires vast sums of capital to function, she also realizes there are limits to how much she can alienate the lords of finance. For that matter, it’s not even clear Clinton would want to. “Many of her best friends, her intellectual brain trust [on economics], all come out of that world,” says a longtime Democratic operative who worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign and then for Hillary in the White House. “She doesn’t have a problem on the fighting-for-working-class-folks side”—protecting Medicare and Social Security—“but it will be hard, really wrenching for her to be that populist on [finance] issues.”

Which brings us to the probable face of the insurgency. In addition to being strongly identified with the party’s populist wing, any candidate who challenged Clinton would need several key assets. The candidate would almost certainly have to be a woman, given Democrats’ desire to make history again. She would have to amass huge piles of money with relatively little effort. Above all, she would have to awaken in Democratic voters an almost evangelical passion. As it happens, there is precisely such a person. Her name is Elizabeth Warren.
In part, Scheiber hopes to replay the 2008 primary election: Hillary is the DNC Dem and we need a populist Dem. The problem with that argument, back in 2008, was that Obama was no populist. Some of us understood that fact early on; alas, most liberals fell under the guy's spell. Hillary was actually to his left on many issues, including the Iraq war and NAFTA. Nevertheless, both of those issues were used against her in one of the most deceptive, divisive and infuriating elections ever.

Warren strikes me as being closer to the real thing. She's not my idea of liberal perfection, but she sure ain't Obama.

If Hillary is the pick, the GOP war cry will be "Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi" - which will be very annoying. The lies about Benghazi have been exposed many times, yet the right keeps telling them, and nothing will stop them. But at least "Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!" is not "Vince Foster! Vince Foster! Vince Foster!"  I guess that's progress.

If Warren is the pick, the war cry will be "Indians! Indians! Indians!" All very tiresome.

Am I the only one who finds it odd that the New Republic has published a piece arguing that the Clintons are not progressive enough? During the 1990s, the New Republic -- which I then called the Newly Republican -- repeatedly attacked Bill Clinton from his right, especially on health care and the Whitewater canard.

Left, right, whatever -- the big takeaway here is that All Clintons Are Bad. That's the tune which magazines like The Newly Republican love best.

Whenever the mainstream pundits pull out the French horns and sound the All Clintons Are Bad theme, I really want to vote for a Clinton. Otherwise, I would favor Warren. Hillary should never have worked for Obama; she now wears the perfume of his failures.


Anonymous said...

I don't care for the stereotypes, but they are in play.

Ms. Warren has no foreign policy experience, or business experience. She has a great academic career specializing in bankruptcy.

As much as her nomination would be pleasing to many, I do not see her as a credible general election candidate.

Ms. Clinton has most of that which Ms. Warren lacks, and would be a better general election candidate, in my view.

I like them both, possibly like Warren more, but the important thing is to keep the crazed party out of the Oval Office.


William said...

I fully agree with Anonymous. A Democrat win of the 2016 election is not only important for the left but it is important for all the 99%.

cracker said...

Perhaps we should have presidential candidates who don't qualify for Social Security before they are elected. This practice makes vice-presidential candidates even more important. Reagan's senility in his second administration should have taught us something. Currently, the candidates who seem to have been selected for us are Hillary and Christie, although betting that both of them will still be alive in seven years might be reckless gambling.

Why are the Clintons so hated? Maybe it's because they went from making chump change in Little Rock less than 30 years ago to having a combined net worth now estimated to be over 200 million dollars. Not bad for a lifetime of public service, and it all began with Hillary's successful career in trading cattle futures, which certainly trumps Ms. Warren's lack of business experience. Anyone who thinks the Clintons are concerned with the 99% just because they still place a "D" after their names is beyond delusional. It would be difficult to find two people who have been more consistently venal and self-serving. There aren't enough cosmetics on earth to present Ms. Clinton as any kind of a populist. On a more positive note, I see Hillary in yet another remake of the Manchurian Candidate, starring in the Angela Lansbury role.

Perry Logan said...

Cracker asks: "Why are the Clintons so hated?"

My friend, the Clintons are not hated. The Clintons are more popular than all the progressives in the world rolled into one. It's the people who hate the Clintons who have a problem.

Anonymous said...

A Democrat win in the 2016 election will ensure more smooth road for the oligarchs in dismantling what's left of our worker protections and social safety net. Seriously? Yeah god forbid the Republicans get back in power, then the Democrats might actually have to pretend to oppose them instead of sitting on their lobbyist-fattened asses and telling us things could totally be way worse while shamelessly selling out all their historic bases of power. That blackmail-themed strategy's been working for us real great for the last 30 years, hasn't it?