Thursday, September 22, 2011

Give Me That Old Time (Civic) Religion

This video of Elizabeth Warren is circulating like a breath of fresh air around the liberal blogosphere (see, e.g., here and here):

What’s so unusual about it? I submit that we’re not used to seeing an aspiring Democratic politician straightforwardly enunciate, and passionately affirm, the first principles of modern liberalism.

Tea Party Republicans will bend your ear off about their own foundational commitments. Listen to them for a minute or two and you’re bound to hear something about “liberty,” “tyranny” and “constitutional conservatism.” When liberals dismiss them as a bunch of hayseeds substituting clichés for analytical thought, conservatives stick their chests out with pride. They think their clichés encapsulate ancestral wisdom that sophisticated liberals are too clever to understand. Reciting them is an obligatory expression of civic piety. 

Warren isn’t anybody’s idea of a hayseed. Liberals have grown to love her watching her effortlessly hold her own in any wonkish assembly. Yet there she is presiding over a revival meeting attended by a bunch of Cambridge liberals who look like they're about to start speaking in tongues.  If they ever knew, they've long-since forgotten what a civic homily sounds like and how good it feels to be a member of the congregation hearing one.


Anonymous said...

Oh my. So let me get this straight, we can reduce the federal deficit by not doing what we already did. Huh??? So, by this logic, think how much money we can save by not invading Canada.

And her second point was that businesses [GE] don't pay taxes. So we should raise the corporate tax rate. That will fix them good.

I realize there may be basic liberal principles underlying these concepts. But what she is suggesting are not solutions. If voters think this is a breath of fresh air, then she will be elected. But let's see how the campaign plays out and whether she will say anything about how the next Congress is going to go about fixing problems, rather than how we got here.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain me why Warren's eloquence telling a bunch of libs (who she is probably hitting up for money)things they desperately want to hear shows that she'll be a formidable candidate before an electorate that, even in Massachusetts, is probably only 20% liberal? Making libs feel good about themselves isn't the same thing as winning an election against a popular incumbent.