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“I Can Feel Your Excitement Already”: Sorry, Liberals. Elizabeth Warren Isn’t Going To Be Hillary Clinton’s Running Mate

As speculation on whom the presidential nominees will select as their running mates gets louder, almost inevitably eyes are turning to Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Joe Biden apparently wanted her to be his vice presidential candidate if he ran for president this year. She’s gleefully turning herself into a thorn in Donald Trump’s side. And as Sam Stein and Ryan Grim report, people within Hillary Clinton’s campaign are pushing her to select Warren as her running mate.

My dear liberal friends, I can feel your excitement already. But while Warren will be a great anti-Trump surrogate for Clinton — maybe the best Clinton will have — she’s not going to be on the ticket. Sorry to deliver the bad news.

There are a few reasons for this. The first is that Clinton and Warren aren’t close or even particularly friendly, and personal rapport is a key part of an effective working relationship between the president and vice president, as Clinton surely understands. Warren would come to the office with her own agenda on economic affairs — an agenda more aggressively liberal than Clinton’s, particularly when it comes to how the government should deal with Wall Street. Warren would also bring her own constituency, which could make her an unwanted headache for Clinton, who like all presidents would want a vice president who has no goal other than advancing the president’s goals.

Second, picking Warren would make for a historic all-female ticket, and that could be a risk. To be clear, it’s ludicrous that there should be something troubling to anyone about having two women running together. After all, we’ve had over a hundred all-male tickets in our history, and only two with one man and one woman. But there could well be some number of voters — how many is difficult to tell — who would vote for Clinton with a male running mate, but would find Clinton with a female running mate just too much to handle. It’s sexist, but Clinton is going to need the votes of people who have some sexism somewhere in their hearts, just like Barack Obama needed the votes of people with some racism somewhere in their hearts.

And Hillary Clinton is nothing if not a risk-averse politician. She’s been blessed with Donald Trump as an opponent, and she isn’t going to take any big chances between now and November that might complicate things.

Third, and probably most important, right now the governor of Massachusetts is a Republican, Charlie Baker. That means that if Warren stepped down to become vice president, Baker would appoint a temporary successor for her Senate seat. In other years this might have been a relatively minor consideration, but in 2016 it’s absolutely central to the fate of Clinton’s presidency.

Right now Republicans have a 54-46 advantage in the Senate, but they’re defending many more seats up for reelection. Seats in Democratic-leaning states like Illinois, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire may well turn to the Democrats, but it’s likely to be very close. It’s entirely possible that we could have a Senate that’s 51-49 for the Democrats, or even 50-50. One vote could make the difference between Clinton getting her nominees confirmed and having some chance at legislation passing (depending on what happens with the filibuster and the House), or finding herself utterly paralyzed by Congress. Giving up a seat for the sake of a compelling running mate is an enormous risk, one Clinton would be foolish to take. Which, by the way, also rules out a number of other potential vice presidential candidates, including Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

And though Warren won’t rule out accepting a spot on the ticket if it’s offered, there are good reasons why she would view the vice presidency as a step down. It won’t be a springboard to a presidential campaign, since Warren turns 67 next month, and if Clinton were to win and then run for reelection in 2020, the next chance Warren would have would be in 2024, when she’ll be 75 and probably too old for a bid. Warren has built her career on policy entrepreneurship (the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was her idea, and she has advocated for initiatives like postal banking), but as vice president she’d have to just sell whatever President Clinton wanted to do. If she stays in the Senate, she can keep using her office as a platform to advocate on the issues that are important to her, and she can probably keep her seat for the rest of her life if she wants to.

The good news for Warren’s fans is that it looks like she’ll still have an important role to play in the general election. She has turned her Twitter feed into an unceasing string of criticisms of Donald Trump, and not too surprisingly, it has gotten under his skin (Trump obviously finds it deeply unsettling when a woman stands up to him). He has countered by dubbing her “Goofy Elizabeth Warren,” which is not exactly the most stinging moniker he has come up with.

Warren’s popularity on the left means she could play a key role in convincing Bernie Sanders’ supporters to get behind Clinton, and the plainspoken charisma that made her a star in the first place will also make her a sought-after surrogate for Clinton in the media. All of which means that once the election is over, she’ll return to the Senate in an even stronger position than she was in before. Don’t be surprised if Warren — to an even greater degree than Sanders — becomes the clear leader of the party’s liberal base as it grapples with a Democratic president with centrist impulses. That could make her even more important than if she had been vice president.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, May 13, 2016

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Election 2016, Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“When Elephants Attack”: Red On Red Violence, Like Ignorance, Is A Signifying Trait Of Wingnuttery

And now, let us have a brief moment of silence to honor the victims of red-on-red violence.

They’re fresh off their biggest electoral victory in years. But when Massachusetts Republicans got together this week for their regular state committee meeting, they dwelt on the losses of last month’s election, voting to scold former governor William F. Weld for endorsing a Democrat.

The members of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee voted 35 to 18 to condemn endorsements of Democrats by Republicans and name-checked their former standard-bearer for his violation. Weld endorsed Democrat Michael Day in the contest for a vacant House seat representing Stoneham and Winchester, narrowly edging out Republican Caroline Colarusso.

The Republicans also called out former party chairman Brian Cresta for his across-the-aisle endorsement of state Representative Theodore Speliotis, a Democrat who edged out Republican Tom Lyons.

You would figure that Republicans in the Bay State would get down on their knees every morning and thank the God they allegedly believe in for Weld, who kicked off a 16-year streak of GOP control of the State House when he defeated the late John Silber in 1990. Of course, ingratitude, like ignorance, is a signifying trait of wingnuttery.

The move comes at a time when Weld is resuming a leading role in Massachusetts. Charlie Baker, the Republican who just won the race for governor, was Weld’s political protege. He has named several fellow former Weld-era officials to his own cabinet…But to disgruntled conservatives, the former governor has betrayed them. The resolution expresses ‘deep disappointment in the poor judgment exercised by any Republican official who supported any candidate other than the Republican candidates during the past election cycle.'”

Keep in mind that the real reason the wingnuts are still angry at Weld is not because of anything he did in this election cycle; it’s because of what he did in the 2008 election cycle, when he endorsed Barack Obama instead of John McCain.

Weld’s endorsement of Mitt Romney in 2012 wasn’t enough for these cranks to set aside their hatred. At least one of the cranks admitted it:

“This guy is a traitor,” said one disgruntled Republican, John DiMascio, who faulted the party establishment for showcasing Weld, despite his support for Democrats. “You don’t turn around and take someone who endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and further make him a celebrity in the state.”

Well, there you go. How dare Weld think for himself! Doesn’t he know he’s a Republican, and therefore he’s not supposed to think at all?

The RINO-hunting will only get worse as we move into the 2016 election cycle, and with your help, we’ll be able to keep an eye on the savagery and stupidity of these scoundrels. Please make a tax-deductible donation today, so that we can continue to record the radicalism and monitor the madness.

 

By: D.R. Tucker, Political Animal, The Washington Monthly, December 14, 2014

December 15, 2014 Posted by | Massachusetts, Politics, Republicans | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Wall Street Takes Over More Statehouses”: Public Pension Wall Street Feeding Frenzy About To Get Worse

No runoff will be needed to declare one unambiguous winner in this month’s gubernatorial elections: the financial services industry. From Illinois to Massachusetts, voters effectively placed more than $100 billion worth of public pension investments under the control of executives-turned-politicians whose firms profit by managing state pension money.

The elections played out as states and cities across the country debate the merits of shifting public pension money — the retirement savings for police, firefighters, teachers and other public employees — from plain vanilla investments such as index funds into higher-risk alternatives like hedge funds and private equity funds.

Critics argue that this course has often failed to boost returns enough to compensate for taxpayer-financed fees paid to the financial services companies that manage the money. Wall Street firms and executives have poured campaign contributions into states that have embraced the strategy, eager for expanded opportunities. The election results affirmed that this money was well spent: More public pension money will now likely be entrusted to the financial services industry.

In Illinois, Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn was defeated by Republican challenger Bruce Rauner, who made his fortune as an executive at a financial firm called GTCR, which rakes in fees from pension investments. Rauner — who retains an ownership stake in at least 15 separate GTCR entities, according to his financial disclosure forms — will now be fully in charge of his state’s pension system.

In Rhode Island, venture capitalist Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, defeated Republican Allan Fung. Raimondo retains an ownership stake in a firm that manages funds from Rhode Island’s $7 billion pension system. Raimondo’s campaign received hundreds of thousands of dollars from financial industry donors. She was also aided by six-figure PAC donations from former Enron trader John Arnold, who has waged a national campaign to slash workers’ pensions.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, handily defeated his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, after raising millions of dollars from the finance industry. The New York legislature is set to send Cuomo a bill that would permit the New York state and city pension funds to move an additional $7 billion into hedge funds, private equity and other high-fee “alternative” investments. Cuomo has not taken a public position on the bill, but his party in the legislature passed it by a wide margin, and he is widely expected to sign it into law.

In Massachusetts, Republican Charlie Baker appeared early Wednesday to have secured a narrow victory over Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Baker was on the board of mutual funds managed by a financial firm that has also managed funds from Massachusetts’ $53 billion pension system. Baker is also the subject of a New Jersey investigation over his $10,000 contribution to the New Jersey State Republican Party just months before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s officials awarded his firm a state pension deal.

In all, Republicans won 18 gubernatorial races thanks, in part, to the robust fundraising of Christie’s Republican Governors Association. Some of that organization’s top donors are the financial investment firms that manage public pension systems.

Former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Edward Siedle said campaign cash from the financial industry is fundamentally shaping the debate over how to manage state pension systems.

“Why have all pension reform candidates concluded that workers’ retirement benefits must be harshly cut, but, on the other hand, fees to Wall Street be exponentially increased?” said Siedle, who has published a series of forensic reports critical of politicians shifting ever more pension money to Wall Street. “The answer, of course, is that more money than ever is being spent by billionaires to support a public pension Wall Street feeding frenzy.”

After the 2014 election, that feeding frenzy is only going to intensify.

 

By: David Sirota, Senior Writer at The International Business Times; Published in The National Memo, November 14, 2014

November 18, 2014 Posted by | Financial Industry, Public Pension System, Wall Street | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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