Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Last Night's Debate: Elizabeth Warren, Capitalist

Elizabeth Warren pretty much killed it in last night's Massachusetts Democratic Senator primary debates. (The Boston Herald rather gushingly agrees!) What's fascinating about Warren is that mostly she speaks from that odd place of 100% overlap between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. (Where she deviates from either side is on things like legalizing marijuana (she's quite against, actually!) and immigration (she believes in "retaining talent" in America, no matter where it was born.)) Consider her closing statement.

So, I've been talking a lot tonight about fighting for America's middle class. I grew up on the ragged edge of the middle class, a family that scraped by, until my father had a heart attack, the medical bills piled up, and we lost our car, my mother went to work at Sears so that we could hold on to our house. Like a lot of people in this audience, I worked hard for everything I got. But I grew up in an America that was full of opportunity. We have lost our way. We now live in a world where America's middle class is getting hammered, and Washington doesn't get it. Washington is ran for the big guns, the ones who can afford lobbyists and lawyers. That's not right. We have a choice. We can either choose to give more tax subsidies to those who have already made it big, or we can take that money and invest in opportunities for the next kids who are going to make it big. That's our choice right here in Massachusetts.

Impossible to tell! Left, right, in-between? Sure! Overall, she came off as extremely pro-business, which is not what one might have expected.

(The other best part of the debate is that someone was either breathing or snoring like Darth Vader by the Herald's livestream camera? Bizarre!)

26 Comments / Post A Comment

lawyergay (#220)

I live in Massachusetts and will vote for Warren, natch, if she gets the nomination, but I'm not entirely clear on who I'll support in the primary. Khazei is a true blue liberal who ran last time. Warren may not be great on some issues that important to me–and legalization of marijuana is one of them–but considering the outrageous economic inequality in our society, I think Warren may end up being the more effective senator.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@lawyergay Agreed. I like Khazei a great deal, but I don't know if he could beat Scott Brown. (And I still shudder when I think that such a thing could be possible in Massachusetts.)

Astigmatism (#1,950)

Why should she be anti-business? What does that even mean? Despite what the far right fervently believes (and notwithstanding a handful on the far-left fringe), most of the left doesn't hate business any more than they like abortions. Businesses make things that people want to buy, they hire people to work and pay them money to do it, and they make a profit that goes to their investors in the process. These are all good things. The problem is that, left unchecked, businesses start making crappy things and convincing people to buy them anyway (because they hide how crappy they really are), lay off as many people as possible and cut salaries for the ones left over (because where else are they going to go), and stop returning profit to investors but instead pay it all out to a small handful of executives (because investors have no real power to affect management decisions).

Abe Sauer (#148)

@Astigmatism This. This thing. I'm just going to copy this and every time I come across a tea party site post mocking the occupy wall street protesters as hypocrites because they, like, eat consumer products such as ChezIts, I'm just going to paste it in the comments.

deepomega (#1,720)

@Astigmatism I'd just go a step further and say that the actually anti-business fringe liberals are fucking assholes.

hockeymom (#143)

@Astigmatism Your brain is making me hot.

r&rkd (#1,719)

I saw Warren speak the other month. I found it interesting how much her nostalgia for an earlier era of non-struggling middle-class life overlapped with anti-feminist reaction, specifically her discussion of how having a non-working adult provides a family with a cushion against misadventure. I don't mean to say that she's anti-feminist or even non-feminist, and I think she'd make a good legislator given the realistic options, but functionally there is some overlap.

lawyergay (#220)

@josiah See, this is the kind of thing that people just don't know about Warren yet. Liberals and other lefties desperate for some leadership from a Democrat have projected all their hopes and dreams onto her.

City_Dater (#2,500)


But having an adult at home taking care of young children does "provide a family with a cushion against misadventure" — the only thing that would make this an anti-feminist statement would be adding that only a woman can and should do this, and she should never plan a return to the work force outside the home, ever.

Matt (#26)

This idea that there's some significant overlap between the Tea Party (so, The Right) and Occupy Wall Street (so, The Left) is the most fatuous, damaging thing about the whole endeavor and enough to move it over the brink from something that's just annoying to something that should be shut down, immediately.

Astigmatism (#1,950)

@Matt The Ron Paul billboards I saw posted on the lawn in front of Occupy Boston this morning haven't stopped making me angry yet, and that was three hours ago.

jetztinberlin (#392)

@Matt But in terms of the actual problems and issues of the base(s), there is a huge overlap. There are certainly plenty of differences, but there is also a huge place of commonality (i.e. the 99%, to borrow a phrase). Where and how it's being politically steered may be wildly different, and in what some (me) may discern as a pathetic and horrible way, as in the Tea Partiers being led to support the politicians and policies that are most destructive to their own selves and prospects, but there is still a place of crossover, whether that's palatable or not. That place of crossover is beyond Left or Right or Dem or GOP and is simply whether one is part of the privileged elite (hardly anyone) or isn't (mostly everyone).

Matt (#26)

@jetztinberlin My point is that 'the 99%' doesn't actually mean anything. That it's harmful on every other front, just as a concept. Basically get off my lawn.

jetztinberlin (#392)

@Matt OK, well how about the long version: since the system is broken, the only way to get real change to occur is for people to realize it's broken way beyond a place that the idea of 'Left' or 'Right' can solve, and work together to alter the corruption of the entire system, since real change of this kind can only happen if enough of the populace understands and supports it.

Basically, even though I hate your shirt, welcome to my lawn, have some lemonade.

Ham Snadwich (#11,842)

@jetztinberlin Yeah, I'm not so sure. I don't see a lot of overlap on what government programs the Tea Party wants to scrap vs. the ones the Occupy Wall Street crowd wants to scrap. One is "cut taxes and everything but defense" and the other is "raise taxes and only cut defense".

deepomega (#1,720)

@Matt I didn't realize that the Tea Party was pro-bank bailouts.

jetztinberlin (#392)

@Ham_Snadwich Do you see overlap between OWS and the disenfranchised frustrated people who don't have jobs or healthcare and thus allied themselves with the TP? Cause that's all I'm talking about. The bulk of TP members became thus because they felt screwed; most of the 'policies' now associated with it didn't come from them, they came from the Koch brothers. I'm not saying I would necessarily be best buds with them, but I'm saying if someone, anyone, could articulate that everyone's having the same problems, and get them to mobilize together on those grounds, it is the only damn thing that might be big enough to take down the corporate control of this country.

But I do still hate their shirts, don't get me wrong.

HiredGoons (#603)

@jetztinberlin: I think the biggest overlap is a lack of coherent direction and vague, innocuous threats.

jetztinberlin (#392)

@HiredGoons I tip my hat to you, sir. I tip my hat.

ericdeamer (#945)

I've seen Bernie Sanders go after Bernanke and do some "fed bashing" that would make a Ron Paul supporter proud. Don't see why the idea that there's some overlap between the two is so strange.

deepomega (#1,720)

Why is it the 99% anyway? Why isn't it the 90% vs. the 10%? (Answer: Because everyone at these protests is actually in the 10%. But that's probably not what they want you to think about!)

chazpf (#10,843)

@deepomega Some data I've seen says the top 10% in America pull in 6 figures, roughly. Do you think most of the demonstrators are making this much? I think 99% is perfectly meaningful number @Matt, above, because it cuts across other divisive cultural lines to get to the fact that for the past few decades the top 1% (really more like .1%-.5%) have taken ownership of larger and larger portions of our country. The 99% is a great frame in approaching the issues, but also fits on a sign so it's real easy to pick apart. I understand that impulse, boy howdy.

deepomega (#1,720)

@chazpf Six figures per family. So, yeah, if they got married, I think they'd fit into this.

chazpf (#10,843)

@deepomega Right, that makes sense. I still doubt, but that sounds more likely. Thanks

BirdNerd (#4,196)

@deepomega Not really, since most recent college grads are having a hard damn time finding 50K/yr jobs like previous generations were able to find. I see your point that many of these kids don't truly live like the bottom 1% of earners (struggle to afford basic human necessities and constantly trying to side-step financially crushing events like job loss or an illness) but they certainly aren't priviliged young professionals taking a day off from the law firm or insurance office to picket in their hippie clothes. Hell, they're more closely connected to the struggling, under-represented class than the Tea Party ever was/will be.

carpetblogger (#306)

That the possibility — however remote — that a Democrat might win MASSACHUSETTS makes everyone so beside themselves makes me sad.

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