Warren: I want to break up Big Tech so that companies can't heckle me with snotty tweets

I know that headline sounds glib, as if I’m paraphrasing her in a mocking way to distort her point. I’m not.

Believe it or not, it’s verbatim from something she said today.

Let’s back up. Her day started off with this tweet pushing Big Lie 1.0, that Stacey Abrams was somehow the rightful winner of the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election:

The unproved claim that Abrams had an election stolen from her via “voter suppression” was gross and irresponsible from the start but it’s mystifying as a strategic matter to see Democrats still pursuing it after November 3. It gains them nothing while reminding voters that lefty sore losers were screaming baselessly about cheating long before Trump was. Why would Warren want to do that and dilute the force of the Dems’ moral argument against the “stop the steal” campaign? It’s not like Abrams needs the PR. She’s already a hero to the party for having helped elect Biden, Ossoff, and Warnock in the span of two months in her home state.

Whichever dumb intern is writing Warren’s tweets outdid themselves in a subsequent exchange with Amazon, though. It started with her complaining about the company not paying its “fair share” in taxes, to which Amazon PR replied, reasonably enough, that they pay what the law requires them to pay:

That’s an unusually punchy tone for a corporate account (“If you don’t like the laws you’ve created, by all means, change them”), especially towards an influential lawmaker who is trying to change the laws to tax them more. And of course, Warren didn’t “create” the current tax code; God help us if she did. She was set up here to springboard off the exchange by explaining why Amazon’s not paying enough, how she’d change the laws to make sure they do, and how much lobbyist muscle they’re using in D.C. to keep Congress at bay.

Instead she farted this out:

Just as Warren herself didn’t write the tax code, a newish company like Amazon didn’t create corporate loopholes. They’ve each “inherited” their side of this debate.

But what’s with that last part about snotty heckling? The point she’s trying to make, I guess, is that Amazon wouldn’t dare take this kind of tone with a legislator unless it felt completely invulnerable to the consequences by dint of its financial, legal, and lobbyist power. A smaller company that felt more accountable to government would be more respectful, because it would have to be. In theory.

The way it comes off, though, is her wanting to break up Amazon because it made her feel pwn3d on Twitter. How dare it not address her lordship with due deference?

That’s an interesting tone for a populist.

Seems like a missed opportunity too, as Big Tech is now a fully bipartisan target. There are few subjects on which Elizabeth Warren will find righty audiences more receptive to her ideas than creative ways to punish companies like Amazon. (Remember that Warren is also eager to rewrite Section 230 to make online platforms police disinformation more aggressively.) She could have made an antitrust argument here, or she could have pitched Republican voters specifically on why higher corporate taxes in this particular case are a good thing.

Instead she, or her intern, reacted from the gut. The nerve of Amazon, showing the sort of insolence towards a member of the governing class that … random Americans show all the time. We’re all “powerful enough to heckle senators with snotty tweets,” aren’t we?

Ah well, she’ll have other opportunities. Her support for Amazon’s workers unionizing in Alabama is practically conservative dogma nowadays.

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