Bennett and Kessler’s argument seems to be that I, and by extension the new populist majority of the Democratic Party, am somehow particularly intolerant of certain flavors of Democrats—that we’re closing up the “big tent” and limiting the party’s national appeal. That’s pretty rich coming from a group whose raison d’etre seems to be to hammer progressive candidates and policies.By the way, my original version said that "25 of 29 board members" were Wall Street types. Politico fact-checked me and, well, I like 27 of 29 even better. I somehow missed a couple.
Indeed, it was September 2012, just months before election day, when Third Way’s Bennett claimed that Elizabeth Warren was “catastrophically antibusiness” and that her economic populism was “not a winning strategy.” It would make sense for Third Way to prefer Sen. Scott Brown over Warren, given that 27 of the organization’s 29 board members are current or former CEOs, corporate lawyers or principals at financial service institutions.But you don’t get to whine about big tents after undermining Democratic candidates in the heat of an election.
Still, let’s look at the question of whether our populist approach is compromising the party’s ability to win across the country. Bennett and Kessler lament that seven of the 10 right-wing Democrats that I celebrated for no longer being in the Senate were replaced by Republicans—but what was then a Democratic two-seat minority is now a Democratic 10-seat majority. If you’re genuinely a Democrat, you have to admit that a 55-seat caucus reinforced with strong progressive voices is objectively preferable to a 49-seat caucus packed with corporatist Democrats who voted for the disastrous Iraq war and George W. Bush’s budget-busting tax cuts. If you’re genuinely a Democrat.And so it goes, for over 1,000 words. On the plus side, for the Third Way dudes, Politico apparently couldn't find a goofy looking picture of them to illustrate the piece. So for them, at least there's that!