By Mark Wachtler
December 14, 2014. Burlington, VT. (ONN) One of, if not thee, largest and most active grassroots progressive organizations in America just held a straw poll to measure their members’ support level for Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren - the top two Democratic Party prospects for President. The results of the internal poll suggest Warren would humiliate Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Primary, with 4 of 5 progressives supporting the Massachusetts Senator over the former Secretary of State.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks Friday on the floor of the US Senate. Image courtesy of C-SPAN2.
The Goldman Girl vs. the Sheriff of Wall Street
To listen to America’s state-sponsored corporate press, Hillary Clinton will be the next Democratic Party nominee for President and she will also be the next President of the United States. It’s a done deal. Nobody can beat her. Sound familiar? That’s because that’s exactly the same propaganda Wall Street news outlets saturated America with in 2007 and 2008. It wasn’t true then, and apparently, it’s even less true now.
After a dossier of emails from progressive leaders were leaked two months ago showing the left’s universal contempt for Hillary Clinton, and their unbridled love for Senator Elizabeth Warren, a straw poll from one of the nation’s largest liberal organization gives the whispers and rumors credibility. The results of the MoveOn.org members poll this week showed Warren beating Clinton with an overwhelming 81.3% of the vote. Read ‘Leaked Emails show Dem Base dislikes Hillary Clinton’ for details on the leaked emails.
MoveOn.org chooses Warren over Clinton
‘The results are in - and MoveOn members overwhelmingly agree that it’s time to encourage Senator Elizabeth Warren to enter the race for President,’ MoveOn.org said in a public statement four days ago, ‘With 81.3% of all votes cast in favor of this effort, we are hitting the launch button on MoveOn’s Run Warren Run campaign today!’ The campaign features a website at RunWarrenRun.org.
With 8 million members, many veterans of the Obama coup over Clinton in 2008, the organization’s opinion is very important in the eyes of many progressive voters. The group has experience, money and millions of passionate precinct-level campaign workers. The fact that the results of their Clinton-Warren straw poll were so one-sided in favor of the Massachusetts Senator will undoubtedly reshape the Democratic Party landscape.
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MoveOn’s Wednesday announcement went on to say, ‘Elizabeth Warren is a fighter for working people and a champion for the middle class. And at this time of historic inequality, we need her to run for President. We’ve heard from tons of MoveOn members who want to see Sen. Warren in the race for President.’ The announcement concludes, ‘Since announcing our member vote earlier this week, the media’s flooded this campaign with attention…It’s not every day that we have a chance to change history - but this is such a moment.’
The organization went on to publish an Open Letter to Elizabeth Warren, urging her to run for President and pledging to carry her all the way to the White House. ‘Senator Warren, we’re making it clear: If you run for President, we’ll be right there with you, helping forge a path from the Iowa Caucuses all the way to the White House. We’ve got your back.’
The Open Letter from MoveOn.org continued, ‘That’s because you’ve had our backs. You’ve stood up for us - America’s students, mothers, retirees, teachers, minimum wage workers - instead of for the big banks and corporations. You’ve inspired us by your tireless, boundless advocacy for progressive causes, working each day to make America the best-possible place to live, work, and raise a family.’
Progressive revolt at the DNC
Democrats like to talk about the internal civil war within the Republican Party pitting grassroots conservatives against Wall Street billionaires. But the Democratic Party now officially has its own civil war. On the same day MoveOn.org announced its overwhelming support for Elizabeth Warren over Hillary Clinton, the progressive organization Democracy for America also joined the effort to draft the Massachusetts Senator to run for President.
The one-million-strong organization founded by former DNC Chair and Presidential frontrunner Howard Dean is also staging a political revolt. The group’s founder immediately dismissed the effort to draft Elizabeth Warren and reiterated his unconditional support for the Hillary for President campaign. As detailed by ABC News and Yahoo News, Howard Dean quickly tried to undo the damage his organization did to his patron when it publicly joined MoveOn.org in the Warren camp.
“Hillary Clinton is by far the most qualified person in the United States to serve as president,” Dean’s public statement insisted, “If she runs, I will support her…We need a mature, seasoned, thoughtful leader at a time when maturity and thoughtfulness are increasingly rare commodities in Washington, DC. If I have the opportunity, I will cast my vote for Hillary Clinton for President.”
Democracy for America joins Warren team
Howard Dean’s former organization, Democracy for America, apparently held its own internal members poll and saw similar results as MoveOn.org. As reported in the above ABC News report, DFA’s Executive Director Charles Chamberlain tried to explain the organization’s apparent coup, “We've said from the very beginning of our discussions of 2016 that one of DFA's top priorities will be ensuring that the battle for the Democratic nomination is a contest, not a coronation.” Chamberlain added, “Senator Warren's record of standing up to Wall Street and the big banks in the fight against income inequality is inspiring Americans and progressive activists nationwide.”
In an obvious effort to keep Clinton followers from feeling angry and betrayed, the DFA Director said Hillary, “would make a fantastic President and, should she win the nomination, DFA members will work non-stop to help her make history by becoming our nation's first woman president.” But the organization is still endorsing Elizabeth Warren and urging her to run against Clinton.
Warren takes on both Parties
When Congress convened this week to pass an emergency spending Bill to avoid another government shutdown, President Obama and leaders of both Parties thought they had an easy task. But that was before Senator Elizabeth Warren took to the floor of the US Senate and gave what some are calling a historic speech, even comparing it to Barack Obama’s 2004 Democratic Convention speech.
Warren stood nearly alone on the Senate floor Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, taking on the most powerful people in the world to stop the passage of the federal government’s emergency spending Bill. Fortunately, CSPAN cameras caught the entire battle, with the Massachusetts Senator passionately warning America that the $1.1 trillion appropriations Bill was a gift to Wall Street and a betrayal of the American people by both Republicans and Democrats.
Meant only to temporarily fund the federal government, the law would actually repeal parts of Dodd-Frank, leaving taxpayers on the hook once again to bail out global banks after they gamble and lose on confusing and high-risk derivatives, just as Americans had to do in 2008 and continuing through to today. The just-passed law also puts the American people on the hook to reimburse multinational insurance corporations should they suffer financial losses due to any terrorist-related incident.
Possibly the most outrageous part of the emergency spending Bill was a section that raised the limit on the amount of money special interests can donate to the Democratic and Republican Parties. Right now, the amount is capped at $32,400 per individual. The Bill Elizabeth Warren fought to stop on the floor of the US Senate this week would raise that limit to $324,000 per year - ten times the current amount. It also adds loopholes where donors can donate to multiple Party committees and in effect, contribute as much as $1.3 million to the two establishment Parties each year.
With those provisions added to the Bill and suddenly exposed by Warren, the battle lines were drawn. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) showed her political skills and was the only one of the two Parties’ Congressional leaders to switch sides and join Senator Warren against the establishment leaders forcefully pushing the pork-riddled spending Bill, including President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). In the end, the grassroots coalition of progressive Democrats and Tea Party Republicans stopped the Bill’s passage in the Senate temporarily. But the $1.1 trillion spending Bill finally passed late yesterday.
Elizabeth Warren’s historic Senate speech
When Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren took to the Senate floor Friday to urge her fellow Senators to vote against the Wall Street-backed Bill, she rekindled memories of the days in 2008 and 2009 that led millions of Americans to passionately jump on the Warren bandwagon. There she stood, virtually alone, fighting a vicious battle against the most powerful and corrupt institutions on Earth.
They call Warren the Sheriff of Wall Street because she all but single-handedly ended ‘too big to fail’ and the US taxpayer bailouts of criminally convicted multi-national banks. Sadly, she and the American people lost that fight Friday when the emergency spending Bill, including guaranteed taxpayer bailouts and a ten-fold increase in political donation limits, was finally passed by both houses. But not before Elizabeth Warren took to the Senate floor and gave a speech that will be quoted for a long time to come.
Excerpts from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Senate speech this week:
“I’m back on the floor to talk about a dangerous provision that was slipped into a must-pass spending Bill at the last minute, solely to benefit Wall Street. This provision would repeal a rule called, and I’m going to quote the title of the rule, Prohibition Against Federal Government Bailouts Of SWAPs Entities.
On Wednesday, I came to the floor to talk to Democrats, asking them to strip this provision out of the omnibus Bill and protect taxpayers. On Thursday, I came to the floor to talk to Republicans. Republicans say they don’t like bailouts either. So, I asked them to vote the way they talk. If they don’t like bailouts, then they can take out this provision that puts taxpayers right back on the hook for bailing out big banks. Today I’m coming to the floor, not to talk about Democrats or Republicans, but to talk about a third group that also wields tremendous power in Washington - Citigroup.
Mr. President, in recent years, many Wall Street institutions have exerted extraordinary influence in Washington’s corridors of power. Citigroup has risen above the others. Its grip over economic policy-making in the Executive Branch is unprecedented. Consider just a few examples. Three of the last four Treasury Secretaries under Democratic Presidents have had close Citigroup ties. The fourth was offered the CEO position at Citigroup, but turned it down.
The Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve system is a Citigroup alum. The Under Secretary for International Affairs at Treasury is a Citigroup alum. The US Trade Representative, and the person nominated to be his Deputy, who is currently an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, are Citigroup alums. A recent Chairman of the National Economic Council at the White House was a Citigroup alum. Another recent Chairman of the Office of Management and Budget went to Citigroup immediately after leaving the White House. And another recent Chairman of the Office of Management and Budget is also a Citi alum. But I’m double-counting here, because he’s now the Secretary of the Treasury.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren concluded her nationally televised Senate speech saying:
“Now, we’re watching as Congress passes yet another provision that was written by lobbyists for the biggest recipient of bailout money in the history of this country. And it’s attached to a Bill that needs to pass or else the entire federal government will grind to a halt. Think about that kind of power. If a financial institution has become so big, and so powerful, that it can hold the entire country hostage, that alone is reason enough to break them up. Enough is enough.
Enough is enough with Wall Street insiders getting key position after key position, and the kind of cronyism that we have seen in the Executive Branch. Enough is enough with Citigroup passing eleventh hour deregulatory provisions that nobody takes ownership over, but everybody will come to regret. Enough is enough.
Washington already works really well for the billionaires and the big corporations and the lawyers and the lobbyists. But what about the families who lost their homes or their jobs or their retirement savings the last time Citi bet big on derivatives and lost? What about the families who are living paycheck to paycheck and saw their tax dollars go to bailout Citi just six years ago? We were sent here to fight for those families. It’s time. It is past time, for Washington to stop working for them. Thank you Mr. President. I yield my time.”
Readers get the gist of Warren’s entire ten-minute speech and why many consider it historic. Most people know that it’s taboo to single out corrupt corporations or elected officials for criticism and condemnation. But apparently not Elizabeth Warren. And that’s why she continues to trounce Hillary Clinton in polls among Democratic voters. That’s also why the campaign to draft Warren to run for President has spread from Democrats to independents and even to a few Republicans.