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Nov 14 2013

Clinton vs Warren in 2016?

There has been a lot of speculation recently about a possible Elizabeth Warren candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, challenging Hillary Clinton, who has been the presumptive nominee for many years now. I don’t think that’s likely to happen, but it does bring up some interesting issues. Like this:

“A Warren candidacy would bring a fresh level of scrutiny to both Hillary and Bill Clinton’s relationships with Wall Street, and they will have to deal with that,” said a progressive Democrat sympathetic to Warren, and who declined to be identified by name for fear of angering the powerful Clintons. “There is a clear tension between what the Clintons say and what lines their pockets. They have become fabulously, unimaginably wealthy,” in part through speeches to banking groups.

There’s a lot of history there that tends to be forgotten by Democratic partisans. Bill Clinton may have been more strongly pro-Wall Street than George W. Bush. It was Clinton who signed (and advocated) the law repealing Glass-Steagal and largely deregulated the financial sector. It was Clinton who signed (and advocated) GATT and NAFTA, something wanted badly by big business and loathed by labor unions, long a staple part of the Democratic coalition. It was Clinton who fired Brooksley Born, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), when she dared to suggest that her agency should regulate the derivatives market that later caused the banking system to come to the brink of collapse. And it was Clinton who signed a law forbidding any such regulation literally weeks before leaving office.

But a Warren candidacy would likely only cement the cozy relationship that both Bill and Hillary have long had with Wall Street, driving even more money to Clinton to prevent Warren from mounting a serious challenge to her candidacy. And the reality in today’s political system with the requirement of raising massive amounts of money to win an election, a Warren candidacy is probably a losing battle in a general election for the same reason — Wall Street would spend massive amounts of money to keep her out of office.

The Clintons have always been steely-eyed realists politically. It would be really nice to see a serious challenge to their pro-Wall Street policies, but the reality is that it might actually help the Republicans.

22 comments

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  1. 1
    changerofbits

    Isn’t a bit sexist to lay Bill’s political record directly upon Hillary’s shoulders? Of course, it’s not like Hillary (or Obama or any other moderate democrat) has been really stood up to wall street.

    That said, this is a better critic than the generic “Hillary wants to be president too much, she thinks she’s owed the presidency” I hear from some liberals.

  2. 2
    colnago80

    The problem that Warren faces, if she has some ambition to run for president, is that she will be 67 in 2016. Based on age, that’s probably her only bite at the apple as she would be 71 in 2016 and 75 in 2020. In contrast, someone like Kirsten Gillibrand, who would be 49 in 2016, could afford to wait until 2020 or even 2024 or 2028.

  3. 3
    doublereed

    I don’t really get the impression either want to be president. Hillary just spent four extremely powerful years as Secretary of State, probably the best Secretary of State we’ve ever had. And then she stopped. Is it that ridiculous that she’s tired of all of it? Just look at the sheer amount of traveling she did in those four years. Do politicians ever get tired?

    Elizabeth Warren is kicking a ton of ass in the Senate. Quite frankly, she might be able to enact a lot more change where she is, rather than the presidency.

  4. 4
    doublereed

    That said, it’s still 2013. Can we please not talk about 2016 for at least two years? Pleeeease?

  5. 5
    colnago80

    Re doublereed @ #4

    Hey, what else does the Beltway chattering class have to talk about?

  6. 6
    Artor

    If Warren were to run, which I also don’t think is likely, I’d vote for her in a heartbeat. It would require hot pincers and wild horses to get me to vote for Clinton.

  7. 7
    Gregory in Seattle

    Warren. Next question.

  8. 8
    trucreep

    @2 colnago80

    Looks like you mixed up the numbers there a little. She’ll be 67 in 2016, 71 in 2020. Your point still stands obviously, just looks like you had a typo :]

  9. 9
    Félix Desrochers-Guérin

    One good thing that can be said about a possible Warren candidacy is that even if she doesn’t win, she will force into the campaign issues that powerful interests would rather not talk about at all. “Serious financial reform” falls quite a bit short of “President Elisabeth Warren” in the banker’s list of scariest three word phrases, but it’s scary enough.

  10. 10
    khms

    How about this: get yourself a big piece of paper (or a notebook, or a text file, or whatever). Every time you hear something substantive about a politician of the party you prefer, you note his or her name with a + if you think that’s something you’d like to hear about your future president, or a – otherwise. Once election time draws near, you count your entries and see what your order of preference for presidents turns out to be.

  11. 11
    colnago80

    Re trucreep @ #8

    Yeah, I meant 71 in 2020 and 75 in 2024.

  12. 12
    Nick Gotts

    Anyone who thinks Elizabeth Warren is a progressive should take a look at her foreign policy positions.

  13. 13
    colnago80

    Re Nick Gotts @ #12

    Ah gee, the author of the article on the attached link cites Max Blumenthal as his go to guy on Israel. That’s a little like making the Ayatollah Khamenei the go to guy on Israel. But of course, that’s par for the course for the limey whose disdain for the State of Israel matches the disdain of Don Black over at Stormfront.

  14. 14
    tacitus

    Warren is not a natural politician, and she wasn’t easy to persuade to run for Senate. She might make an excellent President, but she’s not going to put herself through the year long double campaign that she would need to get her there.

  15. 15
    dogmeat

    It was Clinton who signed (and advocated) the law repealing Glass-Steagal and largely deregulated the financial sector.

    Ed,

    I would argue that it is rather more complicated than you present. In ’98 Clinton vetoed a previous attempt to deregulate the financial market. In May of ’99 he threatened to do the same. At the same time members of his administration supported and advocated an improvement of consumer protections that ultimately became part of GLB. By the time it returned to Clinton it had veto-proof majorities in both houses.

    The impact of GLB has been used by both sides to point the finger of blame at their opponents, but again the actual impact is more complicated than that. On the conservative side the claim is that sub-prime mortgages were the result of the community investment portion of the act. This claim is patently false and is often thinly veiled racism (arguing that urban, predominantly minority borrowers caused the collapse). I did the numbers a few years ago and even if every minority mortgage holder had been foreclosed it wouldn’t have been enough to cause 1/3 of the collapse. The other side the argument is that GLB allowed banks to become “too big to fail.” There is some evidence that this is at least partially true, but the tie-in to GLB is open to debate. Many of those super-sized financial institutions were already massive and involved in questionable practices prior to GLB. Add to that, some of the most diversified entities were the ones best able to survive the collapse, IE they were more stable because they were larger. I would argue that GLB likely made the situation worse, but the market was already highly unstable before the act was passed.

  16. 16
    Michael Heath

    dogmeat,

    Bill Clinton should not have signed that bill. The fact he sided with his Rubin-Summers coalition rather than siding with the liberals was a monumental blunder. (Yes, I know Rubin was no longer SECTREAS by then, I’m talking about a particular coalition of centrist Democrats where Rubin in 2000/2001 was then serving as a god analogous to the role Ronald Reagan plays with conservatives.) On this whole issue President Clinton made epic blunders, epic.

    Of course conservatives are the more culpable caucus on the deregulation of the finance industry, they led the effort. But that in no way absolves President Clinton. Ed’s dead nuts right in his general assessment; history will judge Clinton on this consistent with Ed’s conclusions.

    I happen to think President Clinton’s performance in office was “good”, arguably, “very good”, but as history marches on, his record diminishes because he sided too much with Bob Rubin and not enough with the more liberal Bob Reich and Brooksley Borns. Ironically Jimmy Carter’s performance is becoming increasingly respected as time passes.

    E.g., another major Clinton blunder wasn’t necessarily passing NAFTA, but instead, passing NAFTA while failing to also invest in reforming the labor market to make it more up-to-date and globally competitive as Bob Reich proposed. Instead Clinton became a deficit hawk per Bob Rubin’s advice. That choice greatly aggravated a structural weakness of the U.S. labor market. The net effect is we continue to see labor hurt far more in each subsequent recession and not recover as quickly or even to the same level in the subsequent recovery. That’s not due to business cycles, but structural weaknesses that are worsening independent of the business cycle.

    These are lessons of history even this moderate gets, the liberals were far more right on these matters than the conservatives (almost always true) and also more right than us moderates. (Though we moderates been more right on other economic matters, but certainly not on Clinton’s approach to regulatory reform and government investment in our country’s intellectual capital.)

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    I do not miss the irony of this moderate (me) criticizing a liberal (dogmeat) for defending Clinton’s moderate policy in regards to the Glass-Steagal when Clinton should have sided with the liberals.

  18. 18
    Raging Bee

    Ah gee, the author of the article on the attached link cites Max Blumenthal as his go to guy on Israel.

    Um, no, the article cited quotes from Warren herself. Bashing Max Blumenthal is just a transparently silly distraction — especially since you can’t seem to show where Blumenthal is actually wrong here.

    Do try to stick to the subject, chickehhawk. You’re starting to sink to Don Williams levels of incoherence.

  19. 19
    Trebuchet

    The problem that Warren faces, if she has some ambition to run for president, is that she will be 67 in 2016. Based on age, that’s probably her only bite at the apple as she would be 71 in 2016 and 75 in 2020. In contrast, someone like Kirsten Gillibrand, who would be 49 in 2016, could afford to wait until 2020 or even 2024 or 2028.

    Clinton, who was born in 1947, has the same problem only a couple of years more so.

    @4, doublereed:

    That said, it’s still 2013. Can we please not talk about 2016 for at least two years? Pleeeease?

    Seconded, with feeling!

  20. 20
    colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #18

    Excuse me, the author of the article linked to by the limey cited Max Blumenthal as his “expert” to dispute Warren’s statement. As a matter of fact, I don’t see anything out of the mainstream in the statement attributed to her. The problem is that the limey is not in the mainstream as he apparently agrees with Blumenthal that the State of Israel should go out of business.

    Maybe the Fairfax floozy should spend more time worrying about why his elected officials don’t know how to count and less time worrying about the relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

  21. 21
    freemage

    changerofbits
    November 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm (UTC -5)
    Isn’t a bit sexist to lay Bill’s political record directly upon Hillary’s shoulders? Of course, it’s not like Hillary (or Obama or any other moderate democrat) has been really stood up to wall street.

    While there’s ample evidence of sexism in the opposition Hillary faces generally, I don’t think this specific example is as simple as that. It goes back to the 2008 Democratic Primary. After Edwards dropped out, Hillary had to decide whether to run as the Stable Hand of Experience or as the Outsider Shaking Things Up. She opted for the former (the 3 am phone call thing), but in order to do so, she had to present herself as more experienced than Obama in government.

    There was just one problem there–if you tallied up their respective years in elected office, it wasn’t quite true. In order to be the Voice of Experience, Hillary HAD to own the 8 years she spent as First Lady/”co-President”. Unfortunately for her, this isn’t something that endeared her to the Left–we have the horribly botched health care reform which can be laid directly at her feet, as well as several key failures of the administration generally (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; environmental regulatory failure) to abide by appeals that Bill had made on the campaign trail–and then top it all off with the Lewinsky saga, and it becomes clear why sexism beat racism in that particular clash. (For the record, I’ve maintained all along that if either Hillary or Barack had dropped out before Edwards, the Democratic Primary Machine would’ve then patted ourselves on the back for being so wonderfully progressive as to let both a woman AND a black guy get as far as they did, and then voted en masse for the white dude. But since he couldn’t reliably play either the race or the gender cards before one of them stepped down, his own failings dragged him under.)

  22. 22
    democommie

    Michael Heath:

    Bill Clinton signed the bill repealing Glass Steagall because he’s a pragmatic/opportunistic pol. At the time the bill was passed, HIS party had provided the GOP house and senate with enough extra votes to make the bill veto proof. That he signed it is, to me, totally unsurprising or extraordinary, that he signed it without comment rankles.

    I’m quite sure that sometime in the 2020′s the ACA will be laid solely at the feet of Barack Obama–unless of course it’s successful; if it is successful it will join the long list of accomplishments by a demonized pro-woman, pro-civil rights, pro teh GAY, pro church/state separation GOP!

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