The Candidate I’d Want To Have a Drink With

David Roberts of Vox does a great job explaining why Elizabeth Warren appeals so much to a certain kind of progressive voter. The article is called “America’s Crisis of Trust and the One Candidate Who Gets It”:

Warren shares many elements of Sanders’s populist rhetoric. She, too, is focused on how the rich and powerful have rigged the system against ordinary people. But she does not propose to blow the system up or sweep it aside. She proposes to fix it. She (legendarily) has a plan for that, a clear sense of which institutions are broken, what new institutions need to be created, and what kind of people she wants running them. As Ezra Klein documents, her entire career in politics has been focused on battling for better institutions and better personnel.

Warren’s history, experience, and ideology give her progressive populism an importantly different character from Sanders’s. [Will Wilkinson] captures it well:

Because the American republic is, in fact, in the midst of a spiraling crisis of corruption, there is more than a whiff of radicalism in a reform agenda focused on rooting out graft and restoring popular sovereignty. But Warren’s program is animated by earnest devotion to sturdy procedural ideals — fair elections, the rule of law, equitable and responsive political representation, and clean public administration — not left-wing ideology. It aims to realize a homely republican vision of America in which equal democratic citizens of every gender, color, and creed can vote their way to a system that gives everybody a fair shot at a sound education and a decent wage sufficient to raise a family in a comfortable home without becoming indentured to creditors or wrecked by the vicissitudes of capitalist dislocation.

As Warren used to say frequently, she is a “capitalist to her bones.” She believes in the generative power of markets; she just believes they need to be operated transparently and fairly, with everyone protected from immiseration and offered opportunities for full participation. She wants well-regulated capitalism with a healthy welfare state — which is how the Danes themselves think of their system.

This is why, unlike Sanders, she explicitly cites her anti-corruption reform agenda as her first and top priority if she becomes president. It’s why she, unlike Sanders, supports getting rid of the filibuster. For her, procedural reforms are not an afterthought, but a vital part of the agenda in and of themselves, because they are the only reliable way to generate the trust needed to support the rest of the agenda and progress beyond it….

Warren’s appeal to a certain sort of politically engaged Democrat is that she combines bold progressive goals with extensive experience navigating US institutions and detailed plans for bureaucratic reform. It’s the best of both worlds, ambitious and pragmatic.


There is quite a bit more to the article than I’ve quoted. The whole thing is worth reading.

Another reason for liking Warren is that she is likable (unlike You Know Who). You can see it when Stephen Colbert spends a few minutes with her at a South Carolina restaurant:

They bleeped the joke. 

In case it went by too fast, the punchline was:



“It’s fucking close to water”.

Colbert on Taking One’s Oath Seriously

Stephen Colbert is America’s most thoughtful supplier of late-night comedy. Last night, he gave a heartfelt thank you to Sen. Mitt Romney for voting to remove the “monstrous child in the White House”; excoriated Romney’s Republican colleagues for ignoring their solemn oaths to do “impartial justice”; and said some funny stuff too.

Note: The Romney family once took a trip with their dog in a crate on the roof of their car. More famously, Mr. Romney was defeated in the 2012 presidential election by Barack Obama, who Mr. Colbert definitely voted for.

Squeaky Right-Wing Wheels and the Noise They Make

Jon Stewart and his writers do a very good job making fun of right-wing fools and knaves. Stephen Colbert and his writers do an even better job. You’d think that if the people they make fun of ever saw themselves being made fun of, they’d mend their ways. But that doesn’t happen.

There is a popular left-wing website called Daily Kos that features an almost continuous stream of news and commentary, much of which calls attention to the ridiculous behavior of right-wing fools and knaves. There are many positive stories, but I often end up reading the negative ones. So I get to learn a lot about Fox News and Mitch McConnell.

The problem is that I’d rather know a lot less about Fox News, Mitch McConnell and their ilk. They are a blight on our nation. So I’ve stopped watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and I’m trying to stop looking at Daily Kos

You could argue that it’s my responsibility as an American citizen to stay informed about current events, so it would be better to pay attention to what the right-wing knaves and fools are saying. But what these people and organizations do is mainly generate noise, which distracts us from more important things.

For example, it’s more important to know that the incredibly wealthy Koch Brothers want to buy the Los Angeles Times and turn it into a right-wing propaganda machine than it is to hear the latest stupid remark from Michele Bachmann, sponsor of the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act. 

A few days ago, New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote about Rep. Bachmann’s decision not to run for re-election next year:

In honor of her departure, Michele-watchers around the country rolled out their favorite Bachmann quotes. Mine was her contention that the theory of evolution was disputed by “hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes.”

We may not see her like again. Or, if one shows up, we may decide not to pay attention.

Collins often writes entertaining but depressing columns about the latest Republican offense against justice or rationality. But wouldn’t it be better if she and we paid less attention (not no attention, but less attention) to what right-wing fools and knaves have to say?

A Scandal of Enormous Proportions — And It’s Funny, Too

Along with Paul Krugman, Stephen Colbert and his writers are among the best analysts of current affairs working today. Here, the brilliant Mr. Colbert discusses a recent discovery: the principal academic evidence for cutting government spending during a serious economic downturn is baloney, and not the nourishing kind. The Harvard professors who issued the study didn’t share their data with other economists, ignored data that didn’t fit their hypothesis and made a crucial Excel coding error.

The mind reels. And workers and families worldwide suffer.

(For some reason, I couldn’t get the video to embed, so you’ll probably have to put up with a brief commercial.)

Paul Krugman discusses the same issue with fewer laughs: