Witness the political tempest that blew up in response to the December 3 op-ed we published by Democrats Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler of the Third Way think tank. The former aides to Andrew Cuomo and Chuck Schumer, respectively, would be considered liberals in most places outside of the Harvard faculty lounge. But the campus and union left that increasingly controls the Democratic Party has launched a campaign to purge them for their deviation from progressive dogma.
Messrs. Cowan and Kessler had the temerity to suggest that the average American voter might not be as liberal as the New Yorkers who chose Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio or the Massachusetts voters who fell for Senator Elizabeth Warren. They argued that economic populism of the redistributionist kind was a political loser in most of America.
The authors were also guilty of acknowledging research from the Congressional Budget Office showing that Social Security is going broke. Progressives believe it’s high treason to admit the undeniable fact that such entitlements are paying out more in benefits than they collect in taxes. If left unchecked, such candor might motivate politicians to consider reform, and the last thing the left wants is a debate over the limits of the welfare state.
But the progressives didn’t try to rebut the op-ed’s arguments. Instead they set out to silence Third Way, intimidate Democratic politicians and donors into disavowing the group, and discredit the think tank on grounds that—gasp!—some of its supporters work at financial companies.
Senator Warren made her contribution to the new progressive orthodoxy by sending a letter to six large banks demanding that they disclose donations to think tanks. “If the information provided by think tanks is little more than another form of corporate lobbying, then policymakers and the public should be aware of the difference,” wrote the Member of the Banking Committee that oversees banks.
Ms. Warren, who was well paid as a lawyer for business clients even as she pursued her liberal political causes at Harvard, seems to think that every think tank is merely a mouthpiece for donors. Heaven forbid Messrs. Cowan and Kessler might believe what they write.
Elizabeth Warren is an unreconstructed Stalinist. Not content with committing “spiritual genocide” against Native Americans, she would line every American capitalist up against the wall and shoot them. (Without benefit of a last cigarette.)
The Democratic party’s further shift to the left is worrisome to some of the party’s more moderate members, such as Morning Joe contributor Steve Rattner. A former member of the Obama administration’s task force to address the auto-industry crisis, Rattner joined Joe Scarborough in pushing back against Howard Dean, who argued that a more left-leaning party is not a problem.
“As a centrist Democrat, I am scared about the progressive wing of my party — I’m scared,” Rattner interjected.
REP. BOB GOODLATTE (R-VA): Professor Turley, the constitution, the system of separated powers is not simply about stopping one branch of government from usurping another. It’s about protecting the liberty of Americans from the dangers of concentrated government power. How does the president’s unilateral modification of act of Congress affect both the balance of power between the political branches and the liberty interests of the American people?
JONATHAN TURLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in every single branch.
[W]e have had the radical expansion of presidential powers under both President Bush and President Obama. We have what many once called an imperial presidency model of largely unchecked authority. And with that trend we also have the continued rise of this fourth branch. We have agencies that are quite large that issue regulations.
I’ve asked this before: do you think these people are going to go quietly? That they will respect the outcomes of elections in 2014 and 2016? Increasingly, I don’t.
“You’re attributing to Obama not only good intentions but good actions around Afghanistan and Iraq. Actually he’s not acting well. He’s acting like any imperial leader would act,” Ayers told his interviewer in a new Chicago Magazine story, published online Tuesday.