In her latest video, Warren eviscerates Trump, exhorts Americans to act to save their democracy and establishes herself as a potential president.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is a controversial figure. Many on Wall Street think of her as devil incarnate. If Warren had her way, the United States would be turning socialist, Americans would become godless heathens and the elderly would be marched off to “death panels” that Sarah Palin dreads.
Menacingly, Warren was a law professor at Harvard, the dreaded home of snooty Keynesian Democrats who think regulation can solve all our problems. She is a senator from Massachusetts, home to the slimy Kennedys who quaffed champagne and gulfed caviar while throttling the “great silent majority” with red tape and high taxes. Jeffrey Lord, a Ronald Reagan acolyte, has called Warren “a guileless, fevered Marxist” who reeks “of arrogance, elitism, and the socialist mindset.”
Sadly for Lord, a classic Cold War warrior, these are no longer the days of the lovely Senator Joseph McCarthy. Warren is not quite the caricature of a stereotype he makes her out to be. Unlike the Kennedys, she did not have daddy bankrolling her path to power. In fact, she is the daughter of a janitor who died young and waited tables to make ends meet. To use a classic Americano expression, Warren has led a hardscrabble life.
Furthermore, Warren voted Republican until her 40s because she “thought that those were the people who best supported markets.” She grew up in Oklahoma, a state some consider Midwestern and others consider Southern. In her social values, she is more than a touch conservative. In her 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap, Warren and her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, made the controversial argument that two-income families are less financially secure than families with a single earner. Richard Nixon would nod in his grave.
Warren only turned Democrat in 1995. Under Barack Obama, she worked on consumer protection and seemed destined for life as a policy wonk. Only when the Republicans torpedoed her regularly did Warren run for the Senate and win back Ted Kennedy’s seat that Democrats had lost to the Republicans in 2010. As senator, she has been a feisty figure. At a time when most elected representatives are rolling over and having their tummy tickled by those with cash, Warren has come out both fists swinging against the avarice, mendacity, illegality, immorality and impunity that plague big corporations and Wall Street.
In 2016, Warren skewered the CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, for his “gutless leadership” and for promoting unethical practices that hurt his consumers. Stumpf was suitably stumped like an 8-year-old in front of a formidable schoolteacher. Warren had done her homework, she knew her facts and she was magisterial in painting a masterly portrait of the sordid scam that put $200 million in Stumpf’s pocket.
Warren told Stumpf to resign and bellowed that he ought to be criminally investigated. That video on YouTube has garnered over 850,000 views. Stumpf did not survive the skewering and resigned shortly. Yet what Warren was pointing out was that leaders of banks that are too big to fail are no longer accountable for their actions. If they fail, the taxpayer bails them out. When they succeed by hook or crook, the taxpayer is worse off. It is a classic case of heads they win and tails you lose. Wall Street lives in a perfect world of socialism on the downside and capitalism on the upside.
In the previous campaign, Hillary Clinton lost because of many reasons. Unlike Warren, she had not really worked her way to the top. Besides, the Clintons were a little too cozy in bed with Wall Street in general and Goldman Sachs in particular. Under President Donald Trump, the US is now lurching wildly to the right. Trump is firing missiles, dropping “the mother of all bombs” and promising that no one will mess with America again.
100 DAYS OF TRUMP
A year before the American Declaration of Independence, Samuel Johnson remarked in London, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” In an age of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that seems to be true. Yet the tide will turn as it always does.
In Warren’s latest rather slick video on Trump’s first 100 days in office, she sets out her stall against the president and exhorts Americans to fight the good fight. She rails against the billionaires in Trump’s cabinet that put big corporations before workers, women and consumers. As per Warren, housing, banking, legal and social services are all under threat. Evoking Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama, she exhorts Americans to stand up to Trump to save their democracy.
In our tempestuous times, Warren has issued a call to arms. Currently, Democrats and moderate Republicans have lost their moorings. With his sordid past, toxic rhetoric and regressive policies, Trump is “unfit to lead” the US. The fact that he is president is a testimony to the toxic candidacy of Hillary Clinton and the damning legacy of Bill Clinton. It is telling that Warren’s video airbrushes the Clintons out of Democrat folklore.
After all, it was Bill Clinton who signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall legislation of the FDR era. This legislation curbed the banks after the Great Depression, but Clinton collaborated with Republicans to set the big banks free. After he signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, Wall Street engaged in a cornucopia of excess that ended in the financial crisis of 2007-08. Yet it was taxpayers who suffered most while senior corporate executives were rewarded for their greed, criminality and incompetence.
TIME FOR CHANGE
Over time, both Republicans and Democrats have kowtowed to the fat cats of Wall Street. Fighting elections is an expensive proposition and, in some ways, politicians are elected more by donors than voters. Senator Warren has proved to be one of the few elected leaders willing to bell the fat cats. This author disagrees with much of what Warren has to say. Coming from socialist India, the author is only too aware of the corruption, inertia and inefficiency of self-interested bureaucrats who can squeeze out the life of an economy and turn into a parasitical social class. Regulation itself can often be a terrible problem.
Yet it is time for a change. For too long, the Clintons led the Democrats, running with the hares and hunting with the hounds. It is time for Americans to find a leader with passion, conviction and authenticity. The self-made daughter of a janitor is the perfect candidate to challenge a self-proclaimed billionaire of the lucky sperm club and become the first female president of the United States of America.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
Photo Credit: AFGE