Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren was interviewed by Chris Matthews this past Thursday, and after watching that interview, one must admit this woman has the fire in her belly to really get things done. Her populist message sounds fresh, her delivery indicates persistence and she seems to have the perseverance of President Obama presented in a much less compromising and Ivy League manner.
As Hillary Clinton’s numbers slip off the pedestal, Elizabeth Warren’s numbers are sure to climb, given her obvious passion. Whether she runs for president or not no longer seems important: Her message and delivery will force Hillary Clinton and any potential Democratic primary challengers to stay with a middle-class centric message. The attempt at timid triangulation in the hopes that a perceived Republican lite tilt will bring a sect of the population tolerant of the controlling elite will be mitigated.
Chris Matthews raised many good middle-class points in his interview. He shares the frustration of every liberal: Why isn’t more being done? Why aren’t we building things? Why don’t we have the smell of pouring cement in a nation where the infrastructure is crumbling? Where is the hope for the unemployed and underemployed white guy in Scranton and the prospect of a job for that black kid wanting to work? Where is equal access to health care and education that form the platform from which upward mobility is launched? Where are research programs that ensure there is a pipeline of projects to feed an economy with ideas and prospects for progress and employment?
In the interview, Matthews acknowledged that the Democratic message is the message that speaks to all these issues and that the Democratic Party is the party with the platform from which these goals are accomplished. However, he displayed his characteristic righteous indignation against the president, Elizabeth Warren and the Democratic Party. It seemed as if he did not understand the legislative process he was a part of under Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill for many years.
"I don’t understand the union movement," Matthews said. "Why aren’t they bitching and moaning and complaining every day? We want big construction projects. And the president of the United States is not doing it. I don’t hear him talking about it. He talks about one thing one day, something the next day. But I tell you, I don’t hear you [Senator Elizabeth Warren], getting it done. The Democrats control the U.S. Senate. The Democrats control the White House. When are you going to do what you just said you would like to do?"
If that is not the most nonsensical rant from a journalist, what is? Matthews clearly angered Warren, as you can see beneath the fold.
"Stop this," Warren said to Matthews. "We just voted on this last week. You just stop and think about it. Because all the things you’ve talked about every time we get up and talk about helping education … we talk about roads and bridges … we talk about NIH research … the Republicans say the exact same thing … there is not enough money … and then they say they are going to fight to protect every tax loophole that currently exist that permits billionaires to pay at a lower tax rate than their secretaries. They fight to protect every subsidy …."
After spelling out what Matthews already knows, he replies again that the Democrats control the White House and the Senate. Warren then re-schools him on why that is not enough. What she said at the end is what is important.
"You don’t just wash your hands and say nobody is doing this," she said. "You have one side that is trying to fight for it. We’ve got to get out there and fight. And our only chance is if we can engage enough people at the grassroots level. Enough people to say, 'What do you mean, you are choosing billionaires over students? What do you mean that you are saying you are going to continue to do subsidies for big oil but there is no money for roads and bridges?' Those are the choices right now that the Republicans and the Democrats are fighting in Congress. Which way are we going to go? Look, we are fighting back. We are fighting for what we believe in. We are fighting to build a future for America. We can’t do it by ourselves. We need people across this country to help push on the Republicans."
Warren is right. Chris Matthews’ attack on Democrats for inaction is not the answer. Informing folks as to the major cause for inaction is. It is a disservice to all Americans that Matthews fails to put all the obstruction into context. Our journalists continue their willful incompetence at the expense of middle-class America.