Circular Firing Squad Report

Oh, those Dems. You’d think they’d be feeling pretty good, but no.

It’s more than a year before the first primaries, and the fratricide has already started. Actually, the opening gun was more like sororicide, which the dictionary defines as the act of killing one’s sister.

Sister Nancy Pelosi beat back the naysayers handily, and more power to her. But in the next ring of the circus, we have nasty infighting between the party’s center and left about whether Beto is progressive enough for the current party, or just charismatic as hell.

In The Washington Post, columnist Elizabeth Bruenig weighed in with a fairly gentle critique, suggesting that the party’s Texan wunderkind wasn’t all that progressive.

“For some well-positioned Democrats, O’Rourke,” she opined, “is already heir apparent to Barack Obama’s empty throne.” This enraged Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, and keeper of the Clinton-Obama flame. “Bruenig’s piece in the Post on Beto is just the latest attack by a supporter of Senator Sanders on Beto,” she tweeted, “joining Jilani, Jacobin, and Sirota. Feels a bit orchestrated and clearly they are worried”.

Sisters, please!

The corporate wing of the party has been bereft of likely candidates, and Beto might fill the bill. Politico, if you believe them, ran a piece a few days ago (based on very thin sourcing) claiming that big money men are already slavering over Beto.

But in fairness, the man is a work in progress, and he’s barely caught his breath from the campaign. He might turn out to be another Clinton; or he might be in the process of becoming more of a progressive. The infighting is at best premature. Both sides should take a time-out.

And then in another part of the galaxy, we have the great Cherokee DNA pile-on. Based on a bit of poor tactical judgment on Elizabeth Warren’s part, the pundits at The New York Times and The Boston Globe, citing a bevy of politically correct infighters, are already counting Warren out.

The Times piece, by Astead W. Herndon, was one of the shabbiest pieces of selective reporting aimed at confirming the writer’s own biases that I’ve seen in the Times in a very long time. (Do they still have editors?)

My bet is that Warren is a skilled enough leader to mend fences with Native Americans whom she might have inadvertently offended. But that discounts the potentially lethal feeding-frenzy/echo-chamber effect. (Whack her while she’s down.)

Warren and O’Rourke are two of the most gifted Democratic leaders to come along in many a day. Can’t we savor the midterms and Trump’s miseries for a little while, before the usual Demo demolition derby?

By |2018-12-07T16:42:21+00:00December 7th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

About the Author:

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect as well as a Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week, and continues to write columns in the Boston Globe. He co-founded the Economic Policy Institute in Washington and serves on its executive committee.

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