Warren vs Bernie: An Interesting Exchange

Two very smart folks conducted a very dignified discussion on FB, one arguing for Warren, the other for Bernie. Dignified on FB? This was the exception and was so well written and analytic, I thought I’d share.

Did You Miss Yesterday’s Post? Roxanne and I have been in Taos for a birthday weekend and to see Sting last night—an utterly amazing concert, way, way, way beyond our expectations. We head home as soon as this post is published. We encountered significant internet hurdles where we have been staying and so the post yesterday was posted at 1pm, far later than our normal 7am-8am. As a result many missed the Monday Look Back.

The post includes links to a post on New Energy Economy’s Supreme Court challenge of the Energy Transition Act and for those interested, I cut the added commentary on this lawsuit from the Thursday post on Public Banking and placed it within the Tuesday post on the lawsuit.

So you have a Tuesday post entirely devoted to the lawsuit and a Thursday post entirely devoted to Public Banking. I would also ask readers to reconsider if you chose to skip Saturday Your Weekend Reading if the Extinction Rebellion headline generated a thought like: eh, maybe not; I am as concerned as I can stand to be. The Saturday post actually finds considerable hope and practical strategies on an international level that could help us pivot from unenforced aspirations, i.e. Paris, to internationally mandated change of the scale required. I highly recommend reviewing the post from last Saturday, if you missed it.

Click here to read the post from yesterday.

Critical Retake Our Democracy Presentation and Panel

On Tuesday, Sept. 3 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, Santa Fe, a presentation, panel discussion and audience dialogue: Retaking the NM State Senate.

If you don’t think this is important, consider this small sampling of good bills that passed the House and then were killed in the NM state Senate.

  • Permanent fund funding for early childhood
  • Decriminalization of abortion
  • Funding for a state public bank study
  • Legalization of recreational marijuana
  • Community Solar and Local Choice Energy
  • Two bills to advance planning for an economic and energy transition
  • Any and all efforts to regulate, tax or penalize the gas and oil industry

Tuesday’s meeting will be streamed live on Facebook and we know we have viewers planning to watch from Taos, Dixon, Las Cruces, Silver City, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Farmington, and likely many other regions of the state. We hope that this tool helps us to build a statewide community and base of power, focused on achieving greater and more rapid social, environmental, racial and economic justice in NM. Today’s presentation and panel discussion should help us begin formulating our plans for the 2020 legislative session and the June primary and our use of Zoom for action team planning meetings should allow people from throughout the state to become more involved.

The presentation will begin with a 45-minute presentation by Eric Shimamoto, an ABQ activist who has done some remarkable research about the way the NM state Senate and indeed, the entire legislative process is controlled by eight DINO Senators who routinely vote with the GOP. He then draws parallels between NM’s situation and how NY had been held hostage by the same exact dynamic with another eight NY DINOs controlling that state’s legislative process.

Eric also describes how NY Working Families Party led primary challenges in 2019 in the eight NY state Senate districts with DINOs. With wins in six, NY WFP completely changed the legislative environment in NY and a flood of great bills, some stalled for 20 years, were passed in the 2019 legislative session.

We will follow Eric’s presentation with a panel discussion of the implications of what was done in NY and how NM can learn from it. The panel includes Eric Griego, Director of NM Working Families Party; Jeremy Sment, as ABQ activist with powerful data on the eight NM Senate districts represented by DINOs. Sharla Parsons, chair of the NM Democratic Party Platform Committee and of the Adelante Caucus and Javier Benavidez, an ABQ Interfaith activist may also join the panel.

The Panel discussion will be interactive with the audience, as together we seek to better understand how to target resources in pressuring NM DINO Senators in the 2020 legislative session and challenging them in the June primary to follow. Please plan to join us.

An RSVP, even if you think we know you’ll be coming, would certainly help us with set-up. email RetakeResponse@gmail.com to RSVP.

Warren vs. Bernie: Astute pragmatic attorney vs. uncompromising visionary

Visionary vs. Astute Attorney: Where do you stand?

An exchange between several members of Santa Fe Democratic Socialists of America caught my attention for two reasons. First both people made their points with great respect for the other position and second the ways in which the two captured the subtle but critical differences between the two candidates. I suspect that most readers of this blog would be delighted if either were the Democratic nominee but I thought it worth sharing the perspectives of Alex McDonough and David Best.

First, from Alex:

She’s a super bright lawyer. After learning about the lawyering profession as my sibling goes to law school, I think a hardcore lawyer is most ideally positioned to make important changes.

Bernie is like me, consistently grumpy about the same things in the same ways, forever; and with big plans about how to change it all. I love both of their ideas, I just think she’s better positioned to git it dun.

And then from David:

It’s easy to look back and call Obama a neoliberal now that we’ve all read the articles in Jacobin and Teen Vogue and whatever to that effect. But what did he look like in 2007? A movement candidate! A former “community organizer” with radical associations far more impressive than Warren’s. And remember, that was a time of crisis too. Banks were going bust, wars dragged on, and the outgoing president was regarded by liberals as perhaps the stupidest man to ever hold that office. It was not so different from today.

So how did you and I come to see Obama as a failure and a sellout–a “corporate sponsored neo lib”? Because as soon as he got elected he started governing like a smart lawyer. He bargained in good faith with racists and thieves. He was fair and reasonable and tried to bring people together and find compromise over bottles of Blue Moon. He stocked his cabinet with the smartest people from the best universities. And he disbanded the movement organization that had won him the 2008 election.

It turned out that Obama did not actually want to change the status quo in a serious way. He wanted to manage it more humanely, of course, but largely failed to do so because he would not fight power with power. He tried to fight power with eloquence and reason, as if trying to impress an invisible court. But it turns out that’s not how politics works!

And that’s about what I expect from Elizabeth Warren. She’s fiercer than Obama, but she still doesn’t get it. Remember when she launched her campaign with a video arguing that a DNA expert says she has an indigenous ancestor, therefore Trump can’t make fun of her anymore? Q.E.D., Bozo! That was some PREMIUM f*cking smart lawyer stupidity. I expect there’s more where that came from. And I believe her when she says she wants a cleaner, greener, and better-funded imperial military, and is capitalist to her bones. It’s really, really disheartening.

My View, In Brief

I’ve posted on many occasions my huge expectations from Obama. My son and I canvassed for him in Nevada and my firm hosted a phone banking calling center. For the same reasons posted by David, I thought: Chicago activist, African American, smart, articulate, and supported by a massive grassroots base of power.

And for the same reasons noted by David and many he didn’t include, I was hugely disappointed as he abandoned both his grassroots base and his commitment to “change we could believe in,” to negotiate with Republicans, bankers, fossil fuel and pharma industries and seek a middle course with that middle course being far from the change we could believe in.

I also continue to respect Obama’s dignified, respectful, tone and thoughtful manner, something so utterly absent from the Washington, D.C. generally and from the White House most specifically.

But is the behavior and decisions of one President an indicator of what another attorney candidate might do, if she were elected president? So what do you think? Does Warren’s having once been a registered Republican undermine the power of her plans, plans that put real bones on her policies and aspirations? Or will she, as David suggests, use her lawyerly skills to negotiate to achieve common ground and in so doing sacrifice the principles that ground her rhetoric?

Readers, please comment. If you had to vote today, what would you do? Today, let’s not get caught up in: what would you do if Biden wins the nomination. I think most of us support someone else, but would support Biden if nominated. There is too much at stake here. But for now, let’s not look beyond our primary in June. What are your thoughts and inclinations?

Hope to see you tonight at 6:30, either in person at 1420 or via Facebook stream.

In solidarity, Paul & Roxanne

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24 replies

  1. One thing I know for sure: I will vote for whomever wins the Democratic Primary. If Dems had done that in 2016, maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess. But I also believe my vote might be a moot point because of the Electoral College?

  2. I support Bernie all the way. Elizabeth would be my second choice from among the other candidates. Bernie is not only a visionary, but a man who has always stood by his values. And I share his values for a better country and world.

  3. Whereas I agree with the analysis (disappointment) of the Obama reign, I simply do not believe we can measure/compare anything that happened prior to 2016 in a meaningful way in a post-Trump world. The game has changed in a very serious way. If there is a Democrat that exists today who still believes in the power of persuasion and compromise as a tool in the democratic process, they need to be run out of office asap. DINOs are dinosaurs in this new reality.

    I believe Warren has the intelligence and will to fight everyday to bring her plans to life. The fight no longer ends on election day. We need a president willing to fight, fight, fight and fight again each and every day if we are ever to restore the “norms” of our democracy.

  4. Like Obama Warren has the smarts. What is more important she has passion and doggedness—more important than smarts. Obama had ambition—to be president—but lacked experience and passion. I’m convinced Warren’s passionate ambition is to make the nation a fairer place for all of us. I hope I get the chance to give her my vote.

  5. This outline nicely summarizes what many of us think. But Warren has a fire in her that Obama did not have. It was a bummer that she had her saliva analyzed, but that’s now in the past, and she has burnished her cred with native Americans, who cheered her at a recent convention. It’s true that Trump will call her Pocahontas. She can fire back with ‘Mr. Reality Show President’. I love and admire Bernie, but I think he has ‘crested’, not because of anything he has done wrong but simply because he was a candidate in 2016; and his age is a factor too–not for me, but for some. In other words, there is a tide in the affairs of men…Bernie crested in the last election cycle. So thinking entirely in practical terms, I think Warren stands a better chance. And her having been a Republican 35 years ago in no ways suggests that she is still a conservative. Her political views at the time were undeveloped and doubtless represented her upbringing and family of origin. That fact may actually bolster her validity as someone who can evaluate her views and change them. (I don’t believe in original sin.) I think her professed regard for markets will enable her to attract millions of voters who are frightened of the word socialism. She understands economics as no president in modern history has done and will advocate policies that will aid the suffering and long-neglected working class. Economic policies take time to work–that’s true no matter who becomes president–but hers, based on markets, will not scare off the vast majority of voters (and would-be voters) who don’t know what socialism is but hate it anyway. Warren has a gift, I think, of appealing to all sorts of people, many of whom have been neglected by the System for half a century. Something about her is non-doctrinaire, and that’s appealing. She stands for the ordinary Jane and Joe, not for a System with an off-putting name, Socialism. So, although I admire both Bernie and Liz, my hat’s going into the ring for her.

  6. Looking forward to following the live stream on FB tonight.

  7. I am not so worried that Warren used to be a Republican as that she continues to call herself a capitalist. If she is so “brilliant,” how can she possibly not to see that capitalism is the ultimate cause of the climate disaster, massive inequality, and pretty much everything else that plagues us? At this point in time, it’s not enough to work within the exiting the system; the system has to be uprooted and built over.

  8. Major disagreement with these views of Obama. He was bought from the get-go. His early career promoted by the Chicago Pritzker family. It was somewhat of a surprise that he beat Hilary in the 2008 primaries, but then we know what a dismal and inept candidate she is (and not to mention her hideous character). The tell with Obama was even before he was inaugurated, when he successfully lobbied Dem representatives to reverse their vote against a bailout of the criminal bankers. Accommodate the Republicans? How smart do you have to be to think that this is even possible? Yeah, Obama presented well, as many narcissists can. Compared to the guy who came before him, he looked like FDR. But he lacked any real convictions and I sincerely believe that his goal was to look good and not upset the boat (i.e. not get himself terminated) while he was in office. The expected payoff came as scheduled. He’ll be known as the oracle of Martha’s Vineyard in the future.

    I agree with some of the negatives about Warren. Except for her credentials on Wall Street, she is basically a mild reformer. Tinkering around the edges of the rotting hulk. She is not astute politically; witness her continuing referral to her native american background. She is pro Empire. It seems that the establishment will settle for her once Biden bites the dust due to his accelerating dementia.

    My preferred candidate is Tulsi. But she has been cheated out of the next debate and so has near zero chance. I was pleased that she took down Harris, another fraudulent poseur.

    I would vote for Bernie, were he to be the candidate. What you see is exactly what you get. He has been saying the same damn thing for about 40 years, so there is very little likelihood of an Obama-type bait and switch. Bernie is a smart politician and he has a very impressive organization. He is overwhelmingly the candidate of choice among the under 35 cohort. The DNC loathe him. As do the larger ruling establishment. If he gets close, they will pull out the stops to derail him. It will be an interesting spectacle. Bernie would soundly beat Trump–he would have in 2016 had he not been cheated. A Bernie/Tulsi ticket would be my preference, but I’ll admit that I live in a dream world.

    • I’d be interested to hear how Tulsi has been cheated. I also wonder about your comment that Obama came with no real commitment. I know a large number of community organizers and all I’ve known feel it in their gut. I just think he was overwhelmed with the challenge and was unable to resist the idea of Barack Obama being the one to be able to wrangle good deals for his peeps. He wrangled, but the deals he made were not good for his peeps. Or most any peeps except Wall St., pharma and the fossil fuel industry.

      • To get into the forthcoming debate, Tulsi had to poll 2% or more in 2 additional polls. She got 3% in a well-respected NH poll–better than some of the boys who are in the debate–but it wasn’t considered valid by the DNC. Also, some of the polls they DO include–and to date there are no published criteria for which ones are so considered–do not even list her as a potential candidate. Tulsi surpassed the 130,000 contribution benchmark some time around mid-August. Coverage of her campaign by the corporate media has been near negligible. When they do “report” on her, it is almost always accompanied with slurs like “Assad apologist”. Honestly, if you go against the MIC and its congressional employees, you have no chance. It will be interesting to see how far Bernie, if he is the D nominee, can push them.

        As far as Obama’s background, I see the community organizer gig as just another box to check on his ambitious and successful path to the presidency. I’m not saying that he was a bad guy until he became president, but I am very skeptical that the man has any core values or beliefs that would benefit anybody other than himself and his family. You say “except Wall St., pharma, and the fossil fuel industry”. What else is there in the ruling establishment except for the MIC? And Obama gave them Bob Gates, the Afghan surge, destroying Libya, wedding parties rendered into pink mist, criminal morons like Brennan and Clapper. He went after the true heroes with a vengeance: Manning, Snowden, Assange. Domestically, Obama’s policies threw about 8 million people out of their homes, victims of the criminal enterprises that are called “banks”. All one had to know about Obama’s economic policies was revealed when, at the request of Citicorp, he appointed Larry “smartest guy in the room” Summer and Timothy Geithner to their key positions. (Whenever I see “smart” attached to any of these personalities, I think of old David Halberstam’s “best and brightest”. The truth is they are not very smart, and certainly not wise.)

  9. Obama just could not believe how awful the Republicans would be – that they would focus 100% of their energy on making him fail, not giving a damn about suffering human beings. Thus he tried to negotiate across the aisle with those racists and thieves. I think Warren completely understands their criminal minds and will make no such mistake.

  10. Bernie’s biggest accomplishment in his decades of politics is the Democratic national platform of 2016. He is an articulate visionary. We can visualize a whole new system, but the president in 2020 will need to work with the one we have in order to change it. A whole new system will not come from politics but from revolution. Only if the Republicans take power again do I see the ingredients of a revolution. I do not want the Republicans to win again, so I’m with Warren. She is a revolutionary leader who can do what FDR did–change the system.

  11. I’d trust and support both Bernie and Warren equally and they may have to team up if the powers that be, thru hook and crook, insist the nom be biden. Of the two, Bernie’s always been the system revolution candidate, angry, tough, and willing to do whatevers necessary to make lasting progressive changes. Nothing (or everything) to lose! Warren or Bernie, the other will play a huge support role.

  12. We really need to avoid this Bernie Bro imaging. Its going to make a coalition, for a 2nd round Sanders pick in the Democratic National Convention, much more difficult.

    “David Best: Remember when [Elizabeth Warren] launched her campaign with a video arguing that a DNA expert says she has an indigenous ancestor, therefore Trump can’t make fun of her anymore? Q.E.D., Bozo! That was some PREMIUM f*cking smart lawyer stupidity.”

    A 30 year old white guy, who attended one of the most expensive colleges in the country, making a Facebook comment like this, just reinforce the Bernie Bro image.

  13. We may need a new system but that doesn’t mean we can get it.

  14. Bernie 100%. He’s the one who articulated the progressive movement. Others speak the words but I think Bernie believes in them.

    • I love Warren, but I worried that her climate ideas were too piecemeal and submerged by her plans to help working families socially and economically—in spite of the fact that those potential gains would be wiped out if we don’t get to net zero emissions PDQ. When Sanders came out with his vision for a Green New Deal, I started a monthly contribution to him equal to what I give her (peanuts, but as much as I can). Now Warren has announced she’s taking on Inslee’s plan for a GND. Just what I wanted! I’ll keep donating to both. They are head and shoulders above the competition on my number one issue. Maybe one will prove to be the stronger over the next several months. For now, I’d be happy with either of them.

  15. I’m for Bernie at this point – I give him huge credit for a huge (uuuuge!!) shift in the terms of debate within the Democratic Party, and believe he deserves another shot. Also, as a democratic socialist for as long as I’ve been aware of politics (a point of view you get from growing up in another country) I prefer Sanders’ politics to Warren’s. But Warren is a strong number 2. I read a biography of FDR recently, and one could do far worse than a capitalist who is willing to make radical changes to save capitalism. I think Warren’s positions are sincere and long-held – watch her take-down of Joe (I’ve Never Met a Credit Card Company I Didn’t Love) Biden during a Senate hearing more than a decade ago. And I do think she’s learning (quite quickly) to be a very effective candidate that can really connect with people.

    So far Bernie and Elizabeth have managed (I have to believe they’ve made an agreement) not to attack each other. I hope they can keep it up, and they might be able to – they seem to have fairly disparate support demographics, which is further evidence for my observation that most voters aren’t ideological. Then they might have a real chance to allow one of them to be the nominee despite the almost certain opposition of the party apparatus. Corporate Dems hate Bernie, for sure, but I suspect that if it looks like she has a chance, they’ll be almost as negative towards Warren.

    I like the advice that a number of people of a progressive bent are giving right now: it’s a fool’s game to try to handicap a race with 10 or so candidates several months before anyone votes. What we should be doing right now is looking at candidates’ positions, assessing their abilities and commitment to those positions, and choosing the candidate we’d most like to see as president. There will be lots of time to consider who has the strongest support once we actually see some votes!

  16. The above thoughtful conversation is encouraging. As for me, I will work every minute I can to support Bernie to become the nominee. And, if we have enough fearless and informed voters, a President Sanders would only have begun the fight. It would be the beginning of a uuuuge amount of perseverance and hard work by the citizens of this country or it still won’t get done. The status quo cannot be tweaked – it must be changed. With the well being of humanity as the goal.

  17. We’ve needed a visionary for the past 40 years, it’s time to finally elect one. That is all.

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