[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.