Leaders of the center-left “Third Way” think tank put out an op-ed this week that threatens to turn into a full-blown Democratic Party war. Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler warned their fellow Democrats that the hard-left style of new electeds like Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio has no sustainable future. The lefty blogger community has turned on the centrist Democrats and is pushing elected Dems to disavow the sensible advice.
Joan Walsh – yeah, I know – writes that “Elizabeth Warren is a great tonic for the Democratic Party” and that the push to increase spending rather than responsibly reform Social Security is going to be a huge winner.
Actual elected Democrats have been pressed by the Salon/Kos crowd to denounce Third Way. Those results are mixed. People like Rep. Joe Crowly (N.Y.) and Allyson Schwartz (Pa.) are “co-chairs” of Third Way and don’t want to give up the prestige of those positions.
Rep. Joe Crowley, a New York Democrat who is an honorary co-chair of Third Way, told BuzzFeed that he did not agree with Third Way on all issues, especially on Social Security, but he would “continue to work with them.”
“I think the Third Way has done a lot to contribute to the debate and change in the future, and this is an area where we disagree,” he said. “I don’t agree with their position as it pertains to Social Security and income disparity but there are other issues that I do agree with them and I’ll continue to work with them. I don’t write their editorials, I agree with them sometimes, I don’t agree with them all the time. In this particular instance I don’t agree with them.”
Another co-chair, Rep. Jim Clyburn, said he had not read the piece and did not want to comment yet.
Progressives are not pleased with the effort from Third Way, however.
“The Third Way was out of line,” Rep. Keith Ellison, chair of the progressive caucus, said Thursday. “It was really ugly. They are dead wrong.”
Overreaching on ideologues is a pretty common feature of parties that hold solid national majorities for a long period of time. The Democrats have had that. The elevation of Elizabeth Warren into the progressive consciousness in the short period that she’s held office is a reaction of the far-left progressives’ view that Obama has been too much of a centrist. (See The Nation’s push for single-payer.)
Hey, if that’s the strategy that Democrats want to take – we can spend more on everything, financed solely by taxes on “the rich” – more power to them! They’ll over-promise and under-deliver, and we all know what happense when the Democrats do that.