NY Times pundit David Brooks is best known for anodyne columns with bewildering pro-conservative conclusions. But in yesterday’s Warren can win, Brooks provides an interesting analysis of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s chances if she were to run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016.
“[E]ven for those of us who disagree with Warren fundamentally,” Brooks claims, “it seems clear that she does have a significant and growing chance of being nominated.” Brooks rightly explains that Warren is a fighter which is exactly what Democrats want these days given our growing recognition that the game is indeed “rigged”.
Brooks does get a couple of things wrong. He writes that for many liberals today, “[t]he proper response [to the ever-widening wealth chasm] is not just policy-making; it’s indignation and combat.” In fact, Brooks distinguishes between two courses of action that cannot be separated. Because “economic and political systems are stacked against” working and middle-class Americans, only successful combat will enable them to make policies that will recapture America from Wall Street financiers and the rentier class.
Brooks gets something else wrong. He writes defensibly that the two major political parties “are organized more around what they oppose rather than what they are for.” But he extrapolates from this observation that Warren has strong appeal to liberals because in this “era of bad feelings”, she’s more anti-Wall Street and corporate power than most elected democrats.
In fact, Warren’s appeal is due to the fact that her entire political philosophy is organized around her support for working and middle-class Americans. She believes in breaking up integrated financial service firms like Citibank and J.P. Morgan like because smaller banks that compete against other provide better services to their customers and pose less risk to the economy as a whole.
She opposes the appointment of investment banker Antonio Weiss to the Treasury Department because, at Lazard, he helped corporate clients avoid paying the taxes necessary to maintain the safety net and she fears he will continue the push to reduce their tax liability at great social cost.
David Brooks gets a lot wrong but I sure hope he’s right about Elizabeth Warren’s chances in 2016.