December 17, 2014

How to power-vault modestly.

I'm reading the headline of the new Dana Milbank column out loud to Meade:
ME: "Elizabeth Warren is not the left’s Ted Cruz. She is the left’s Jim DeMint." What does that even mean?

MEADE: Who is Jim DeMint?

ME: I know.
It's not that we don't know anything about Jim DeMint. He's... a Senator... right?
ME (reading from the Milbank column): "DeMint, the former Republican senator from South Carolina who now runs the conservative Heritage Foundation, is widely seen as the godfather of the tea-party movement."

MEADE: So much for my Tea Party credentials, then. I guess I'm not much of a tea-bagger after all.
Back to the column:
The left’s tea-party equivalent is still in its infancy. But it could be seen recently in the opposition by environmental activists to the reelection of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who lost her seat this month. They wanted to punish her for opposing them on energy issues — even though the conservative replacing her is less to their liking.

This was very much the logic of DeMint, who said he’d prefer a minority of conservative senators to a majority of moderates: “I’d rather have 30 Marco Rubios than 60 Arlen Specters.”
But where's Cruz in all this?
Cruz, long an establishment man, arrived late in the tea party movement, opportunistically embracing its themes to vault himself to power in 2012. His stands in Washington have been less about advancing a policy agenda than about causing mayhem and positioning himself to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

DeMint, by contrast, cared about policy and took a long view of politics....
So you see Milbank's point. Elizabeth Warren is not vaulting herself. She's building a movement, a group project. You can see that — in Milbank's mind — this makes Warren a much better candidate for President. Of course, Warren could just be clever enough to figure out how to seem to lack individualistic, personal lust for power. If so, good for you. There is nobody in this country who can become President on his own....

75 comments:

Louis said...

Senator Warren is simply the right person at the right time. One can't plan this. When one tries to plan it, one looks like Senator Cruz or Senator Rubio or Governor Malloy.

Brando said...

I didn't really read that as Milbank thinking Warren would make a good president, only that she is to her movement what DeMint is to his (though I think her popularity and notoriety among the Left is greater than DeMint's among the Right--a lot of conservatives don't really know who he is).

I'd be surprised if Warren ran for president--it's much easier to give stirring speeches and get the media to fawn over you when you don't need to actually perform. Had Obama simply stayed in the Senate and given his "one America" speech, he'd remain beloved by the Left, be more ignored by the Right, and probably get the benefit of the doubt by the Middle. By trying to actually be President, he's exposed the weakness of his policies and his inability to lead.

Warren, though--she can keep going on about how awful the rest of the Dems and the GOP are for being so in hand with Wall Street, and how Big Finance has too much power, and while these are popular opinions it's much easier to speak them than to actually try and implement something. I suspect she'll go on being the "conscience of the Senate" to drippy swampy Lefties, and not much more than that.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The left’s tea-party equivalent is still in its infancy.

Then why do they act like spoiled toddlers?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Louis said...

Senator Warren is simply the right person at the right time.

I didn't realize the times called for a lying leftist hack.

Biff said...

"DeMint...is widely seen as the godfather of the tea-party movement."

Um, no. He was just one of the first career politicians to spot opportunity and hop on the bandwagon.

Clayton Hennesey said...

How are Democrats going to rationalize their choices between Hillary and Warren? At most, at best, Warren is now in the position of being this cycle's usurper-Obama.

How did that bet work out for them first time around?

David said...

DeMint cared so much about politics that he quit politics to go make a bunch of money.

Paddy O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brando said...

"How are Democrats going to rationalize their choices between Hillary and Warren? At most, at best, Warren is now in the position of being this cycle's usurper-Obama.

How did that bet work out for them first time around?"

From the Lefty-Dem perspective? It went great--they beat Hillary in the primary, and won two terms. Remember, many of these people (e.g., Krugman) believe Obama's been a success.

mccullough said...

DeMint thinks there is a difference between Marco Rubio and Arlen Spector?

sparrow said...


"I didn't realize the times called for a lying leftist hack"

Exactly

Warren's just a younger more hard left Hilary - to be fair she's more accomplished because she did ride hubby's coattails like Hilary.

I doubt the country will go hard left in 2016 - generally the next prez is a reaction/rejection to/of the last one.

mccullough said...

I preferred Tom Coburn to Jim DeMint. Jim DeMint was about Jim DeMint.

sparrow said...

that should read: did "not" ride ...

wendybar said...

Dana Milbank has trashed the Tea Party, claimed it jumped the shark, and all out claimed they are racists, and now all of a sudden, it is great that the fake Indian is trying to do what the Tea Party did??? You can't make this BS up!!!!

Saint Croix said...

"DeMint, the former Republican senator from South Carolina who now runs the conservative Heritage Foundation, is widely seen as the godfather of the tea-party movement."

Yeah, that's wrong. And idiotic. The tea party movement is a grass roots movement among Republicans. There is no godfather, particularly not a godfather in Washington D.C.

Milbank cannot conceive of anything that does originate from the government. He cannot think outside of his own ideology, and thus cannot describe the tea party movement accurately.

DeMint and Cruz are very different kinds of Senators. DeMint was very much a behind-the-scenes guy. And Cruz is very much an in-the-public-spotlight guy. But neither one is running the tea party movement.

I am pretty sure Elizabeth Warren is not a behind-the-scenes person. I think this way because she loves giving speeches in public (just like Cruz).

I would say both she and Cruz are very similar, and neither are like DeMint, who shuns the spotlight. DeMint organizes a lot of money and supports a lot of other candidates. And he does all that under-the-radar. I'm sure the Democrats have a lot of secret behind-the-scenes people, but it seems kinda silly to say Warren is one of them.

Louis said...

I didn't realize the times called for a lying leftist hack.

There is such a commitment to that characterization it sounds to me in tone like the contemporary attacks on founding fathers that people bring up to show how nasty politics has always been.

Being wrong isn't the same as lying. She is a Democrat. She has been successful on her own merits, in no way a hack as I know the term.

Louis said...

Totally unrelated but Russia then Cuba is quite the one-two punch in the narrative, eh?

wildswan said...

Ted Cruz wasn't born in the US but in Canada so he can't be President. But I guess you can't be influential unless you are seen as running for President.

Anonymous said...

Why do I get the feeling that when Demint was a Senator and making hay, Milbank had nothing but nasty things to say about him.

But now that he wants to say nasty things about Ted Cruz, he uses Demint to bludgeon him.

cubanbob said...

Being wrong isn't the same as lying. She is a Democrat. She has been successful on her own merits, in no way a hack as I know the term."

Perhaps you don't understand the mean of the term.

She has been successful in the sense a conman is successful but who would argue that is a success in a positive term?


Ignorance is Bliss said...

Louis said...

Being wrong isn't the same as lying. She is a Democrat. She has been successful on her own merits, in no way a hack as I know the term.

Have you read her paper on medical bankruptcies, and the critiques thereof?

Louis said...

I doubt the country will go hard left in 2016 - generally the next prez is a reaction/rejection to/of the last one.

She is not a career politician. She is not unusually young. She is on the record with academic work. She does not have a history of foreign policy thinking. She doesn't campaign on compromise. There are any number of ways she can be read as a reaction to 44.

Anonymous said...

Ted Cruz wasn't born in the US but in Canada so he can't be President. But I guess you can't be influential unless you are seen as running for President.

I've always wondered how people could remain so ignorant of our constitution on this particular point.

It doesn't matter where you were born. What matters is that you born a citizen. IE: A natural born citizen. Instead of a naturalized citizen.

Ted Cruz was born a citizen of the United States. He didn't naturalize.

Gahrie said...

"DeMint...is widely seen as the godfather of the tea-party movement."

The godfather of the Tea Party movement was a journalist on Fox Business channel.

richard mcenroe said...

Elizabeth Warren couldn't build a Lego cube. Just another Dem tailor's dummy to hang a manufactured legend on.

I would love to see her try to debate Ted Cruz.

richard mcenroe said...

Remember the Coffee Party? That other manufactured Democrat groundswell movement? Anyone?

Kristian Holvoet said...

Jim De Mint is also an ex-senator and not-President. I'd be very happy if Senator Warren followed that career path.

bbkingfish said...

Well, I guess this post is a step up from wondering why Cruz is known as a "wacko bird."

SGT Ted said...

Warren is another faux populist lefty corporatist welfare queen. She hopes to fool the the same morons that bought Obama bullshit. The bar is low for her to do so, seeing as how the left prefers narrative over reality when it comes to their utopian fantasies about personality cult leadership actually working out.

Louis said...

...medical bankruptcies...
Even if the co-authored paper in question is hot garbage a single publication one would leave off a CV does not change a professional into a hack.

SteveR said...

The northeastern liberals love Warren like they wished they could have loved Obama but he was mostly just a Chicago pol.

I hope she runs, I hope she and Hillary have a nice contest for the nomination. Empty Pant suits.

chuck said...

Senator Warren is simply the right person at the right time.

The time is always right for frauds, they are very adaptable.

SGT Ted said...

Being wrong isn't the same as lying.

She's a lefty. Of course she lies. It's in their DNA. Democrats lie as a matter of course to secure political power. What are you smoking?

Henry said...

From the article: After the Democrats’ 2014 midterm debacle, we are seeing the early signs of a left-wing analogue to the tea party emerging, and Warren is well positioned to be its godmother.

Whatever happened to Ned Lamont? The coffee party? The occupy movement?

Warren has shown a great ability to seize left-wing tropes and project them. It will be interesting to see if she can extend her influence beyond the making of speeches.

Henry said...

I'm not wowed by Senator Warren, but I do think that the large financiers have more than earned her scorn.

It would be hard to find an industry that greases its own palms more than finance. The gnip gnop pattern of investment bankers playing regulator over the companies they will soon rejoin is utterly corrupt, crony capitalism at its worst.

Tea party conservatives should take note.

lgv said...

Blogger Gahrie said...

"DeMint...is widely seen as the godfather of the tea-party movement."

The godfather of the Tea Party movement was a journalist on Fox Business channel.


It wasn't Fox, it was one of the others.

Cliff's Notes version of Milbank's article: Warren isn't crazy like Cruz. Cruz is crazy and isn't suitable to be President. Warren is because she isn't crazy like Cruz. Cause I said so. I'm smarter than you.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Louis said...

Even if the co-authored paper in question is hot garbage a single publication one would leave off a CV does not change a professional into a hack.

It was not a single paper on medical bankruptcies, but two, years apart, with the second even worse than the first. And it's kinda tough to just leave it off your CV when you've touted it on national television in order to advance her policy preferences.

And it wasn't just limited to those two papers. Megan McArdle had a decent overview of her methodology.

Mike said...

Gahrie: The godfather of the Tea Party movement was a journalist on Fox Business channel.

Nope. Rick Santelli works at CNBC. It was his rant that is widely understood as influencing the first Tea Party protests. Link

traditionalguy said...

Warren is the monadnoc in the blue mounds of politics.

They will all attack her for being a real reformer. The dems for cutting back their graft opportunities ... the GOP for doing what the GOP refuses to do which is something for the American middle class jobs or regulate the Wall Street casino's use of the FDIC as an AIG hedgefund.

And Warren is the only one who seems to care about stopping the NSA/HSA/IRS big brother is watching you Monster. That is common ground enough for many Tea Party folks.

richard mcenroe said...

Gahrie -- CNBC, actually....

richard mcenroe said...

Mike, more of a "tirade" than a "rant" in the classic theatrical sense: a speech or outburst that directly presents the author's message.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

trad-guy-

Do you have anything to back up the idea that she wants to reduce the amount that the IRS is watching you?

chuck said...

Warren is the monadnoc

Out here we call streams rivers and Monadnoc a bump.

richard mcenroe said...


"Cliff's Notes version of Milbank's article: Warren isn't crazy like Cruz. Cruz is crazy and isn't suitable to be President. Warren is because she isn't crazy like Cruz. Cause I said so. I'm smarter than you."

-- said the man who wore a Smurf hat on-camera

http://www.boomantribune.com/site-files/milbankinhat.jpg

Louis said...

I am going to stop reading that particular McArdle piece for now because I got to this part: ...Warren kind of waves her hands [about a social problem] and mumbles about social programs and more supportive work environments. There is no possible solution outside of a more left-wing government.

Isn't that what a conservative or libertarian should like to see from a leftist? Wouldn't the alternative to that be social engineering?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

She is not unusually young

Now that's an understatement. She's currently 65, almost as old as Hilary.

Oso Negro said...

Professor Althouse - Please re-consider your support for the othering of Ted Cruz.

Anonymous said...

Professor Althouse - Please re-consider your support for the othering of Ted Cruz.

What does a white woman from Wisconsin have against a Hispanic man, anyway?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Louis said...

Isn't that what a conservative or libertarian should like to see from a leftist? Wouldn't the alternative to that be social engineering?

I don't understand your question. What alternative do you see that you consider social engineering? In what way are more government programs not social engineering?

Why isn't not doing anything ever considered as an alternative?

Oso Negro said...

I can only think that it is because she has a crush on Scott Walker.

traditionalguy said...

@ ignorance is bliss...Public challeges to NSA abuses coming out of Congress persons have been by Darryl Issa, Rand Paul and Elizabeth Warren.

Unlike most DC politicians those three will not accept, "Trust us...we are the Government and terrorists are everywhere, don't you know."

They have demanded to see what is really there. Warren seems to be a good scout, part Indian and part old Missourian Kit Carson "show me."

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So no indication that she opposes the IRS doing such things?

traditionalguy said...

Ignorance is bliss... how many good fights does she have to start to satisfy you? If she jerks NSA around for its criminal acts, can she wait on attacking the IRS until next year?

Louis said...

We can choose to let the free market and our free culture work out these things and that is part of what makes us American. It doesn't have to detract from our independence or our liberty that social spending is required for our common defense and welfare.

Jack Wayne said...

Louis writes "the free market" like he knows what that means. But he doesn't.

Michael said...

I think Ms. Warren would make a great ambassador to Cuba.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is bliss... how many good fights does she have to start to satisfy you? If she jerks NSA around for its criminal acts, can she wait on attacking the IRS until next year?

She will do her part to undermine the military and law enforcement.

But if you think she isn't a big government Democrat, I have a nice bridge to sell you in Kansas.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

traditionalguy said...

If she jerks NSA around for its criminal acts, can she wait on attacking the IRS until next year?

She can do whatever she wants. I just don't understand why you gave her credit for a fight with the IRS that she has shown no interest in fighting.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

If Warren enacts half as much new in social programs as W did, would you still call her a big Government creator. A knee jerk would.

We have had big government for my lifetime. But we need someone to honestly audit the damned thing so it works for us and not for leeches.That would never be a RINO. But that is exactly what Warren does.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

It doesn't have to detract from our independence or our liberty that social spending is required for our common defense and welfare.

Yes, it does. Every dollar collected in taxes detracts from the liberty of the person from whom it was collected. I'm not saying that it is not worth it, at some level it certainly is. But you cannot make a decision based on the costs and benefits, if you can't even see the costs

Michael said...

TraditionalGuy:

I don't think Warren gives much time to auditing the government. She is more dedicated to stirring up the masses with visions of hanging the bankers. As if that would help. She would triple the size of government in a heartbeat.

She is another school teacher with a lot of ideas to help you.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

TraditionalGuy said...

But we need someone to honestly...

If we need someone to do something honestly, then Warren is unqualified.

Jon Burack said...

I go with the simpler explanation. Warren and Cruz are two peas in a pod. The pod being an old American type - "I seen my chance and I took it."

I'd forgotten her version of "you did not build it," directed at factory owners. It is thoroughly dishonest. Not because it is not true but because her understanding of it is so self-serving. Of course, no businessman (or anyone else) built anything on his own. He built it, as we all build everything in our lives, on the shoulders of millions of giants of innovation who came before us. Mostly private individuals, who contributed bit by bit to the human race's progress. For Warren, however, the only alternative to the businessman is the government, as if government is really the main source of our collective efforts and triumphs. What she is saying is, you did not build that, the political class did. It is just as obtuse as the Ayn Rand individualism she claims to abhor.

In other words, she's just another striver on the way up, lifting herself by her bootstraps into the White House (she dreams). She and Cruz are not that far apart. "You didn't build it, they say, I did."

Michael K said...

"Milbank cannot conceive of anything that does originate from the government. He cannot think outside of his own ideology, and thus cannot describe the tea party movement accurately."

Right on. They cannot imagine that a large group of people decided at the same time to try to stop the worst of the excesses. To the left everything has to be top down. Sort of like Stalin did it.

Michael K said...

"I'm not wowed by Senator Warren, but I do think that the large financiers have more than earned her scorn."

Th Democrats have been the party of Wall Street since at least Clinton. Bob Rubin installed the revolving door in the West Wing for bankers.

Where do you think Dodd and Frank got their retirement money ?

traditionalguy said...

Once upon a time when a popular new person was charged with self promotion and stirring up the ignorant masses the response said to them was, " Doth our law judge a man before it first heareth him and know what he doeth?"

That's all I am saying.

(John 7:51 KJV)

Ignorance is Bliss said...

traditionalguy said...

Doth our law judge a man before it first heareth him and know what he doeth?

Warren has a public track record more than a decade long. The fact that you don't know it does not mean the rest of us don't.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Warren's sympathy with illegal 'immigrant' line-jumpers is simply professional courtesy.

They jump the immigration waiting line, via illegal trespass, while she jumped the professor line, via fraudulent claims on ethnic quota slots.

She's unfit for public office. Or should be. In Progressive circles, it's an asset.

Brando said...

"Th Democrats have been the party of Wall Street since at least Clinton. Bob Rubin installed the revolving door in the West Wing for bankers."

That's going to be the next fissure on the Left--between the crony capitalists represented by the Clintons, vs. the populist dreamers like Warren.

It's not that Wall Street hasn't seen its share of abuses in collusion with the government, but it looks like the policies favored by the "reformers" look like they'll make things worse.

Take Warren's stance on student loans--arguing that students borrowing government backed loans should pay no interest rate higher than the banks' borrowing rate (under 1% annually). Sounds cute, but of course this ignores that the Feds will have to make up the difference, and anyway the problem for most students isn't that their interest rates are high (they're historically low), but that they are borrowing so much principal because due to subsidies (like the one she favors!) there's enough demand for education and loan money available for it that schools have made their tuition skyrocket over the years. And the weak job market for most of these students makes it unlikely these loans will be paid back, which exposes the loan holders.

But hey, take a cheap shot at the banks by pushing for an almost non-existant interest rate for students--that'll solve everything.

Brando said...

The Right, for its part, should also be promoting proposals to reform financial services in this country in a more market-based way through removing subsidies and streamlining regulations. The Left should not have the monopoly on reform, particularly where their policies are making things worse.

Phil 3:14 said...

I'll listen more to Republicans and the crony capitalism theme when they look hard at subsidies for defense, farming and oil.

Brando said...

"I'll listen more to Republicans and the crony capitalism theme when they look hard at subsidies for defense, farming and oil."

So because one of the two major parties is corrupt when it comes to crony capitalism, we should give a pass to the other party when it commits its own crony capitalism?

So much for reform, folks!

Bryan C said...

As Milton Friedman put it, the way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things.

Cruz is the wrong person, but they're all the wrong person. But he's smart enough to channel the motivation of his constituents into workable plans and is, for a whole lot of people, doing the right things. That makes me happy.

Warren is doing the same thing. She's just not as good as it as Cruz and has a set of core beliefs that are a jumble of unworkable leftist tropes. So, unfortunately for her, her supporters are demanding she do stuff that most people think is stupid. Too bad for her.

Rusty said...

Phil 3:14 said...
I'll listen more to Republicans and the crony capitalism theme when they look hard at subsidies for defense, farming and oil.

Uh. Defense kinda has to be subsidized because it is one of the things that our constitution demands that the government do. it would be illegal for them not to do it.