Monday, March 23, 2015

The Globe, Warren and a Glimmer of Hope

An editorial in the Boston Globe forcefully urges Sen. Elizabeth Warren to seek the Democratic nomination for president, a prospect that will surely rouse what remains of the party’s left.

Warren, an anti-politician whose trope has been the wealth gap and the subjugation of the masses by the wealthiest one percent of us, has won particular applause for demanding that banksters go to jail for their crimes — or at least be put on trial for them.

But where she stands on other big issues is not clear.  One could presume, reading between the lines of her public stances, that she would favor ending the policy of endless war that enriches the oligarchs at the expense of the common man.  This is closely intertwined with the issues on which she has so infuriated Wall Street.

But is she bold enough and savvy enough to plot an independent foreign policy, unblinded by the lies that have steered us into so many blunders and follies?  Would she step into the Oval Office and immediately announce that Victoria Nuland had been dismissed from the State Department?  Would she tell Bibi Netanyahu that he must stop the expansion of settlements and expropriation  of Palestinian land or face the loss of United States support?  Would she by executive order halt the militarization of domestic police forces and order the CIA to stop fomenting the overthrow of legitimately elected regimes abroad?  Would she shape and send to Congress legislation repealing the so-called Patriot Act?  Would she tell our nervous toadies in Europe that the United States no longer endorses a policy of eastward expansion of NATO to challenge the Russian bear?  Would she embrace and push forward Dennis Kucinich’s fine idea of a cabinet-level Department of Peace? Would she turn her economic populism into a new New Deal of social activism, expanding Social Security and putting jobless Americans to work on programs to repair our broken infrastructure and improve people’s lives?  Would she stand up to the NRA and demand meaningful gun control, kick the right-wing’s ignorant anti-science arses on climate change and restore the Bill of Rights to our Constitution? Would she be the liberal savior we thought Obama would be, but wasn’t?

The Globe editorial acknowledges Hillary Clinton’s enormous head start advantage in the presidential nomination derby.  But it says:

“The Democratic Party finds itself with some serious divides that ought to be settled by the electorate. Some are clear-cut policy differences, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an enormous free-trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations that Warren opposes and Clinton backs. Even in areas where the candidates agree, there are bound to be different priorities: It’s hard to imagine a President Clinton defending and enforcing the Dodd-Frank legislation with as much vigor as a President Warren, for instance.

“Indeed, the big-picture debate on financial regulation and income inequality is what’s most at peril if the Democratic primaries come and go without top-notch opponents for Clinton. While she has a great many strengths, Clinton seems far more likely to hew to a cautious approach on economics. Her financial backing from Wall Street, her vote in the Senate to reduce bankruptcy protections, and her past reluctance to reduce capital gains taxes are no secret. Nothing about her record suggests much gumption for financial reform or tackling the deeply entrenched economic problems that increasingly threaten the American dream.

“Warren’s dedication is obvious to anyone who watched her raise funds by rallying thousands of grass-roots supporters in her 2012 Senate campaign. She should not shrink from the chance to set the course for the Democratic Party or cede that task to Hillary Clinton without a fight. The gap between the Facebooks and Googles of America and the rest of the economy has grown too large, and it deserves the kind of public debate and scrutiny that a national political campaign can spark. If she puts her causes and goals front and center, as Democrats gather their forces for the crucial 2016 campaign, Warren could enrich the political process for years to come.”

We don’t really know what all those causes and goals are, but IF she chooses to run, and IF she articulates an entire platform as clearly and forcefully as she has articulated her economic populism, there might be a glimmer of hope of saving this sorry country.

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