So, this has kind of a coordinated feel to it, as tonight’s Democratic debate looms: Yesterday evening, Ed Rendell dropped a WaPo op-ed entitled “I like Elizabeth Warren. Too bad she’s a hypocrite.”
Rendell smarmily drags Warren for shunning high dollar donor events during the primary campaign because she did attend those type of events (including one hosted by Ed! for which he received a nice thank-you note!) when raising money for the senate and then rolled some of that money over into her primary campaign.
It’s a dog’s breakfast of an argument, IMO. Warren took a risk by eschewing big donor events during the primary. Her campaign finance chair quit over it. If she starts doing the swank circuit now, Rendell would have a point, but she hasn’t, so he doesn’t. Rendell even (stupidly) dragged President Obama into the hair-splitting:
Barack Obama, whom I consider one of the greatest presidents in my lifetime, vowed not to take any money from the political action committees of Wall Street firms in his 2008 campaign. At the same time, his campaign took in millions of dollars in contributions from individuals who worked for Wall Street firms.
But the news media basically gave Obama a free ride and didn’t point out the blatant hypocrisy of trying to win credit for shunning contributions from Wall Street firms while taking tons of money from people who work for those same Wall Street firms. Politics can make people do peculiar things.
Yeah, “politics can make people do peculiar things,” Ed, such as making you construct wholly specious arguments against better people to cover for the fact that you yourself are an old-timey bagman.
Rendell is using the same dumb argument many brainless ninnies deployed against Beto O’Rourke — implying that Beto was in the pocket of Big Oil because many of the individual folks who donated to his campaign worked for oil companies. Duh — he’s from Texas! Not too many lobstermen work in Texas.
Putting Rendell aside (with great force, please and thank you), there’s this long and prolifically sourced Politico piece that came out today that is delightfully entitled: “Why Are You Pissing In Our Face?’: Inside Warren’s War With the Obama Team.” It’s an utterly fascinating article in which many unnamed Obama administration Treasury staffers — and Larry Summers, Tim Geithner and Rahm Emanuel — say Warren doesn’t play well with others. An excerpt:
The acrimonious differences between Warren and her allies, and members of the Obama team, led in part to her decision, with prodding from Obama himself, to leave the administration to run for the Senate rather than continue pursuing the leadership of the consumer-protection bureau. But they never fully abated, and now represent dueling approaches to Democratic economic policy-making, presenting the possibility that the next Democratic president will have ascended to the height of Democratic Party politics in part by bashing the previous one.
Though I recommend the Politico piece (unlike Rendell’s screed), I think that last sentence overdramatizes the schism in true Politico “let’s you and him fight” fashion. As the writer acknowledges, Warren on the trail has been complimentary of President Obama. Why wouldn’t she be? They agree on most things.
The dramatic confrontations are with people like Summers, Geithner and Emanuel. Some Democrats (your humble correspondent, for example) read those names and credited Warren for choosing her enemies wisely. It’s almost as good an unintentional Warren 2020 campaign contribution as Cramer’s “she must be stopped!” rant on CNBC the other day.
Still, the timing of all this is interesting. First lumbering griftosaurus Rendell’s hatchet job, then the moneymen have their say in Politico. If Arne Duncan drops an op-ed today, I’m going to start to get suspicious!