Friday, October 30, 2015

Is Hillary Going To Embrace Third Way, The Republican Wing Of The Democratic Party?


Establishment Democrats seem upset that Bernie has turned out to be more than just a nuisance vanity candidate, quite a lot more. His popularity and rising poll numbers have certainly been forcing their candidate to take stands on issues she would have rather not talked about-- from Keystone XL Pipeline to the disastrous trade agreement she was complicit in negotiating, the TPP, and which she has now been forced to disown. Progressives are holding her to a higher standard because of Bernie and she finds herself coming out for progressive policy she's never been particularly comfortable with. She did dig her heals in on Glass-Steagall, but she's been doing a lot of tap-dancing around her relationship to Wall Street and the policies progressives are demanding, another reason why it may have been unhelpful for Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, to endorse her so early.

Wednesday, during a campaign stop in Bernie Country, she was questioned by a New Hampshire AARP volunteer spokesperson about what she means by "enhancing Social Security," rather than using the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders term of expanding Social Security. she began her response be assuring the audience (Democrats) that she will "defend Social Security from the continuing efforts by some to privatize it... we are not going to privatize Social Security." She went on to talk about those recipients "who are most vulnerable in terms of what their monthly payout is... primarily divorced, widowed, single women who either never worked themselves or worked only a little" and the need to "get the monthly payment for the poorest Social Security recipients up." She also said "I want to look at raising the cap, I think that’s something we should look at how we do it, because I don’t want it to be an extra burden on middle class families and in some parts of the country, you know, there’s a different level of income that defines middle class. So what do we skip and what level do we start at?" OK, fine... but here's the tricky part:
[W]e do have to consider ways to make sure that the funding of Social Security does maintain the system. I think we have a number of options-- this would be something that I would look at. I do not favor raising the retirement age and I don’t favor it because it might be fine for somebody like me, but the vast majority of working people who have worked hard and have had a difficult, maybe last couple of decades trying to continue to work, it would be very challenging for them. If there were a way to do it that would not penalize or punish laborers and factory workers and long distance truck drivers and people who really are ready for retirement at a much earlier age, I would consider it. But I have yet to find any recommendation that I would think would be suitable.
Progressives were immediately alarmed by the non-definitiveness of her statement. CREDO sent out a note to its members: "Democratic primary voters deserve to know exactly where Secretary Clinton stands on Social Security... Sec. Clinton needs to draw a line in the sand and make it clear that she will veto any bill that cuts Social Security benefits or raises the retirement age." This is non-negotiable for progressives-- and she knows it very well, which is why she's treading so softly. Without explicitly stating that she is against all cuts, her targeted "enhancements: might well be just one half of the discredited Bowles-Simpson plan (discredited by progressives but still beloved by the conservatives and New Dems she's surrounded herself with). Sanders is 100% clear and unambiguous about where he stands: expansion, a position he shares with 43 Democratic senators and 116 of the Democratic House Members.

Writing at HuffPo yesterday, Sam Stein made the point that the centrists and right-leaning folks in the Democratic Party-- the Establishment, the Clinton wing, the Republican wing, the New Dems, the Blue Dogs... however you want to phrase it-- are still spooked by the level of grassroots support for Bernie. "On Wednesday morning," he wrote, "the think tank Third Way held a briefing in which it warned candidates that they risked personal and broadly shared electoral harm if they echoed Sanders' populist message." Third Way is as far right as you can go without crossing over to the GOP. They're not in favor of the candidates on the Blue America page who have already endorsed Bernie and are running on a generally similar platform. Outside of most social issues, the careerists and shills at Third Way have far more in common with Republicans than they do with progressives.
"You would be back to 1972 [if Bernie were nominated]," warned Bill Daley, President Barack Obama's former chief of staff and a Third Way board member, referencing the blowout Richard Nixon win that year. "It was not a happy time for Democrats. The guy has been a socialist his whole life and now decides he is a Democrat and therefore the Democratic Party has got to move to that extreme? I think it is a recipe for disaster."

The rise of Sanders, though unanticipated, has exposed familiar ideological fissures within the Democratic Party. Virtually every modern presidential election has pitted an insurgent candidate with populist appeal against a more centrist-minded or establishment alternative.

Bill Clinton's win in 1992 ushered in a generation of modern, more moderate [he means "conservative" but that's like cursing someone and Sam's such a polite boy] New Democrats. And when Clinton left office, several of his former staffers started up Third Way to discourage the party from reverting to its leftward ways. During the Obama era, the group issued similar warnings about the rise of Democratic populism and played consequential policy roles-- most memorably encouraging lawmakers to abandon the pursuit of a public option during the crafting of health care reform in 2010.

On the eve of a post-Obama America, Third Way's role appears more defensive or, at least, complicated by the few candidates running for the White House. Far from cheerleading Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, it warned her not to mimic her nearest competitor.

"They are really going to beat her up to move further and further and further [to the left] because they assume she is going to get it and they want their piece of flesh," said Daley.

The attack on Sanders, meanwhile, was one of the more overtly aggressive yet to come from within Democratic ranks.

"I think the Third Way message was great in '92 but out of date for a 2016 electorate… I have no doubt that if we can get through the nominating process against such a formidable opponent he will be very strong in the general," said Tad Devine, Sanders' top strategist, in response. "Bernie has the potential to change the composition of the electorate, and getting young people and lower income voters back into it on the side of the Democrats because his message is so powerful and believable coming from him."

...Third Way argued that a focus on issues like a $15 minimum wage, expanding Social Security benefits and advocating for single-payer health care all create the political dynamics that make Democrats electorally vulnerable. But few Democrats have made their campaigns squarely about these three issues in past races.
Third Way is extremely popular in corporate boardrooms and with the banksters who fund it. It has virtually no support from real people though, which helps explain why these people are no longer in Congress:

Artur Davis (AL)
Melissa Bean (IL)
Dan Boren (OK)
Dennis Cardoza (CA)
Joe Baca (CA)
Leonard Boswell (IA)
Harold Ford (TN)
Travis Childers (MS)
Gene Taylor (MS)
Brad Ellsworth (IN)
Baron Hill (IN)
Walt Minnick (ID)
Mike Ross (AR)
Charlie Melancon (LA)
Frank Kratovil (MD)
Bobby Bright (AL)
Dan Maffei (NY)
Jim Marshall (GA)
John Barrow (GA)
Bart Stupak (MI)
Allen Boyd (FL)
Bart Gordon (TN)
Shelley Berkley (NV)
Kathy Dahlkemper (PA)
Debbie Halvorson (IL)
John Salazar (CO)
Steve Dreihaus (OH)
John Boccieri (OH)
Harry Mitchell (AZ)
John Tanner (TN)
Brian Baird (WA)
Paul Kanjorski (PA)
Lincoln Davis (TN)
Tom Periello (VA)
Glenn Nye (VA)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD)
Parker Griffith (AL)
Mike Arcuri (NY)
Earl Pomeroy (ND)
Scott Murphy (NY)
Ike Skelton (MO)
Chris Carney (PA)
Betsy Markey (CO)
Harry Teague (NM)
Zack Space (OH)
Pete Gallego (TX)
Nick Lampson (TX)
Colleen Hanabusa (HI)
Tim Holden (PA)
Nick Rahall (WV)
Suzanne Kosmas (FL)
Mike McMahon (NY)
Bob Etheridge (NC)
Mike McIntyre (NC)
Heath Shuler (NC)
Ben Chandler (KY)
Mark Critz (PA)
Kathy Hochul (NY)
Larry Kissell (NC)
Joe Garcia (FL)
Jim Matheson (UT)
Ron Barber (AZ)
Brad Schneider (IL)

That's 63 who followed The Third Way who were forced to leave Congress. Here are not-Third Way candidates, real good ones. And here's some non-Third Way news very much worth watching and thinking about:

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At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My comment got eaten, but long and short - I don't care what Primary Progressives promise. President Hillary Clinton is going to sign TPP when it crosses her desk. Maybe she won't "privatize" Social Security and Medicare, but old people will get screwed when she signs the bill that "reforms" them. All the pretty words in the world can't overcome a long political record of corruption.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger lukeness said...

Daley just unleashed a thinly veiled threat to do what their forebears did to McGovern. The Republican wing of the Democratic Party was to blame for that disaster, not the populist McGovern supporters. But that's a story that's rarely told.

At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you will notice that most of those seats listed are now occupied by Tea Party types. Only Lieberman (and in the future, Feinstein) have their seats occupied by better politicians (but they set a VERY low bar)

At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Daley works for Argentiere Capital. 'Nuff said.


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