Elizabeth Warren

Yesterday's Trade Deal Snafu Reveals a Democratic Party Struggling to Find Its Way Past the Obama Presidency

It's Elizabeth Warren vs. Barack Obama-and Elizabeth Warren is winning.

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credit: Tim Pierce / Furniture Fair / CC BY

The conventional wisdom amongst most Washington communicators is that the vast majority of the public cares very little about congressional procedural arcana.

So when White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest refers to a blocked Senate vote as a "procedural snafu"—as he did 10 times yesterday—you can infer with reasonable certainty that the snafu in question is one that the White House would prefer most everyone ignore.

But this particular procedural snafu is worth paying attention to, because it reveals quite a bit about the fractured and uncertain state of the Democratic party, and the troubles it will have maintaining unity and strong leadership heading into 2016.

The bill being considered would have given President Obama fast track authority on deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement with a large number of nuances and provisions, but that is in general designed to reduce barriers to trade with 11 Pacific Rim nations. The trade deal is currently Obama's top legislative priority, and he's personally lobbied Democratic Senators heavily to support it. Yet in yesterday's vote, all but one refused to do so. The no votes included Senators like Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) who had been broadly supportive of the trade agreement. As a result, the vote failed to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to clear a Senate filibuster.

It was a stinging rebuke to a sitting president from his own party; the last time this happened, reports Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur, was in 2007, when Republicans filibustered President Bush's immigration reform bill.

The rareness of the event, and the near-unanimity with which Senate Democrats opposed Obama, makes it clear that the Democratic Party is undergoing a kind of quiet, unofficial coup. President Obama isn't in charge anymore. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is.

Warren, backed by labor union support, led Democratic opposition to the trade deal. President Obama has pushed back forcefully, calling her "absolutely wrong" on the merits, and dismissing her as "a politician like everyone else." But yesterday, at least, Warren won out. Based on the vote, it was hardly even a contest.

Since 2008, President Obama has been the clear leader of the Democratic party, its most influential agenda-setter and its best known and liked public representative. He set the party's major goals and both delivered and developed its biggest messages. With few exceptions, the rest of the party followed his lead.

Yesterday's vote revealed a split between the president and significant parts of his own party, much of which looks ready to leave him behind as it pursues a more aggressive progress agenda under Warren's guidance. She may not be leading the party in an official, managerial capacity, but there's little question that her ideas and her rhetoric are driving the split and the shift.

Not every Democrat is entirely ready to sign on to Warren's approach, of course. Which is why, in addition to suggesting a divide specifically between President Obama and his party, the squabble over the trade deal also hints at the party's deeper internal fractures as the Obama era comes to a close, in particular, the disagreements between its more absolutist progressive wing (which is more opposed to free trade) and a somewhat more moderate centrist faction (which is more willing to back trade deals). 

For an in-depth look at these increasingly visible internal disagreements, it's worth reading Robert Draper's excellent piece on "The Great Democratic Crack-Up of 2016" in this week's New York Times Magazine. In particular, Draper makes a strong case that the Democratic divide is deeply linked to the Democratic party's dim electoral standing and prospects below the presidential level:

The Democrats lost their majority in the Senate last November; to regain it, they will need to pick up five additional seats (or four if there's a Democratic vice president who can cast the tiebreaking vote), and nonpartisan analysts do not rate their chances as good. The party's situation in the House is far more dire. Only 188 of the lower chamber's 435 seats are held by Democrats. Owing in part to the aggressiveness of Republican-controlled State Legislatures that redrew numerous congressional districts following the 2010 census, few believe that the Democratic Party is likely to retake power until after the next census in 2020, and even then, the respected political analyst Charles Cook rates the chances of the Democrats' winning the House majority by 2022 as a long shot at best.

Things get even worse for the Democrats further down the political totem pole. Only 18 of the country's 50 governors are Democrats. The party controls both houses in only 11 State Legislatures. Not since the Hoover Administration has the Democratic Party's overall power been so low.

Democrats, in short, look surprisingly weak outside of the White House; certainly they appear weaker than much of the recent triumphant rhetoric about the party's future prospects would suggest. But the party's current source of strength in the White House will be gone soon, so competing factions within the party are vying for control and influence in the post-Obama era. Obama has long been the biggest factor in determining the party's identity and agenda, but without him, there's a power vacuum to fill. 

What about Hillary Clinton? She is, without a doubt, am extremely strong force within the Democratic party. If she wins the 2016 presidential election, she will become even stronger still.

Yet what yesterday's trade deal kerfuffle suggests is that the White House, which is always a party's biggest power center, may no longer confer as much influence as it once did. And it may even be that, Hillary Clinton, despite her pull within the party, would not be able to fully unify the party when and where it is split internally, as it is over free—or at least free-er—trade.

At the very least she seems to believe that she does not have that power right now. One of Hillary Clinton's political talents is the ability to calibrate the Democratic party's exact center of gravity at any given moment and then position herself at precisely that point. This makes her a useful barometer of where her party is at any point in time.

So it's rather telling, then, that Clinton, who has previously backed free-trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement, has hedged on the current trade agreement, refusing to take a specific position. In contrast, Clinton has been perfectly clear about how she views Elizabeth Warren—as a "progressive champion" and a "special kind of leader" who "never hesitates to hold powerful people's feet to the fire" (including "presidential aspirants").

Yes, a handful of Senate Democrats may eventually change their minds, and the trade deal may well eventually pass. But the point is that Clinton, like many in her party, is unwilling to stand firmly behind President Obama and a free trade deal he strongly supports. Yet when it comes to Elizabeth Warren, there is no such hesitation. That's the present state of the Democratic party. It may be the future as well. 

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  1. Why are you trying to make shriek cry?

    The split is between the Far Left and Bat Shit Insane Left now?

    1. Tony concurs!

      1. Postings Tony’s name is rumored to conjure up his presence.

  2. If she wins the 2016 presidential election, she will become even stronger still.

    More powerful than I can possibly imagine?

    1. Gooood, GOOOOOD!! Let the hate flow through you!!!

  3. If the party line becomes “Obama is a sexist” then the party will move (further) left. If it becomes “Warren is a racist” then it’ll stay right where it is.

      1. INTERSECTIONALITY INQUISITION!!!!!!

        1. Is that one of those that nobody expects?

          1. Well, it’s certainly not “comfy”.

            1. “She told me, something fell out of me,” Branch told Global News. “I lifted up her pants and I saw a head and then I heard, ‘wah.’

              HAWT

  4. She’s even more vapid than Obama. At least he was vague enough that people would project their hopes onto him.

    She is…. unbelievable. Literally incapable of an original thought. Other than a few retarded slogans that she uses for signaling, she has nothing.

    1. A colleague of mine took a class taught by her at Harvard Law. He said she was an idiot. But he’s also a diehard Republican, which doesn’t mean he’s wrong, but perhaps his opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.

      1. I’ve had 3 econ professors who were Obama cabinet level. Although I disagreed with them, none of them were idiots.

        Robert Reich? Now he’s a fucking idiot. Has no idea what he’s talking about, but he has a following among idiots, which keeps him going. Warren is the same way. She says stupid, incorrect shit, and because it’s what some people want (or need) to hear, she has a cult following that convinces her that she’s a hero fighting the power. To me, she is about the same as Alex Jones. Moves from one pile of bullshit to the next without ever getting called on it.

        1. She says stupid, incorrect shit, and because it’s what some people want (or need) to hear

          So, yeah, pretty much like Robert Reich. Essentially, Reich is economics for non-economists (and can’t really understand economics). Warren is pretty much the same for economics and the law.

          I’ll at least credit Krugman (and this is probably the only time I’ll credit Krugman) with at least establishing himself as an economist before moving on to Economics for Women’s Studies majors.

          1. Yep. And Krugman is far more famous for being a partisan hack than for anything he has done in the field of economics.

            1. True. Which, in its own way is kind of sad. His actual economic work was actually pretty interesting – why do trading partners in the real world often produce products that are quite similar when comparative advantage suggests they shouldn’t.

              Instead, he gained popularity, and probably his Nobel prize, being the guy who could be counted on to attack George W. Bush.

              1. Any economist willing to give full-throated support to unrepentant, old-school Keynsianism will always find popularity among politicians.

                Keynes himself never said “government spending is always good, because it always stimulates the economy”, but anyone willing to give a facade of intellectual cover to that claim is going to be received favorably.

            2. Was Krugman as popular/famous with the left during the 90s as he is now? I have read some of his op-ed type work from back then and it was much better. Then 2000 hit and he lost it.

              1. No, he wasn’t. He had a following. But, it was a following of people who’d be just as likely to read books by conservative economists. He was left-of-center, but didn’t really try to pretend economics doesn’t exist except for progressive wishes defining reality. The funny thing is, when he writes for a professional audience, he still sounds roughly the same

                As to whether he “lost it”, I don’t know if that’s quite the right term. Becoming a hard-line partisan shill seems to have paid very lucratively for Krugman. He’s probably done a lot better for himself with that than he would have keeping a semblance of integrity.

        2. Mr. Robert Reich. Professor of Public Policy at Berkley. His intellectual stature rivals his physical one.

          When I read someone refering to him as an economist, I weep for the profession. A parrot that was trained to squak “fiscal stimulus! tax the rich!” on cue would have a more nuanced understanding of the economy.

          1. My local rag features Reich in the Sunday ‘high-brow’ supplement. I swear he has written the same column for years by changing the paragraph order and substituting the name of the most recent ogre on the right:
            “The Rich Are Getting Richer Faster Than The Poor Are Ge3tting Richer/
            Wymenz and Minorities Most Affected!”

          2. Meanwhile Barry Bluestone probably thinks Reich sold out.

        3. The press seems to believe that “a populist voice is needed” in politics so they never seem to call the Warrens out on their bullshit.

          Does Reich still give his beloved regular editorial commentary on NPR?

  5. A white guy named Sherrod jumping to the defense of a “native American” female by calling the biracial President sexist is almost too much to handle. Brown’s a sexist b/c he thinks Warren can’t defend herself, Obama is sexist b/c he used her first name (say what?) and Warren, as we’ve learned from MSNBC, Stewart, etc. for the last 7 years, is a racist because she opposes the President’s agenda. Its like a pack of hyenas.

    1. Packs of hyenas actually work together. What animal actually eats its own?

      1. Shark fetuses.

      2. I thought starving hyenas will actually eat their littermates or cubs? What am I thinking of then….Eagles fans?

      3. Chimps?

      4. Ouroboros?

    2. As I mentioned in a previous thread where this came up, Barry has a long history of referring to people by their first names. I think it’s to make it sound like he’s buddies with them, and they’re all just regular guys, but it sounds totally affected. He routinely refers to Biden as “Joe” and Pelosi as “Nancy.” Some conservative outlet recently went apeshit because he repeatedly referred to Angela Merkel as “Angela,” rather than Chancellor or mein fuehrer or whatever the fuck she is.

      Personally, I’m gleeful to just sit back and watch the morons derp their own.

      1. I think it’s to make it sound like he’s buddies with them

        It’s a very American thing to do. Most other countries find it offensive or at least off-putting. So do I, actually.

        1. To me it’s stupid (getting your feathers all ruffled) to get mad when someone calls you by, well ya know, your actual fucking name.

          We can stand on pompous etiquette or you can just say what the fuck ya gotta say and get on with it.

          When I was in the military there was this unwritten rule that you could call people the same rank or lower ranking than you by their fist name. One of my commanders did this because he wanted to fool you into thinking that he gave a shit about you. Senior NCO’s would do it when you were speaking to them one on one in a relaxed fashion.

          However the gov’t is a bunch of civilians that don’t have to rely on military like discipline and structure so to me it’s stupid and just partisan hackery to attack him over this (I’m no Obama supporter, I loathe the man).

          1. Heh…their fist name…heh, heh.

      2. I think it’s to make it sound like he’s buddies with them,

        I think its to diminish their professional stature.

        1. That’s my reaction to, to infantilize them, because we normally speak of children only by first names.

          I have heard that the Japanese have a different take on first names of famous people. If you are so buddy-buddy with someone famous that you call each other by first names or nicknames, it is false humility to refer to them in public by their last names.

        2. They do that all on their own.

      3. Just think of how him suddenly referring to her as Senator Warren would have gone down. “Obama Goes Cold and Formal on Dem Who Disagrees”

        Its his turn to take one for the team now that he’s a lame duck with a hostile Congress. He’s getting chewed up by the machine that put him on top and probably surprised by it. But that’s how machines work.

    3. Also, didn’t Chris Matthews, at one point, claim that conservatives were racist because they refer to the president as “Obama,” (instead of, presumably, “President Obama”)? This led to a number of videos posted on the Youtubes featuring the dozens of times Matthews himself referred to him as “Obama.”

      1. I thought Matthews preferred address for the president was “Lord Tingle”

  6. In other news, did anyone else catch Rep. Steve Israel not even waiting until the bodies were cold to wave their bloody shirts in an attempt to funnel money to his cronies at Amtrak?

    1. I did not see that…but cannot say I am surprised.

      *barf*

    2. Heard it on the radio today. It was pathetic and the White House is doing it too.

    3. Yes. All I’ve heard all day was how Amtrak hadn’t got enough money from the evil Republican Congress. The FRA and NTSB, who are pushing a hobby horse they call “Positive Train Control” (PTC) on us, are also all over the tv to tell us that these people wouldn’t be dead if the government had been able to take over the railroads sooner.

      We’ve already seen this movie before. The RRs have been effectively nationalized several times in this country’s history, and it’s been a disaster every time (culminating in the near-death of the entire industry in the 1970’s).

  7. I have a conspiracy theory! Anyone wanna hear it?

    1. **Raises hand**

    2. Of course!! Where do you think you are, man!?!?

    3. Episiarch is really in love with you and that’s why he’s so mean?

      1. Shut up!!! You’re embarrassing me!

      2. That’s not a conspiracy, sugarfree!

        A conspiracy needs two or more conspirators, and Epi is only one man.

        1. Epi is huge. He’s the snack that eats like a meal.

          1. Epi is large, he contains multitudes.

          2. Huge tracts?

    4. Only if it’s in a newsletter.

    5. My conspiracy theory is that you don’t have one, and just said that for attention.

    6. It has been rumored that the Obama and Clinton camps don’t much like each other. Obama is giving Warren (his preferred protege) a chance to look like a strong leader coming into the 2016 campaign.

      Hillary’s weakness is she isn’t the face of the new democratic party: unions and free stuff. Warren is. This signals that early on, and allows Obama to give one final fuck-you to Clinton.

      It’s fanciful I know…

      1. Newsletter?

        1. Subscribe to Reason today!

      2. Hardly revolutionary. Some of us have known Lizzie would be the nominee for years now.

        1. I still don’t believe she’ll be the nominee, but this kind of thing gives her more visibility. And she’s more of an ideological heir to Obama than Hillary is.

      3. the face of the new democratic party: unions and free stuff.

        Public-sector unions, that is. Private-sector unions can suck a blocked pipeline…

        1. They can “suck a [crony-capitalist socialized] blocked pipeline…..”

        2. They sucked pretty well during th GM bankruptcy

      4. Obama is giving Warren (his preferred protege) a chance to look like a strong leader

        Not on this issue. The way this played makes Obama look weak and foolish, and he would never sign on to that.

        1. Even when he’s not up for re-election?

          1. Extreme hubris knows no season.

      5. No more free money? Interest rates are going to go up?

      6. He just called Warren a stupid Injun bitch over the trade deal yesterday so I think that gig is up.

  8. few believe that the Democratic Party is likely to retake power until after the next census in 2020, and even then, the respected political analyst Charles Cook rates the chances of the Democrats’ winning the House majority by 2022 as a long shot at best.

    Seriously, why does anybody listen to political analysts about anything anymore? In the past 10 years, we’ve gone from the “permanent Republican majority” to “Bush has ruined the Republican brand forever and they’ll be out of government for decades”, to “backlash against Obama has people fed up with the Democrats” to “Demographics proves Democrats will win everything forever somehow” and now this. How many times does conventional wisdom have to be dead wrong before we stop calling it wisdom?

    1. Apparently infinite times, because people can make predictions about, oh, the world ending or billions starving or the next ice age, and then when none of those things come true, they just say something else, and no one examines their track record. Crazy, right?

      1. Well, one of these days, they’ll be right, and won’t you look foolish then!

        1. No. Anyone whose dead looks smart and eviable to me these days.

    2. Your expectation of consistency is a manifestation of your racism against the president. Also, WARONWOMENZ

      Check your privilege, honkey

    3. How many times does conventional wisdom have to be dead wrong before we stop calling it wisdom?

      2
      /my three year old’s answer to everything.

    4. I agree with you that prognosticating about this stuff is mostly pointless.

      HOWEVER, it seems like the D’s really are in a bad state of affairs because the bench really is thin, and barring some big unrecognized talent within their ranks, it takes time to build the bench back up.

      Or it’s all just a random number generator. Hell if I know.

      1. Theory (& experience) says that over the long run, the 2 parties will adjust to bring returns of about 50-50. In the short run, who knows? But if you’re betting, favor Lobagola’s law if you know nothing else,

        1. There is, however, a caveat, which is that, like the law of Frank-Starling, there’s negative feedback up to a point, but positive feedback beyond that point. If one party becomes dominant enough that it looks like nobody’s got a chance at much gain by joining the other, they’ll all go into the dominant party, as has happened w the Democrats in some places.

  9. “SNAFU” You keep using that word…

    1. Remember the first two words are Situation Normal

  10. Warren is basically a used Subaru Outback with doghair all over the seats. I can imagine that someone might want to buy it, but I am baffled by anyone who claims to be excited about the purchase.

    1. I would say more like a used Subaru Outback with the engine removed, yet people are still excited about how well it runs.

      1. Also a weird smell comes out of the vents whenever you start the engine, and the driver’s side window won’t roll down.

        1. And it claims to have descended from the First Assembly Lines.

          1. And the used Subaru is also rumored to be a teeny tiny fraction of Comanche. (Like maybe a spare part from an old Jeep Comanche was once used by mistake.) But that doesn’t stop the old clunker from presenting itself as a true Jeep.

        2. Also a weird smell comes out of the vents whenever you start the engine, and the driver’s side window won’t roll down.

          And it makes a catarrh-ish hiccuping sound whenever you decelerate.

        3. And also salvage title.

    2. A Lesbian with a dog?

      1. Dog-owning lesbians prefer the Pontiac Aztek, it is known.

        1. It’s the Penny Robinson look that gets them.

      2. There’s a reason that a dog cage is an option for the Subaru Outback.

        And X is wrong; the Outback is still the #1 car for lesbians.

        1. Forester is much more a lesbian car.

          /looks out window at car, regrets recent purchase

          1. Maybe those sporty, hiking types, but the dim-witted academic who got tenure by spouting the right slogans is an Outback gal, through and through.

            1. Texas lesbians drive trucks.

              At least my neighbor does.

              She is a beautiful girl and gets more straight girls, who want to take a walk on the wild side, than any of my young straight buddies do.

    3. No. Used Outbacks have a track record of being reliable workhorses, even if they aren’t glamorous.

      1. Are you related to The International Jew?

  11. Hillary is less a Democrat than a member of the Elect Me Please party established by her husband in 1992. There is zero chance of her having any ideological pull on the DP even if she pulled off the miracle of beating out Mondale, Hart, and other better-positiioned politicos for the presidency.

    The problem has been pointed out a thousand times: Obama has sustained his political power via a cult of personality and glamor. He’s a center-left ideologue, but Americans slap down center-left ideologues with regularity when they’re not scared shitless by world wars and particularly after they’re given painful reminders of what center-left ideologues do to us with their utopian scheming and gun grabbing.

    Now the Dems are left with the political bill of the Obama years but none of his glamor and are forced to follow him up with a range of charmless candidates stretching from the manic to the reptilian. Meanwhile, young candidates who might give the party some steam are afraid of Hillary ruining them politically for opposing her coronation, so they have to let her get her ass stomped one more time before they can run in 2020.

    After hearing Miller and co. whining about Obama destroying the GOP following the 2012 election, it’s downright hilarious to watch the Democrats revert to 1983 form before our very eyes.

    1. The fact is, Obama’s policies and, perhaps more importantly, his politics, have left the Democratic party in shambles at every level of the federal government and all but the bluest of states (hell, even some of the blue states elected Republican governors last year).

      Hillary is the only thing close to a winning candidate that they have. For a while, she was cruising on name recognition, but as soon as she re-entered the fray, people remember how utterly fake, uncharismatic, opportunistic, and let’s not forget corrupt she is. The hope was that everyone would coalesce behind her, but that’s already not panning out.

      1. I have an Indonesian friend whose mother has been correctly picking the winner of presidential elections on the basis of photos since Reagan was in office. She knows nothing about American politics or even the names of the candidates.

        Hillary will never pass the photo test. You could run Romney again and he’d trounce her; that’s how bad this decision is if they go ahead with her nomination.

        Either political kingmakers are incredibly myopic to churn out Dole/McCain types (Hillary isn’t anywhere near their level as a presidential candidate), or they know they’ve got an unwinnable election on their hands and just need to prevent an elder statesman from screwing up the next ticket where they might win.

        1. Is your Indonesian friend’s mother the woman who makes $165/hr on her laptop? I read about her a lot on these boards.

    2. There’s also the question of whether the Democratic voters of 2008 and 2012 are the new Democratic coalition or whether they were simply the Obama coalition. Few analysts expected the turnout among lo-fo’s (low-information voters) in 2012 to be comparable to 2008, but it was. The turnout for 2010 and 2014 indicate that it’s probably, at best, a presidential year thing, and (more likely) simply an Obama thing. The Democrats have spent the last decade doing everything they can to alienate whites, the working class, and the middle class. Despite their claims to the contrary, Hispanics are not a guaranteed Dem. voting bloc (see, e.g., Texas). If turnout among blacks, single women, and the mentally retarded drops in any material degree, it won’t be a good year for them.

    3. There’s too much patronage at stake for the party to just sit back & wait for 2020. I can’t believe Hillary would have so much dirt on everyone that they’d be dissuaded from getting behind one of the comers. I can easily believe Hillary would play rule-or-ruin this time, since there’s no way she can wait, but I can’t believe she’d win at that game.

  12. Regardless who wins, Warren or Obama, the rest of us lose.

    1. Don’t we sorta want Obama to win this one?

      1. We don’t know yet, as President Transparent and his various advocates of Democracy! have been keeping the “free trade” TPP hyper-secret.

        This is likely Stalin arguing with Khrushchev over the benefits of the Party’s latest five-year plan.

        1. Ultimately, the shoe beater won that battle. Doctors’ plots and all.

      2. Don’t we sorta want Obama to win this one?

        No. A “secret” trade deal is anathema, and that’s what he’s asking for.

        I don’t care how fabulous the contents may actually be. “Secret” anything have no place in a decent government.

        1. What about an indecent government?

        2. But they’ve done it a few times before, usu. successfully.

  13. And as every Spider-Man fan knows, with great power comes great responsibility. Oh wait…We’re talking about her. Never mind. No responsibility whatsoever. If you question her, FYTW is the answer.

    1. She accepted full responsibility for Benghazi. Actually, she said she accepted full responsibility. Actually accepting responsibility would mean she would fully cooperate with the inquiries, resign from her post and public life, and publicly apologize for her misdeeds.

      1. What difference, at this point, does it make?

    2. I was thinking that it’s more “with Mogwai comes much responsibility”. Don’t feed her after midnight.

    3. Meh. Comment wasn’t even close to being in the right place.

  14. dismissing her as “a politician like everyone else me.”

    FIFH

  15. the vast majority of the public cares very little about congressional procedural arcana.

    Procedural arcana chicanery brought us Obamacare. So, we’ve got that going for us.

  16. Since Obama will actually enjoy some Republican support on trade deals, he won’t even need “fast track authority” on those matters.

    He could always use executive decisions to troll the democrats. Lincoln used it to free slaves in rebel territory in the civil war, you know.

  17. Yesterday’s vote revealed a split between the president and significant parts of his own party, much of which looks ready to leave him behind as it pursues a more aggressive progress agenda under Warren’s guidance. She may not be leading the party in an official, managerial capacity, but there’s little question that her ideas and her rhetoric are driving the split and the shift.

    If the progressive wing of the party thinks they are going to get anywhere by repudiating the progressive black president that brought them to power, they are foolish indeed. The progressive wave was entirely created by the Obama election campaign of 2008. And it will die without him, because without him, it loses the support of black voters.
    There just aren’t enough coastal liberal-progressives to win a general election. And by separating themselves from Obama, they are actually undercutting their strongest leader. It’s crazy. They’re eating their own. Warren isn’t even running for president, and she shure as fuck isn’t going to be marjority leader.

  18. “President Obama isn’t in charge anymore. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is….She may not be leading the party in an official, managerial capacity, but there’s little question that her ideas and her rhetoric are driving the split and the shift.”

    This is going too far in a couple of ways.

    1) The Democrats in Congress aren’t following Elizabeth Warren’s lead on anything. They’re simply thinking about themselves, now, and what it’s going to be to win without Barack Obama’s coattails to ride on anymore.

    If anything, we’ve seen Barack Obama try to build a stronger legacy for himself, without regard to what happens to everyone else in the Democratic Party, in all sorts of ways. Just ask Harry Reid how much being associated with Obama has helped Democratic candidates recently.

    Obama’s combative stance with Israel isn’t helping the Democratic Party. Obama’s embrace of Iran and a treaty isn’t helping the Democratic Party. You watch what happens with Obama’s Paris climate change treaty agreement come December–that isn’t in the Democratic Party’s best interests either.

    It isn’t that they’re on Warren’s side now. It’s just that they’re watching out for themselves and no longer tied to Obama.

    1. 2) You could not slip an envelope between the philosophical differences of Warren and Obama.

      To whatever extent Warren has attacked Obama’s positions and legacy, it has been with the full understanding and maybe even support of the White House. If Obama could do something to make sure Warren were the Democratic nominee rather than Hillary, he would absolutely do that.

      Warren needs to say and do whatever is necessary to make sure she stays in the conversation for running the White House, and if she has to butter up the unions and bad mouth Obama to do that, then Obama is only too happy to see that happen. He’d raise money for Warren if he could.

      1. To whatever extent Warren has attacked Obama’s positions and legacy, it has been with the full understanding and maybe even support of the White House.

        Cheater pumpkin eater. That’s my conspiracy theory.

      2. You think he appointed her SOS because he knew she’d fuck it up? (Not that State has traditionally been the province of the competent, but still….)

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  20. So it’s about politics, control and power . . not free trade. No kidding! People don’t need permission to trade freely. It’s something mankind has been doing for over 6000 years. A trade agreement can be signed, sealed, and delivered by overnight express. A government mandated trade restriction package is considerably more complicated.

  21. The ACLU is concern trolling Hollywood about the lack of women directors for action films.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05…..tices.html

    Does this mean the 4th Amendment is now completely off the list of civil liberties the ACLU finds worth defending?

    1. Why the fuck is this an ACLU issue ?

      Since when is getting to direct a Hollywood movie a civil liberty?

  22. Liz Warren, like Hillary Clinton, supports the war on women who smoke weed.

  23. Lame duck president is lame.

  24. This article is really excellent. This allows us to give serious consideration to this issue.

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  26. Against free trade again? The thing is make it free trade both ways this time, not just them freedom to export while taxing he bejesus out of US products. Can’t these communists just get along?

    1. China is not part of the TPP deal, IIRC.

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  28. Obama has never controlled his party. That’s been a large part of the problem.

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