Saturday, November 29, 2014

Senate Dems Add Mark Warner to Leadership Team to "Counterbalance" Elizabeth Warren

A week ago, we learned that Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) had pushed for including Mark Warner in the Senate Democratic leadership team in order to counterbalance Elizabeth Warren.

The bankers whom Schumer views as his #1 constituency are not fond of Warren. You can see that in the current fight over Obama Treasury nominee Antonio Weiss. But the bankers love Mark Warner.
Mark Warner was named a "fiscal hero" by Fix the Debt because of how obsessed he is with pushing an austerity agenda:
“We must be willing to put everything on the table, move past partisan gridlock and come together with meaningful solutions that will help put our economy on a more fiscally responsible path,“ Sen. Warner said. “I’m honored to be recognized by the nonpartisan Campaign to Fix the Debt. I remain committed to working to responsibly reduce spending, reform our tax code to generate new revenue and strengthen entitlement programs so they will still exist for the next generation of Virginians and Americans.”
“Mark Warner stands out as a true leader on fiscal responsibility,” said Maya MacGuineas, head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt. “He has been tireless in his efforts to educate the country about the need to pass a comprehensive debt deal, both with the Gang of Six and other bipartisan groups in the Senate and House. Sen. Warner has helped keep a spotlight on this critical issue even when others have backed away from the hard choices involved in fixing the debt. There is much more to be done to confront our nation's debt challenges, and it is important to recognize leaders such as Sen. Warner who remain focused on these issues.”

In late 2010, Sen. Warner cofounded the Senate’s so-called “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group of Senators which worked for nearly two years on a framework that would reduce deficits and debt by almost $4 trillion over 10 years. However, events related to the debt ceiling and the appointment of the “supercommittee” in the Fall of 2011 prevented the Gang of Six framework from receiving a vote by Congress.
Mark Warner even touted his desire to cut Social Security and Medicare on his campaign site:
As a freshman senator, Mr. Warner showed guts by defying large chunks of his Democratic base to support trimming entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare in order to forge a deal. By contrast, his Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie, a smart and savvy Washington insider, has promised never to compromise by backing new revenue in order to tackle the nation’s fiscal problems in a balanced way.
Because of a platform that combined bromides about "bipartisanship" and calls for austerity--and a lack of campaigning--Mark Warner managed to turn a 12 point polling lead to a near loss on Election Day.

Mark Warner took his near loss--and the loss of a number of his colleagues--as an opportunity to double-down on the austerity agenda:
“This election reenergized me,” Warner told the Post. “There’s going to be a different framework now, and in many ways, for somebody kind of in the middle who’s about building bipartisan coalitions, there may even be more opportunities for me … I’m looking forward to that.”
And he voted against Harry Reid for Majority Leader because Reid's not being bipartisan enough for him.

What do the Dems do with this lackluster candidate, Wall Street shill, and right-wing defector?
They promote him!
Senate Democratic leaders are promoting business friendly moderate Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia to their leadership team, where he will counterbalance rising liberal star Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership, announced Friday that Warner will serve as a policy development adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues to make the U.S. Senate a place where real work gets done to solve the challenges facing the American people,” he said. “Offering a constructive critic a seat at the leadership table is a positive step."
Warner, who has strong pro-business credentials, will serve as a counterweight to Warren, who has built an enthusiastic following among the party’s liberal base as a sharp critic of Wall Street.
“Mark is a natural leader in our caucus who will bring a diverse experience of both private sector and public service work to this new role,” he said. “In the next Congress, Mark will work closely with the entire DPCC team to put forward policies and a message that resonate strongly with America’s middle class.”
Aren't you excited that a Fix the Debt hero is going to be in the leadership team crafting the Democrats' policy agenda and messaging strategy? Because the route to 2016 clearly lies in an agenda of Social Security cuts, cliched calls for bipartisanship, and deference to Wall Street and large corporations.

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