consultants are sandburs

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

National Journal expressed earned praise for Elizabeth Warren. In something of an overdue context.

In an online Feb. 4, 2014 item, beginning thoughts and a jump:

When Elizabeth Warren announced her Senate candidacy in September 2011, President Obama had just signed into law the Budget Control Act, which raised the debt ceiling but also made concessions to Republicans that would eventually lead to $1 trillion in sequestration cuts. Deficit control was a top priority for both parties, and something that Obama pledged to continue to pursue in a rare address to a joint session of Congress that month on his jobs plan.

But the speech Obama gave last week to a similar joint session of Congress felt very different. His 2014 State of the Union address brushed over deficit reduction quickly before getting onto the main event: a pledge to create "opportunity for all," infused with the themes that Warren rode to Washington a little over a year ago.

After that speech, any doubt about whether the Democratic Party would embrace economic populism can now be put to rest. The party is united behind an agenda that puts economic inequality front-and-center, and they think voters will reward them for it. [...]

"The two big themes coming out of President Obama's speech are economic populism and a new willingness to fight. President Obama is basically taking steps to sound more and more like Elizabeth Warren," says Adam Green, cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, an outside group that backed Warren's Senate campaign.

The party has shifted noticeably to the left on economic issues, said Neera Tanden, the president of the center-left Center for American Progress. "Economic populism is a uniting force in the Democratic Party and progressive movement, and will help draw a contrast with Republicans in 2014 and future cycles," she said.

What's changed? Part of it is that Obama finally realized Republicans were unlikely to be very fruitful negotiating partners, freeing him to speak his mind without fear of damaging bipartisan deal-making. [...]

And as the economy has improved, and deficits have fallen, voters care less about cutting spending. [...]

At a meeting with liberal writers last week, House Democratic leaders expressed unity on Obama's State of the Union message, and said they felt confident their populist-infused message would resonate with voters. The focus of the rest of 2014, said Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is simple: "To create opportunities for people."

[...] While Warren's message is aimed at the failings of the super wealthy, the "opportunity" message turns the lens around and offers to give a "ladder of opportunity" for people to move into higher socioeconomic strata.

And that's something that broad swaths of the party seem ready to embrace. From purple-state governors to red-state senators such as Arkansas' Mark Pryor, many Democrats have lined up to support a hike in the minimum wage ahead of tough reelection battles. The logic isn't too hard to see: Despite business group's objections, it's an idea 71 percent of Americans support, according to a December National Journal poll.

[emphasis added] In other words, familiar in Minnesota,

"Tax the Rich."

Including uber-wealthy multinationals. Boeing. Cargill. GE. Big Oil. Microsoft. Apple. Google. Make them pay a fair share. Reexamine the Reagan and Bush tax cuts, top end.

And give the working poor a decent living wage. That step is long, long, long overdue.

The Ramsey DFL precinct caucus session had some really heartening resolutions proposed and passed.

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