Patterico's Pontifications


Dueling Views of Elizabeth Warren

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:40 pm

[guest post by JVW]

First, New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg:

The reason [the Sanders’ campaign’s push-poll claiming that Warren would not add to the Democrats’ base] caused a small uproar is that in much of the Democratic Party, there’s tremendous resentment of Sanders left over from 2016. Many believe he weakened Hillary Clinton by dragging out the primary — at one point even threatening a contested convention — and then only half heartedly rallying his fans behind her when it was over. Warren alluded to this anger in a fundraising email keyed to the Politico article that said, “We can’t afford to repeat the factionalism of the 2016 primary.”

She’s right, and she may be the only person who can save us from it.

Now here’s the part I absolutely love, emphasis in all cases in the post added by me:

I’ve hesitated to write too much about the Democratic primary because I have a conflict of interest — my husband is consulting for Warren’s campaign. Besides, while it seems obvious to me that of all the candidates Warren would be the best president, I go back and forth over who would be the strongest nominee against Donald Trump.

Yet again the nexus between elite media opinion and progressive/Democrat activism rears its ugly head. You might think given Ms. Goldberg’s conflict — and yes, it was indeed proper of her to acknowledge it — that her bosses might have her refrain from writing about the Democrat primary, but the Grey Lady has long abandoned any pretense of objectivity or ethical responsibility with its house columnists. Ms. Goldberg thus carries on:

So I’m not going to argue that Warren has the best chance of winning in 2020; I have no idea who does. What I will argue is that she has the best chance of bringing the Democratic Party together. Warren’s increasingly explicit argument that she is the unity candidate is correct.

She excites the middle-aged women who dominate the Resistance as well as the young people Democrats need to turn out en masse. She shares Sanders’ economic populism, but as a registered Democrat who has worked within the party — including in the Obama administration — she’s cultivated more good will inside it. (See how quick Julián Castro was to team up with her after ending his own candidacy.)

Ms. Goldberg is on to something here. Senator Warren’s biggest advantage against her lefty Vermont rival is that unlike him, she has kept her base of operations within the insane asylum that is the Democrat Party. And if you don’t think being a staunch card-carrying Democrat is important to Ms. Goldberg, get a load of how she expresses her deepest fear:

With Biden and Sanders atop many polls, I fear that if the race comes down to the two of them, it will become vicious and destructive, because each has so many supporters who view the other as unacceptable. We could even, God forbid, face the sort of contested convention we avoided in 2016.

“We.” It’s nice to know that from here on in we can dismiss anything Ms. Goldberg writes about the 2020 election as just the ravings of a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat instead of some sober-minded opinion columnist. I am going to have a long and hearty laugh if Slow Joe or Mayor Peetey or Grandpa Comrade gains some momentum and Mr. Michelle Goldberg immediately abandons Fauxcahontas and goes to work for him. One candidate’s money is just as good as another’s, I suppose; just ask the former Kamala Harris workers who abandoned ship.

Contrasting Ms. Goldberg’s fawning coverage of Lieawatha Liz, the always-excellent Boston Herald (lord, how I wish we had a second major newspaper in the Los Angeles market) has columnist Michael Graham raking Fauxcahontas over the coals. Read the whole thing, but here are some delightful cuts:

Tell me Bernie Sanders is crazy, and I’m all in. Tell me he’s an unapologetic Socialist who would happily honeymoon (again) in the gulag-riddled Soviet Union, and I’ll say, “You betcha!”

But tell me Bernie’s a sexist liar? Sorry, you lost me.

Particularly if the person doing the telling is Elizabeth Warren.

[. . .]

Bernie Sanders isn’t a liar — at least not outside the accepted parameters of American politics. Sanders doesn’t even lie about the stuff he should lie about, like his gazillion-dollar, middle-class-tax-hiking, union-health-plan-killing Medicare For All.

A guy who will admit, out loud and in public, that he wants to give Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the right to vote will admit anything.

[C]ompare Bernie’s unvarnished truth telling to Liz Warren’s record: According to Warren’s past statements, she’s a Native American who was fired for being pregnant and only sent her children to public schools. According to the facts, all of those claims are false.

[. . .]

For Liz Warren, this is just another example of the fundamental inauthenticity of her presidential bid. Over the summer, she was touting Medicare For All as a matter of political life or death. Tuesday night she treated it like a recently dumped boyfriend, refusing to even say the phrase a single time (check the transcript!). She did, however, say she would “build on the Affordable Care Act.”

No wonder progressives don’t believe she’ll really fight for a single-payer system. Or for the Green New Deal. Or that Bernie Sanders said a woman couldn’t win.

Four years ago I made the point that Donald Trump tells the lies of the ignoramus who just makes up facts off the top of his head because he is too lazy to do his homework (he also tells the lies of a self-aggrandizing blowhard), whereas Hillary Clinton tells calculated lies which are always designed to show her in a more sympathetic or flattering light. Elizabeth Warren is Hillary 2.0 in this regard. Her lies are calculated to make her stand out (“I’m part Cherokee!”), to make her a sympathetic character (“I was fired for being pregnant”), or to obfuscate any potentially embarrassing tidbits from her past (“It’s a bad idea to try and get rich from flipping houses“). Senator Warren has been lucky that the New England and Northeastern media are dominated by people sympathetic to her politics, as it has kept her from being pressed too closely about her past indiscretions and helped ensure that her explanations, implausible though they may be, are largely taken at face value.

But the Warren campaign would do well to learn from the lesson of fellow New Englander John Kerry, who spent years giving half-assed explanations about his Vietnam War activism which were mostly swallowed whole by the usual suspects, only to have them turn into a huge liability once the national media was forced to start paying attention. If none of the other Democrat candidates (I’m looking at you here, Joey and Mikey) have the sand to confront Lieawatha on her bunkum and hokum and put an early end to her candidacy then the party deserves to have a replay of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that sunk John Kerry sixteen years ago.


30 Responses to “Dueling Views of Elizabeth Warren”

  1. I’ll be sorely disappointed, but not surprised, if this comments section turns into a debate along the following lines:

    “Donald Trump lies a lot too.”
    “No, he doesn’t.”
    “Yes, he does.”

    I think that President Trump does lie a great deal, in fact with about the frequency of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren. But the question here is whether or not the Democrats are going to run on the “My candidate’s lies are less harmful than your candidate’s lies” strategy. If so, then I think they have really blown their opportunity.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  2. On second thought, if you want to argue that the Democrats can do just fine with an “our candidate’s lies are less harmful than your candidate’s lies” debate this coming fall then I guess that would be an interesting topic of discussion here.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  3. I don’t think you can just dismiss Goldberg’s analysis simply because she admits she’s a Dem, especially not in an opinion piece. You can’t get an inside baseball analysis from someone who is outside baseball. You have an admitted Dem and an admitted Warren supporter talking about the Democratic race and Warren. Should you believe her if she says that Warren isn’t lying? Nope. However, if you look at it with knowledge of where her biases lay, you can get a good idea of where some of the within party reasoning is coming from and how the logic of party members is starting to sort itself out. I don’t read the opinion pages of a paper, or a conservative website, or a liberal website looking for the True Truth. I read them to get an idea of how this person/group is looking at and thinking about any given subject.

    Nic (896fdf)

  4. Michelle Goldberg is a leftist and an opinion columnist. I wouldn’t expect her to give me an “Objective” view on anything.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  5. “flipping foreclosures” wouldn’t sound as good.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  6. The NYT/WaPo are unpaid arms of the DNC. If you’re thinking those two newspapers are giving you “Objective News” – then Houston, we have a problem.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  7. Trump lies more than Warren, but his lies are just part of his charm. Call them hyperbole or parables or what have you, they are anything but calculated.

    Warren’s lies are focus-group tested.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  8. I should have put “charm” in quotes, lest it be misinterpreted.

    Kevin M (19357e)

  9. I don’t think you can just dismiss Goldberg’s analysis simply because she admits she’s a Dem

    True. We should dismiss it because she’s lying and deflecting in column-length.

    nk (dbc370)

  10. This reminds me of Rod Dreher who constantly believed everything the liberal MSM would dish out. Trayvon Martin, “Hands Up” Ferguson, Charlottsville lies about Trump, the Covington Boys, Jossie Smolett, etc. Rod would immediately dash out to join the liberal lynch mob, full of OUTRAGE and willing to denounce racism, sexism, homophobia, etc, and then whoopsie! – he’d learn the NYT/Wapo had fooled him or they’d gotten their facts wrong, exaggerated, etc.

    He’s now slightly more cautious.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  11. I see what you are saying, Nic, but I come down to this: Michelle Goldberg’s husband has a financial stake in the success of Elizabeth Warren, whether it be in continued employment or perhaps in some bonus paid to workers in the event of a Warren victory. Because of that, Ms. Goldberg should not be using her column in what is still probably America’s most influential newspaper (maybe along with the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post) to shill for a Warren candidacy. It’s part of the unseemliness and the annoying media-political operative nexus that has bowdlerized the legitimacy of both.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  12. Michael Graham is right. Bernie may be as left-wing as they come, but he’s given me no reason to question his honesty. Lizzie has given me lots of reasons.

    Paul Montagu (e1b5a7)

  13. All this blah blah over Bernie’s said this or that – its a waste of time. Biden will be nominated unless Bernie drops out and gives Warren the full support of Progressives. The left is just doing what the right always did in Presidential Primaries 1988-2012. They’d split their vote between 2-3 real conservatives, and some Establishment Moderate would get the nomination. This is what’s happening now. The Bernie Bros had better dump Bernie, because he’s a loser. Nobody is going to vote for 78 y/o VT Senator with a bad heart. Especially black folks in South Carolina.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  14. There’s every reason to question Bernie’s honesty. He’s 78 y/o, and there’s no reason to believe he truly believes in “Womens Lib”. If all these leftists loved women in power, why did it take till 2016 to nominate a women? And not just any woman, a former first lady and a complete establishment toady.

    And who ran against Hillary? Oh, that’s right Bernie. Mr. “I love women candidates” bernie.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  15. @11 Oh, I don’t think it reflects well on the NYT, because you are definitely right that it doesn’t and they should have pointed her at something else, but I think the column itself can give us information as long as we remember where she’s standing when she tells us her view.

    Nic (896fdf)

  16. @12 Bernie’s honest about the stuff that fits his brand. You’ll notice he isn’t forthcoming at all about his finances or the semi-fraudulent stuff his wife was up to.

    @13 I don’t agree with you often rcocean, but I think you are right on that, though the media is giving Bernie a LOT of cover by not talking about the heart attack. All the flack that Trump and HRC got about their health, neither of them ever had a heart attack. Bernie had one WITHIN THE LAST YEAR, and silence.

    Nic (896fdf)

  17. . . . I think the column itself can give us information as long as we remember where she’s standing when she tells us her view.

    I don’t know. I confess that I tend to be very cynical, but I am going to assume that anything Ms. Goldberg writes about Elizabeth Warren is exactly what her husband needs her to write about Elizabeth Warren. I won’t trust one thing that comes from Ms. Goldberg’s keyboard where Sen. Warren is concerned.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  18. @14 I think this is overstating the situation. There’s a lot of ground between the he-man woman haters club and stepping aside in all situations so that only women move forward. I think Bernie has a record of paying his female staffers better and it’s clear he’s unwilling to push back against either HRC or EW. He could have told her she couldn’t win or that she couldn’t beat Trump. I just don’t see him saying a woman can never be president.

    But this is supposed to have happened a while back. Why are we hearing it now? Why did it break right before the last debate? The entire CNN behavior signals setup, etc. I believe EW is lying top to bottom. I’m still surprised CNN said with a straight face that they verified the story by asking Warren.

    frosty (f27e97)

  19. @17 I feel like it’s not shilly enough for that, but I certainly could be wrong.

    Nic (896fdf)

  20. It’s interesting that Warren getting CNN to release the audio exchange sunk 3 campaigns at once. I think it was less than 60s worth of video.

    frosty (f27e97)

  21. @17 I feel like it’s not shilly enough for that, but I certainly could be wrong.

    Understandable. But we haven’t even had our first primary yet. Just wait until the action gets into full swing.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  22. Trump lies more than Warren,

    A man who lies more than a woman is not a man.

    nk (dbc370)

  23. I was watching pieces of the debate with my wife, as our toddler’s whims would intermittently permit. My wife thought Warren was awesome and compelling. I thought she was comporting herself like a self-righteous weasel. Her closing statement was literally a long series of high-polling buzzwords. It barely had verbs.

    Matt Taibi wrote a book about the 2004 Dem primary race called Spanking the Donkey. At one point, he removed all bullsh*t from a John Kerry speech and boiled it down to “I’m John Kerry… I’’m running for President of the United States.”

    That’s what I was reminded of, watching Warren.

    Leviticus (7fcc89)

  24. My wife thought Warren was awesome and compelling. I thought she was comporting herself like a self-righteous weasel.

    Wow. Long live the gender gap, I suppose.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  25. JVW,

    you might want to ask Leviticus if she was a Lizzie Warren fan first before her approval of her speech.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  26. Both of my girls like Pete Buttigieg. La donna è mobile / Qual piuma al vento. There’s a song about it.

    nk (dbc370)

  27. Anyone else notice the hot mic moment had a dramatic pan for effect?

    frosty (f27e97)

  28. Don’t really have time to write much but I detest Senator warren.

    She shares some traits with Trump that I dislike; populist, isolationist, dishonest, and traffics in identity politics.

    She lacks some of Trumps flaws; she’s smart, understands how the government works, ruthless, and shows a good work ethic. Since I think of a single policy goal I share with here a likelihood of advancing her goals doesn’t really seem like a positive.

    Time123 (b4d075)

  29. 𝚒’𝚖 𝚊 𝚑𝚒𝚐𝚑𝚠𝚊𝚢 𝚝𝚜𝚊𝚛
    team warren is like a dirty post-apocalyptic desert scavenger, constantly stripping dead campaigns for parts.

    [with examples]

    harkin (d6cfee)

  30. Warren’s support in part comes from donor class liberal establishment elitists who are using her campaign as a stalking horse to stop bernie sanders. The real threat to the liberal establishment elites not trump.

    asset (6fafa1)

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