Tuesday, December 16, 2014

David Brooks is the latest...

...conservative writer to call for Sen. Elizabeth Warren to challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Why? Two reasons, both of them mischievous.

The first is just a journalist's desire to see a contest. Only a die-hard Yankee fan would want to see the Bronx Bombers sweep the World Series. The rest of us want to stay up late and watch a seventh game go into extra innings.

The second reason is purely cynical: a hope to bloody the champ before Hillary gets in the ring with the Republican nominee.

Now, before I dismiss Brooks completely,* let me say that I'd be thrilled by the prospect of a Warren presidency. (I guess that just shows how far I've drifted to the left. Or how far the country has drifted to the right.) But, at the same time, I'd be absolutely terrified by a Warren nomination. Why? Simple; she'd get crushed.

Sen. Warren is currently in second place on Paddy Power for the Democratic nomination, at 8/1 odds, behind Hillary at 1/2. But she's only in sixth place in the general, at 16/1, behind Rand Paul, at 14/1, another candidate who can't get elected president.

As for Brooks's column, let me save you the time. Scroll down to the last paragraph where he says:

The history of populist candidates is that they never actually get the nomination. The establishment wins.

So next time you hear some conservative say that Sen. Warren is going to give Hillary a run for the nomination, just reread those last two sentences. And read this one while you're at it: Democrats want to win.

* Brooks is also wrong when he writes:

In this era of bad feelings, parties are organized more around what they oppose rather than what they are for. Republicans are against government. Democrats are coalescing around opposition to Wall Street and corporate power.

"The era of bad feelings" is one-sided: Republicans hate Democrats and will do anything to thwart them. (Trust me; I just spent a few days with a couple of Fox News-watchers.) They'd rather see the country fail than President Obama succeed.

Also, while Brooks is right that Republicans oppose government, Democrats don't oppose business, they just believe it needs some grownup supervision. And I can attest to that; I've been in the business world my entire adult life. If there were no minimum wage, for example, most of Walmart's employees would be unpaid "interns."

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