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April 25 2017

Washington Post Reviewer Finds Senator Elizabeth Warren's New Book Out of Touch with Middle Class

by Charlotte Hays

If Senator Elizabeth Warren is positioning herself to be her party's standard bearer in 2020, she should probably do more to understand the blue collar Americans who do not set the tone in Harvard Yard but have demonstrated, to the chagrin of their betters, that they know the way to the polling booth.  

Or that is the takeaway from the Washington Post's devastating review of the senator's new book/2020 stage setter, This Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class.

The subtitle carries a certain irony, given Senator Warren's apparent distance from members of this exotic American subset.

The review is by The Atlantic's Emma Green and it depicts a Warren who is as out of touch with regular people as Hillary Clinton. As for quoting  from the review, I can do no better than to give you News Busters' Curtis Houck's review of the review (with Mr. Houck's bolding):

After a few paragraphs providing snippets of the Senator’s thinking prior to Election Day and red-meat language attacking Republicans, Green observed that “Warren has embraced a moral language Democrats often struggle with: good old-fashioned economic populism, complete with references to 'good guys' and bad guys and loads of fiery outrage.”

That being said, Green abandons any notion she’ll offer Warren warm fuzzies, excoriating her cockiness:

But Warren’s book also reveals the moral languages the senator is less able to speak. She never truly grapples with why Democrats lost, why middle-class voters would choose Trump or whether their anger might be about more than the economy. Warren sees the world through the narrow lens of economic interests, ignoring the deeply held values and beliefs that often determine people’s politics. This attitude is condescending, but more important, it limits Warren’s understanding of America — and why her party has failed so badly.

Paraphrasing Warren’s mindset, Green noted that it’s “[f]ocus on regulation and corruption, not taxing and spending...and at every possible moment, highlight the hypocrisy and corruption of the other side.” Green also observed that “Warren styles herself as a populist Cassandra who expected Trump’s victory” while offering “no praise for [Hillary Clinton’s] policies or leadership.”

Green backed things down in the middle portions of her review, but turned the heat up on Warren near the end, blowing holes in Warren’s rhetoric [emphasis mine]: 

Warren has nominated herself as the person to answer that question — perhaps as a senator, perhaps as president...Now she seems to be offering her own soft pitch: Unlike other Democrats, she understands the anger of the American people, she predicted Trump’s success, and she knows what the party should do next.

Yet the story Warren tells about the election and America’s anxieties is curiously one-dimensional. She uses standard progressive math to explain Trump voters: Some are racist bigots, some were taken in by a huckster casino owner and some are suffering from intense economic despair. One of the women she follows, Gina, lives in a mobile home in a small North Carolina town. She and her husband barely get by on her hourly wage from Walmart. “We need to tell this story!” Gina tells Warren. “But I really need this job.”

Gina, we find out at the end of the book, “proudly voted for Donald Trump, hoping he would ‘shake things up.’?” In Warren’s world, the Democratic Party would win the vote of every Gina in America by fighting for a “playing field that isn’t tilted so hard against her.” But Warren never really tells us why America’s Ginas aren’t voting for Democrats now.

Perhaps Warren’s narrow lens has something to do with it. While she mentions the problems of racism and tosses in an obligatory shout-out to Planned Parenthood, those issues are not central to her narrative of how America got the way it is and how Democrats need to fix it. She gives no credence to people’s religious convictions and moral crises. She spends no time on battles over LGBT identity or racialized policing. And she has no patience for arguments in favor of smaller government. To Warren, real political action is never local and communal, but always federal.

Green conceded that Warren offered a minuscule admission “[s]ome 200 pages in” that, in Warren’s words, “our side hadn’t closed the deal...Shame on us.” The Atlantic writer opined that this was “an admission of tactical failure, nothing more.”

So Senator Warren's fight seems, after all, to be against the same people Hillary Clinton labeled "deplorables"--which is great for blue state fundraisers but maybe not so effective when you try to get--you know--middle class people to vote for you.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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