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Ear to the Ground

How Elizabeth Warren Is Scaring the Crap Out of Think Tanks and Banks

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Posted on Dec 7, 2013
(AP/Elise Amendola)

Sen. Warren always seems to triumph over her critics with enviable grace.

Elizabeth Warren—with her eloquent informed proposals and speeches that speak to the true needs of the American people, with her outright disdain for Wall Street and desire to bolster Social Security and the minimum wage as well as lower federal student loan rates—is a scary woman.

The Massachusetts senator caused a stir this week after the Third Way think tank wrote an op-ed Monday warning Democrats not to follow Warren “over the populist cliff.” Ever poised, Warren did not respond directly to Third Way’s Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler, who wrote the piece in The Wall Street Journal claiming “a vision of pragmatic progressive government, not fantasy-based blue-state populism” is what will get the Democrats re-elected.

Instead, she wrote a letter to six CEOs at the head of some of the most prominent financial institutions, demanding the banks disclose which think tanks they funded since policymakers, shareholders and the public all had the right to know about these contributions in order to evaluate think tanks’ work. Stating that the concealment of these contributions is blatantly “wrong” in her opinion, Warren added that banks and think tanks had no legal obligation to disclose such information, but called for “transparency” and offered to discuss it further with those interested in doing so.

But what’s truly behind all this resentment toward Warren? Fear, of course. Just read what Kessler, Third Way’s senior vice president, had to say about the Massachusetts Democrat, according to the Daily Kos:

Here’s a stunning admission…[The Third Way is] scared shitless of Elizabeth Warren and the power she can bring to the movement to expand Social Security, and thus to strengthen the Democratic wing of the Democratic party.

“The impetus was really—we saw after the most recently, this push that okay, it’s time to really move the national Democratic party to a much more liberal agenda, in this case, Senator Warren was the standard bearer—she’s on the cover of a lot of magazines,” he said in an interview on Sirius XM with Ari Rabin-Havt. “We were a bit alarmed by that.” [...]

“That social security plan was the final moment for us,” he said. “That social security plan had been out there but really languishing—because Senator Warren has such a powerful compelling voice, she started talking about it, and it suddenly it became much more talked about and viable alternative.”

He rejected the idea that the Monday op-ed was a way to take Warren “down a peg.”

“She is a very compelling elected official and national figure,” he said. “Her involvement in that particular bill, we just looked at it and said ‘okay, this seems to be starting to get out of hand.’”

Fascinating, isn’t it, that when a politician actually takes action toward bettering the nation’s conditions for someone other than the elite criminals who bankrupted our country, suddenly things have gotten “out of hand.” Perhaps it’d be more honest for Kessler to admit that in truth our political class has gotten out of the hands of the American people and into Wall Street’s pocket. Warren is daring to do only what she was elected to do: represent her constituents and protect citizens’ rights. And if that’s frightening the banksters and their puppets, by all means Warren, keep fighting the good fight. After all, anyone who’s crossed her so far has ended up looking the fool.

Meanwhile, Warren declared publicly this week that she will not run for president in 2016. But a lot can change in three years, and if Warren has anything to do with it, a lot will.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

 

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