Bye-bye, fake liberals: The Warren Democrats are winning!
The backlash against an inane Op-Ed bashing Elizabeth Warren shows that “economic populism” is the way forward
I am very late to the Third Way-trashing party, but that’s a story in itself. I didn’t need to weigh in; progressives erupted in immediate backlash at the group’s latest attack on “economic populism.”
By now everyone knows that the pro-Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York’s Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday, arguing that their “economic populism” was a “dead end” outside of the midnight-blue communards of Massachusetts and New York City.
Not only was Third Way’s argument immediately and widely debunked – Salon’s Elias Isquith did it very well here – but its domination by Wall Street became an issue in itself, thanks to folks at Daily Kos and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Warren herself responded by asking Wall Street CEOs to voluntarily disclose their think tank funding – without mentioning Third Way by name – suggesting it amounted to “little more than another form of corporate lobbying.”
And by Wednesday evening centrist Pennsylvania Rep. Alison Schwartz, a Third Way co-chair who’s running for governor next year, had disavowed the group’s attempted takedown of her party’s populist wing, calling it “outrageous.” (Update: Thursday afternoon another co-chair, Rep. Joe Crowley, joined Schwartz.)
Oh, and meanwhile, President Obama gave his best economic speech yet, calling income inequality “the defining challenge of our time.”
Is something going on here? I’d say yes. Wall Street’s domination of the Democratic Party is facing a genuine and sustained fight, and that’s a good thing for Democrats and the country.
Now, with income inequality continuing to worsen on Obama’s watch, he has to pick a different side in the class war if he cares about his legacy. I hope that’s what the speech Wednesday was about. I trust that an energized progressive movement, and its congressional allies, can hold him to it. We’ll see. But the energetic backlash against Third Way shows that economic populism isn’t a dead end but the way forward.
Let’s see, economic populists taking on their party’s monied establishment. Where have I heard that before?
Here is my question: Why is left-wing populism good but right-wing populism bad? Warren Democrats have just as much right to fight for the soul of their party as Tea Partiers have in the Republican party – no more and no less.