Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Guts Recognizing Guts

The piece in Politico, written by a Massachusetts senator, noted that she she had cast her vote in the Senate Banking Committee in favor of a nominee to serve as the No. 2 individual at the US Federal Reserve. However, her vote was cast "reluctantly because of my growing frustration over the concentration of people with ties to the megabank Citigroup in senior government positions" (as) in recent years, Wall Street institutions have exerted extraordinary influence in Washington’s corridors of power..."

It would be unsurprising for Democratic senators such as Elizabeth Warren to cast doubt upon the preponderance of industry-friendly administrators in the Trump Administration. However, this was April of 2014, and it was the Obama Administration, headed by a president Democratic politicians were loathe to criticize and whom Democrat voters still idolize.

David Sirota linked to the Senator's article while recognizing

Not enough guts, it appears, for some people reacting to Sirota's tweet.  One individual, who will remain nameless to protect the identity of the ridiculous, remarked "fair enough, but where were the guts when she stayed silent during the primary?" When someone suggested "at some point, maybe leave that primary in 2016," the first responded

I'm ready for the 2020 primary,but one shouldn't ignore the 2016 primary. It finally exposed the Democratic Party for what it truly is, i.e., an organization that represents the interests of the economic elite. The real fight is on the left, not between Dems and GOP.

For all its faults, the Democratic Party is not the party actually obeisant to such industries as financial, fossil fuel, and pharmaceutical, and that is no small thing. And Elizabeth Warren, especially, has nothing left to prove on that score.

In the last campaign, there was only one Democratic senator (obviously no Republicans) who endorsed Bernie Sanders' bid for the White House. That was Oregonian Jeff Merkley, a reliable liberal/progressive, most recently a fervent critic of President Trump's immigration policies and himself one of the dozens of prospective 2020 presidential candidates.

Nonetheless, there is distrust of Warren among some 2016 supporters of Bernie Sanders and others because she did not endorse the Vermont senator in his 2016 run. For perspective, let's recall that Washington Post reporters Anne Gearan and Mike DeBonis in November, 2015 wrote

The tableau surrounding Hillary Clinton on Monday was impressive: 13 female Democratic senators endorsing the Democratic 2016 presidential front-runner en masse.

The evening fundraising event on Capitol Hill brought in a chunk of campaign cash ahead of an often difficult fundraising month in December. But it was also meant to underscore Clinton’s near-monopoly among Democratic lawmakers who have declared a preference, and her appeal as the first woman with a strong shot at becoming president.

But one particularly influential female Democratic senator didn’t join her colleagues: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — the anti-Wall Street crusader who was courted to run as the darling of very liberal Democrats — has not endorsed Clinton, nor has she promised she will.

Mrs. Warren remained neutral until Mrs. Clinton's nomination was a fait accompli. The event evidently was a big success as it

drew about 1,000 supporters who paid between $250 and $2,700 for a ticket. Clinton also held two other fundraising events in Washington on Monday.

“It would take something extraordinary to get all 13 of us here at one time,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). “That something extraordinary is Hillary Clinton.”

Each of the senators appearing Monday night with Clinton has previously indicated at least tentative support for her presidential run. Warren, on the other hand, has stayed studiously neutral while pushing the candidates toward more liberal economic policies.

A senior Democratic aide familiar with the planning for the event did not believe that Warren was invited to participate.

Boxer dismissed the suggestion that Warren’s endorsement holdout might indicate deeper tensions among Democrats. “We have 83 percent of the senators supporting Hillary, and it’s wonderful,” she said Monday.

It was unclear what that figure referred to. Thirty-three of 44 Senate Democrats have officially backed Clinton, or 75 percent, while 93 percent of the 14 Democratic women have.

At that early date, fully three-fourths (75%) of Democratic senators already had endorsed Clinton. Moreover, every single female Democratic senator- except Elizabeth Warren- had done so. Lest we forget, there was enormous eagerness to break the "glass ceiling," to elect as President a woman, especially one named "Clinton," who had been a senator herself and earlier performed a substantive role in her husband's Administration.

But one woman presumably believed that her influence could better be exerted on policy, to extract whatever concessions possible -especially on the economic front- on the eventual nominee. Gearan and DeBonis continue

While Warren has clashed at times with the Obama administration — particularly over appointments to the Treasury Department — her relations with Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill have generally been positive and respectful. One notable exception was last December, when she criticized Democratic leaders for failing to strip a provision weakening the Dodd-Frank financial regulations from a massive spending bill.

But the fact that Warren has not yet endorsed a presidential candidate has been widely interpreted in Democratic circles as an effort to maintain her influence on the campaign agenda rather than as a snub of Clinton.

The tweet recognizing Warren's courage questioning the Obama Administration's approach to the financial services industry is fairly bold, especially coming from an early and faithful booster of Sanders 2016.  Sirota already had been harshly criticized for drawing attention to Beto O'Rourke's support in the House of Representatives for oil and gas interests and conservative initiatives.

Charismatic Texan O'Rourke is being touted as the brightest, freshest face among Democrats interested in the presidency, reminiscent of the exciting Illinoisan who captured the hearts and emotions of Democratic voters (and ultimately of the party establishment) some ten years ago.

Therefore, there may be a parallel between Sirota's skepticism of O'Rourke and his admiration for Senator Warren having "offered up one of the harshest critiques of Obama’s administration & the Dem Party Establishment." There also is a parallel to Sirota's courage and insight and that of the Massachusetts senator who resisted the pull three years ago to jump aboard the bandwagon of the heavily-favored Hillary Clinton.

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