The Problem With Peace Treaties [Of the Political Kind]

It was sweet while it lasted, a lean across the Great Divide by two political opponents, namely Elizabeth Warren running for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts and Scott Brown, hoping to keep that seat planted firmly under his fanny.

The agreement was sensible after an early barrage of negative political ads. Karl Rove’s group first claimed Warren was a secret socialist, her blood line running straight to Stalin [the Matriarch of Mayhem], which evolved into an accusation that she was somehow a sympathetic friend to Wall St. financial institutions.  No doubt the banks did a double take.  Conversely, Warren’s admirers claimed that Brown was financed by those same financial institutions [which happens to be true].  He also claimed that the press was giving Elizabeth Warren a free ride, not hitting her with the really ‘hard’ questions.

Whining appears to be a Republican strategy for 2012.

Nonetheless, both parties agreed to reject the outside, 3rd party organizations funding these less than complimentary videos, ads and press releases.  But as history tells us, ceasefires and negotiations are dicey at best.  Even signed treaties can have gaping loopholes.

Such is the case in this wobbly agreement [hattip to TPM].  The Boston Globe reported earlier this week that Warren’s people were breaking the pledge by allowing an unflattering website, Rethink, to surface in an expanded form.  The site displays several of Scott Brown’s quotes.

What are these quotes?  So, glad you asked.

The first statement is: “I go to Washington representing no faction, no special interest . . . ”

The quote is from Brown’s victory speech the night he won the Massachusett’s Senate seat in 2010.  Full quote:

I go to Washington as the representative of no faction or interest, answering only to my conscience and to the people. I’ve got a lot to learn in the Senate, but I know who I am and I know who I serve. I’m Scott Brown. I’m from Wrentham. I drive a truck, and I’m nobody’s senator but yours.

The comment is dated January 19, 2010 and fits nicely into Brown’s debate performance, where he corrected a moderator, regarding the former Senate seat:

With all due respect, it’s not the Kennedys’ seat and it’s not the Democrats’ seat.  It’s the People’s Seat.

That single comment literally turned Brown and his handsome mug into household familiars.  It was a star moment.

The dirty trick is that Elizabeth Warren jumped into the 2012 race and turned things upside down.  The recent complaint, the way this rabble-rousing, pro-Warren website is smearing Scott Brown, thereby breaking the peace accord and the public’s love affair?   The website places Scott Brown’s own words against facts, then properly cites and corroborates them.

For instance, the unfortunate fact that Scott Brown has accepted $1.1 million from Wall St. contributions, ferreted out by Center for Responsive Politics.  Or that Brown used his swing vote to water down Wall St. regulations, a story reported by the Boston Globe.  Or that Forbes magazine cited Scott Brown as one of Wall St’s favorite congressmen, with the article provided for reading pleasure.

Not only that but the Rethink Brown site manages to wiggle around the deal’s agreement because it’s not paid advertising, simply a group making a rather pointed statement on its own site.


Color me suspicious when Brown claims these revelations break the spirit of the agreement, that this is just a way of peddling lies and misinformation.  Where are the lies?  What is the misinformation?

There’s a vast difference in pointing out a candidate’s contradictions to bold-face fiction and prevarication.  I would consider the latter approach the sort of thing Karl Rove’s GPS Crossroads’ group relies on consistently.

As for my suspicions?  No sooner did the Globe article come out ‘exposing’ Rethink than the Massachusetts GOP launched an anti-Warren ad [also not covered under the agreement].

Okay.  That’s true.  Warren has done very well for herself. I can’t confirm the numbers but Elizabeth Warren is certainly no longer struggling financially. The comment on the Lawrence O’Donnell show?  What sort of wealthy was she speaking of—the top 1%, the top 5, 10, 20?  We don’t know from this video because we don’t have the entire clip.   But here’s the complete quote:

You know, I’m with you on this. Either don’t own it or put it in a blind trust, you know, where someone else manages it and you literally can’t see what’s in there. I realize there are some wealthy individuals — I’m not one of them — but some wealthy individuals who have a lot of stock portfolios. But you’re exactly right. I don’t understand how people can be out there in the House, in the Senate, they get inside information and they’re making critical decisions. We need to feel like they’re making those decisions on our behalf, not as an investor who would do better if the law goes this way instead of that way. I agree.

How clever.  They chopped off the ‘qualifier.’  Warren is not a wealthy individual of the sort who has a lot of stock portfolios, which would cloud her legislative judgment.  This was a discussion about insider trading and conflict of interest.  But look how easy it is to draw an inference—Warren lied about her wealth. She’s a wealthy woman. Oooooo.

And this is a Republican attack?

In fairness to Scott Brown he has a 2-year record he needs to support—things he said, things he did.  As for Elizabeth Warren?  She too has a record in Washington where she stood for protecting consumers against unfair business practices and how she developed then midwifed a Financial Protection Bureau into being, one to protect consumers in those same deals and contracts.  She’s also said quite bluntly that the American people got a raw deal in the economic debacle of 2008.  I don’t recall her ever saying Americans shouldn’t strive for success or eschew all monetary reward.  What I remember Warren stating unequivocally is that successful individuals are obligated to pay their fair share to the system that made their success uniquely possible.  Including the 1%.  Why?  Because it’s equitable.

Mr. Brown, I have nothing against you personally.  You seem like a perfectly nice man.  But tell your ad-meisters to use the truth-o-meter next time out.

And do yourself a personal favor—stop the whining.  It’s extremely unattractive.

Elizabeth Warren: The Woman Who Would Throw Rocks

What is it about Elizabeth Warren that makes Republicans foam at the mouth and turn apoplectic?  Surely her tenure as a presidential adviser and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau brought her into direct fire and criticism for anyone singing the corporate/banker tune.  Though the Bureau was presumably a joint venture with Treasury, it soon became apparent that Timothy Geithner was a less than enthusiastic partner in Warren’s brainchild, an agency to protect consumer interests from confusing, often unfair financial contracts.

To many in the public, Elizabeth Warren was and has been a vocal advocate of the 99% before the 99ers were a twinkle in anyone’s eye.  She had famously said she would fight for the Bureau’s legitimacy and was willing to leave “blood and teeth on the floor” to make that happen.  That attitude and her frank support for middle-class, every-day concerns made her wildly popular in the public arena.

Well, that was then and this is now.  Warren would not receive a permanent position to head the Bureau she created and breathed into life.  That would have entailed a fight from this Administration, something for which President Obama has shown little talent or willingness.

Instead, as we all know Elizabeth Warren is running for the US Senate in Massachusetts, the seat held by Ted Kennedy for nearly 47 years, now occupied by Scott Brown, who was swept into office primarily over Obama’s botched healthcare plan.

I suspect that the GOP’s real problem with Ms.  Warren is she did not go quietly into that good night, otherwise known as:  back off and shut up.  Not only is she running for the Senate but she’s giving talking tours, explaining the current financial crisis and serving up some very inconvenient truths about what Bush’s eight-year stint of failed economic policy actually did to the country.  Remember?  Cut taxes; run two, hideously expensive, unfunded wars; and create a Medicare drug program out of thin air and magic money.

Ms. Warren’s unforgiveable sin is simply this:. Tell the truth.  Not only that, but then suggest the rich have an obligation to pay their fair share, to give back to the society that made their success possible. Known as pay it forward.  And if you’re going to go to Hell, why not go out in true glory?   Warren went on to suggest that no one who has become rich did it all on their own.  Her statements went viral.

Republican and Libertarian heads exploded in short order. Blasphemy must be punished, they screamed. Bring the woman to heel.

The new Republican assault is as predictable as it is laughable.  Elizabeth Warren is now charged with a ‘collectivist agenda.’  She is an enemy of free enterprise, a threat to capitalism [which needs redefining because as I recall Banana Republic economies are hardly free, nor dedicated to capitalism].  And so we come to the rather pathetic campaign ad that declares Ms. Warren is calling for violence, the overthrow of the State itself.

She is the Woman Who Would Throw Rocks.

Personally?  I hope her aim is deadly.