Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Time To Move Serious Progressive Support Over To Bernie Sanders


If I could pick any candidate-- not a president, a candidate-- for the 2016 Democratic nomination if would certainly be someone from this page. And, although I think all three would make excellent presidents who would probably be among the best in the history of the country, I suspect I would "settle" on Elizabeth Warren, mostly because she is so compelling and could be so electable.

But as L.A. Times political columnist Doyle McManus chilled liberals yesterday, she's not running. Blue America has been saying basically the same thing all year, over and over. Warren is dedicated to her agenda and she has figured out the best way to pass it is working in the Senate. I respect her her-- and support her-- for that. The presidency not being in the cards is hardly the end of the world. It's a sign of sanity, in fact.
Warren didn’t do much to encourage all this attention. Last fall when People magazine asked whether she would run, the senator “wrinkled her nose,” the magazine reported, and said, nondefinitively: “I don’t think so....” She then added, “If there’s any lesson I’ve learned in the last five years, it’s don’t be so sure about what lies ahead. ... There are amazing doors that could open.”

Since then, though, Warren repeatedly has slammed one door shut. “I am not running for president,” she’s said over and over. She’s pledged to serve her full term in the Senate through 2018. Of course, hardly anybody believes what a politician says, especially on the subject of career ambition. When Barack Obama arrived in the Senate in 2005, he too said he had no plans to run for president.

But over the last few months, Democrats who do politics for a living have concluded Warren really means it based not on what she’s said, but on what she’s done-- or, more precisely, left undone.

“She isn’t traveling to Iowa or New Hampshire,” Democratic strategist Tad Devine noted. “She isn’t putting together a team of people to build an organization. ... This is a case where no means no.”

Why won’t Warren run?

A challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a grueling battle against tall odds. In national polls, Clinton wins the support of about 60 percent of Democrats, against only 11 percent for Warren. A face-off also would pit the Democrats’ two most prominent women against each other. “It would be a bad day for Emily’s List,” said one Democratic operative.

Warren is fiery about her favorite causes-- such as reducing the influence of Wall Street banks-- and yet that’s not the same fire in the belly required to run for president. She describes herself as an outside agitator, not a deal-maker, and you can’t be an outsider in the Oval Office.

Last year she fought the Obama administration and her own party’s Senate leadership to block the nomination of a former investment banker as undersecretary of the Treasury, and won-- although the nominee, Antonio Weiss, got a job that didn’t require Senate confirmation. She’s already tossed out signals that she’s likely to oppose President Obama’s desired trade agreement with 11 countries around the Pacific.

That’s why Warren is not running. But why has she been less than definitive? I suspect it’s because being considered a potential presidential candidate is a surefire way to get attention from the media for her causes and ideas. When Warren gave a speech to the AFL-CIO last month demanding legislation “to break up the Wall Street banks,” it won far more coverage because she might some day run for president.

There’s one quick way to stop all the speculation: Warren could formally endorse Hillary Clinton.

Last Tuesday, The New York Times reported a secret meeting happened between the two in December. Clinton’s aim, the paper said, was “to cultivate the increasingly influential senator”-- but she didn’t ask explicitly for Warren’s endorsement.

It’s going to be an interesting courtship given their prickly history. A 2003 book Warren co-wrote tartly denounced Clinton for failing to oppose bankruptcy legislation promoted by big banks: “As First Lady, Mrs. Clinton had been persuaded that the bill was bad for families. As New York’s newest senator, however, it seems that Hillary Clinton could not afford such a principled position.”

For Clinton, the price of an enthusiastic endorsement from Elizabeth Warren could be high. Warren may not expect Clinton to endorse her call to break up big banks, but she’d like her to move more in that direction.

As a relative newcomer from Massachusetts, Warren already has been invited into the Senate leadership. She’s quickly become one of the most influential Democrats in the country. And now she has the unofficial front-runner for her party’s presidential nomination asking for her help.
McManus suggests there's "one quick way to stop all the speculation: Warren could formally endorse Hillary Clinton." She could and she probably will at some point. Right now, though, she still has some tiny modicum of leverage and... maybe she'll endorse another candidate, a candidate far more in line with her core values and with the goals and principles she is championing for American working families. That would be Bernie Sanders, of course. Blue America has never endorsed a presidential candidate before. Bernie would be our first. I wonder what all the Draft Warren people will do though. Get on the Hillary/Wall Street bandwagon? Or get behind Bernie Sanders' campaign to accomplish what he's been working on for a lot longer than Elizabeth Warren has been a senator? If you'd like to help encourage Bernie to run, Blue America already has a page for that, a page for federal office, which means that even if he doesn't run for president, that's money that goes right into his Senate reelection warchest.

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At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Warren. I like Sanders. But to promote either to the White House is to ignore the lesson Obama caused the nation to have to learn the hard way: when you remove someone doing a great job where they are, you open the door for the other side to take that job and completely reverse the good that was done.

Almost every time Obama pulled someone into his Cabinet from an elected office, that person was replaced by a Republican. Kathleen Sebelius (Brownback after her remaining term was served by Parkinson), and Janet Napolitano (Jan Brewer) are but the first that come to mind. Are we willing to risk losing either Warren or Sanders to add to the GOP dominance of Congress, which would neutralize either of them as President? Have we learned NOTHING from Obama's political incompetence?

The Democrats are a sorry lot, and resemble a sick joke when compared to their historical connections. They need to show that they know where the real power lies, and it isn't in the Oval Office. It really is in the Congress, and that is where the likes of Warren, Sanders, and Grayson need to be for now, limiting the damage that the GOP can do to what remains of our democratic republic.

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous BrianG said...

Run Bernie Run. I shall not support another neoliberal Democrat.


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