December 22, 2013

After they finished bashing Pope Francis for daring to speak up about income disparity and the need to take care of the poor, talking heads on Fox moved on attacking yet another of their favorite targets, Massachusetts Senator and progressive champion Elizabeth Warren.

The Journal Editorial Report viewers this Saturday were treated to what basically amounts to round two of this nonsense: The Wall Street Journal’s pathetic attack on Elizabeth Warren:

A new Op-Ed from the WSJ tries -- and fails -- to take down the Senate's liberal icon

In a new Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal, Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler of the Third Way think tank warn that Democrats will only win if they ignore the recent success of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren and reject “economic populism.” Their argument is not convincing but, surprising no one, establishment centrists like Mike Allen of Politico and Ron Fournier of National Journal loved the piece. Allen even went so far as to categorize it as a game changer (which evidently sent a thrill up the leg of whoever runs Third Way’s Twitter account). But for those of us who don’t already wish to see Social Security and Medicare benefits cut, Third Way’s piece was little more than a reminder of the selfishness (and increasing irrelevance) of the economically plutocratic wing of the Democratic Party.

Third Way’s argument is basically two parts. The first is the unobjectionable assertion that Bill de Blasio and Elizabeth Warren’s “economic populism” has succeeded in no small part because they represent liberal electorates. Cowan and Kessler note that New York City hasn’t had a mayor subsequently achieve higher office since 1869, while Massachusetts hasn’t sent anyone to the White House since 1960. This strikes me as something of a non sequitur — no one of consequence that I know of has argued that Warren is a shoo-in for the presidency in 2016 — but the essential point, that much of America isn’t as liberal as its most liberal areas, is true in a “duh” kind of way.

The second plank of Third Way’s argument is that the recent failure of a referendum in Colorado, which sought to raise taxes in order to fund an overhaul of the state’s educational system, proves that “economic populism” is a “dead end” in those parts of America that aren’t already true blue. “On the same day that Bill de Blasio won in New York City,” they write, “a referendum to raise taxes on high-income Coloradans to fund public education and universal pre-K failed in a landslide.” On its face, this looks like a pretty convincing argument. Colorado is, after all, the consummate purple state. But as Markos Moulitsas points out, Third Way is rather egregiously misrepresenting the referendum here. It didn’t simply raise taxes “on high income Coloradans” — it raised taxes on all Coloradans. That’s a big, big difference.

In between the non sequitur half of the argument and the wildly misleading half of the argument, Third Way unleashes a torrent of numbers intended to convince the reader that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are needed, like, yesterday. Read on...

Here's more on Third Way from Markos: Corporate 'Dems': cutting Social Security is path to electoral victory:

Remember Third Way? They're the jokers who filled the void when the DLC collapsed. But unlike the DLC, Third Way operates in the shadows, lobbying Democrats behind the scenes and via travel junkets. So it's always a pleasure when they emerge from the shadows, like this piece in the Wall Street Journal (what, National Review wasn't available?):

If you talk to leading progressives these days, you'll be sure to hear this message: The Democratic Party should embrace the economic populism of New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Such economic populism, they argue, should be the guiding star for Democrats heading into 2016. Nothing would be more disastrous for Democrats [...]

Translation: Wall Street is scared shitless of De Blasio and Warren. But we knew that already. Head below the fold to see just how scared they are, and what they really want. Hint: it's something to do with Social Security and Medicare and their taxes, and none of it is good. Read on...

Of course we all know who the pundits in the segment above were cheering for.

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