Third Way says the “final moment” that really made them lose their minds about Elizabeth Warren was when she signed on to the idea of expanding Social Security. Expanding Social Security is one of the key progressive issues of our time, since the personal savings and company pension legs have gradually been sawed off the 3-legged retirement stool over the past three decades. But for the investment bankers who rule Third Way’s world, the whole concept of Social Security drives them bonkers because it pays people not to work.
The Pete Peterson complex of think tanks and astroturf pressure groups like the Concord Coalition and Fix the Debt, and related enterprises like Third Way, aren’t really so concerned about closing the deficit as they are about closing the deficit by cutting Social Security and public insurance benefits, which is why it was so disturbing that Allyson Schwartz trumpeted Concord’s praise for her Social Security-cutting vote on her House page.
But now it looks like Third Way’s strategy of trashing progressive heroes in bizarre content-free editorials has massively backfired on them, as Congresswoman Schwartz has now signed onto a bill expanding Social Security – their least favorite position – after taking crap from our blog, PCCC, and others over the past day.
She still isn’t resigning her token post at Third Way, because this is a Sister Souljah Moment where she has to look tuff and stand up to the hippies, but all the pressure has succeeded in changing her positions, and that’s awesome. That’s exactly what I want to happen. I’ve been pretty hard on Schwartz here since she’s the front runner and I disagree with her about some things, but I fundamentally like her and would be happy if she became our nominee. I am not yet persuaded that she is the most electable candidate of the bunch, but I would trade some electability for some extra progressive positions, and that’s where this Schwartz campaign needs to go.
Even if Congresswoman Schwartz doesn’t appreciate all this, the fact is that she needs somebody to give her the political space to migrate to the positions that Democratic primary voters want her to have.
My main piece of advice to other activists out there is to keep the criticism issue-focused, and keep the costs very low for politicians to come around to your views on things. There are no “told you so’s” in politics. Congresswoman Schwartz is taking the positions we want, and she deserves praise and support for that. Go comment on some blogs about it. Write a Letter to the Editor of the local paper. Let her know you are happy that she is doing the right thing, and maybe she’ll do it more often.