Skip to main content

Jeffrey Toobin has a profile of Elizabeth Warren in the current New Yorker magazine, dated September 17, 2012.  The first two paragraphs set the scene: It's last summer and a house party is overflowing as Elizabeth Warren tests support for her run against Scott Brown for United States Senator from Massachusetts.  

Toobin's third paragraph brought me up short:

At one point, someone asked Warren if she was engaging in class warfare.  "No," she said. "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you.  But I want to be clear.  You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.  You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate."  For decades, American politicians, including many Democrats, had celebrated private enterprise and offered only tepid, almost apologetic endorsements of public goods.  Here, in contrast, was Warren's rousing defense of the welfare state.
Really?  Public streets and roads?  Public schools?  That's what we mean now by the welfare state?  

If you have the means, please contribute to Elizabeth Warren's campaign.  The alternative vision of the future is too much like a very grim page in a Charles Dickens' novel.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I recently watched (14+ / 0-)

    an Andy Griffith Show rerun in which Andy goes through the Preamble to the Constitution (for comical reasons, but it's the real preamble) and to promote the general welfare is right there in it, among other clauses.

    How is it that building/maintaining roads, bridges, sewer pipes, water mains, etc. etc. is no longer "promoting the general welfare" but is now, per se, welfare?

    Do our current politicos not understand the difference?  Or are they as disingenuous as I believe they must be?

    Or are they simply stupid?

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 11:17:53 PM PDT

    •  Youffrita - Promote the general welfare (8+ / 0-)

      Has been a very controversial clause since it was written. For the first 140 years it was viewed by the SCOTUS and most others as a "do no harm" clause. It has really only been since FDR that it has been thought to be a clause that would enable the federal government to provide broader social services.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 11:27:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your posts make me sad. (5+ / 0-)

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 11:29:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  elwoir - sorry about that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AuroraDawn, auapplemac, Smoh

          it's certainly not my intent. My comment on the General Welfare Clause was factual and benign. I didn't even transition into the conflict with the Commerce Clause.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 12:04:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's elwior, and I mean generally speaking. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue denim

            "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

            by elwior on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 12:12:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry about the typo - it's very late (4+ / 0-)

              but that's not a good excuse.

              Why do my comments make you sad? While they may often be a different perspective than most of the other bloggers here they aren't intended to make anyone sad, but rather to offer a different perspective. My life experiences are very different from most of the other people here and I think at times I can bring an insight that can add another dimension to the discussion of some topics. My hope is that you will feel more informed, or even challenged, but not sad. In particular I try to comment when I read things that are factually wrong so that here at DKOS we don't become an echo chamber of misinformation, something too common on the Internet.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 12:35:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis? (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        auapplemac, elwior, ichibon, Smoh, flowerfarmer

        The point of my diary is that Toobin conflates "welfare state" with schools and roads.

        Schools:

        Free public schools for all started being established after the revolution, and expanded in the 19th century, as the results of efforts of men like Horace Mann and Booker T. Washington. By 1870, all states had free elementary schools, albeit only in urban centers. As the 20th century drew nearer, states started passing laws to make schooling compulsory, and by 1910, 72 percent of children attended school.
        Street and roads are even more basic to human settlements.  But take post roads:
        In the United States, colonial post roads developed as the primary method of transporting information across the original thirteen colonies.
        •  blue denim - I agree with your diary (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue denim

          The notion that public schools, roads, and other infrastructure are in any way a part of the "welfare state" is complete nonsense. I was just responding to the comment by Youffrita, which I thought was actually not on the point you were making.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 07:17:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  What Elizabeth Warren was talking about (13+ / 0-)

    is the very system which built and sustained the world's most powerful economy.
       What she advocates for is the means to return to that logical and effective path.

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 11:28:27 PM PDT

    •  While I hate the word "infrastructure," the sum of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue denim, elwior, ichibon, Smoh

      its parts is what counts. There are many 3rd world countries today that are 3rd world because they have no reliable roads, communications, electricity, water, etc.

      It does take the state and taxes to provide these so that factories and business can flourish.

      Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive. And... It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by auapplemac on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 01:25:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, the stated purpose of the state is (6+ / 0-)

    to provide for the general welfare. The word has been turned into a dysphemism by people who aren't competent to do anything much for themselves and certainly can't provide for anyone else.
    Why we let such people hire themselves out as public servants is a puzzlement. Perhaps it's just a matter of buying into their lies.
    As regards Scott Brown it is perhaps worth making an issue out of the fact that he used to get money by selling insurance. Not only is there an inverse relationship between insurance and good government, but insurance is what funnels money into banks. So, it is to be expected that Brown is sympathetic to Wall Street. But I don't think those associations were fully explored during the first hiring process. Scott's good looks, modest roots and attractive female companions were the criteria on which he was judged -- i.e superficials and "personality."

    Personal responsibility = personality

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Sep 14, 2012 at 11:33:03 PM PDT

    •  Could he have sold insurance without an electric (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue denim, elwior, ichibon

      grid and roads to drive on?

      If he sold life or health insurance, how could he sell it to a public that did not have a clean water and a protected food supply?

      If he sold business insurance, how would businesses have been started without the infrastructure to support them.

      Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive. And... It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by auapplemac on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 01:31:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well,it is possible to sell insurance (0+ / 0-)

        by walking door to door. I am not saying that is what Brown did. However, that is how burial insurance is sold by salesmen making the rounds and collecting the premiums weekly. It was obviously a profitable enterprise, or they wouldn't have done it

        We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 03:34:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Very good catch (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue denim, elwior, ChicDemago, ichibon, Smoh

    When you buy into the other side's framing and vocabulary, you've conceded half the playing field from the git.  Whether from complicity or laziness or high suggestibility, our media dutifully takes its cues from the RW talking points memo du jour, over and over again.

    To some extent, it's good to reclaim the language.  Like owning "obamacare" and "liberal" proudly.  But "welfare state" is a pejorative, no two ways about it.

    Perhaps we can start a campaign to correct references to "welfare state" to "general welfare state" or "state that promotes the common good."

  •  So, now we're Commies just for... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue denim, elwior, ichibon, Smoh, flowerfarmer

    expecting public roads and a public school system.

    Wow. Welcome back to the Gilded Age.

    I guess it shouldn't surprise us given that some on the right would like to return to the good old days, when we had private fire departments, and just let uninsured houses burn.

    You can tell Romney’s depressed. Last night he just sat on his couch and bought the Häagen-Dazs corporation ~ Jimmy Fallon

    by AuroraDawn on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 01:16:06 AM PDT

    •  Even in the Gilded Age they had public schools and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue denim, elwior

      roads! Only problem was that many families needed their kids to work in order to survive so the kids couldn't go to school.

      Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive. And... It’s the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by auapplemac on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 01:34:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, no, at the beginning... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbird, elwior, sidnora

        of the Gilden Age (began in the 1860s ended in the 1890s) not every state did have public schools. It wasn't until a decade later, in the 1870s, that all states began to provide public  education, but even then, some states only offered public Elementary School - nothing beyond that. Access to a good public education often depended - as it does now - upon where one lived in the US.

        After the Revolution, an emphasis was put on education, especially in the northern states, which rapidly established public schools. By the year 1870, all states had free elementary schools.[34] The US population had one of the highest literacy rates at the time. Private academies flourished in the towns across the country, but rural areas (where most people lived) had few schools before the 1880s.
        As for public roads, there were many towns throughout this country that had only unpaved dirt roads during the mid-to-late 19th century. In fact, many rural towns had only dirt roads well into the first three or four decades of the 20th Century!

        You can tell Romney’s depressed. Last night he just sat on his couch and bought the Häagen-Dazs corporation ~ Jimmy Fallon

        by AuroraDawn on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 01:55:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  in the early 30's, my grandfather was (4+ / 0-)

          city engineer of a small town, that had recently "courted" and won a neighboring junior college. his name is on a town map, identifying which roads were paved. a lot still weren't.

          and while standing at the sink tonight, i asked JFK if he would modify his directive, to more clearly reflect reality: ASK what your country should be doing for you, AND ask what you should be doing FOR your country.

          in having done family research leading me to the colonists who over-wintered in Cape Cod bay, but, sadly, including none who were any of the ones here long before them, who also had families, communities, crops, beliefs, games, toys, art, pets, governments... i have what i feel is a very intimate feeling for the details of who i am and who has preceded me and how they interacted. there has been a great deal of general welfare.

          it would seem to be impossible to evolve without it being a prime motivator, and in one way or another, was the catalyst for jumping into a great unknown, with so little, leaving behind so much.

          in other words, we each must agree to have one another's back, or to failure--because no one can be an island.

          * Join: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

          by greenbird on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 02:21:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site