A Real Challenge, or a Tone-Setter?
The counter-argument to Noam Scheiber's New Republic piece arguing that Elizabeth Warren is Hillary's nightmare for 2016 has started. Although Politico mined the same terrain, it also noted that Wall Street would be alarmed if a Warren candidacy ended up forcing Hillary to move leftward and focus even more on income inequality and the middle class than she already does, at a time when the Street is facing heat from the right as well.
For his part, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post's Wonkblog on Monday noted that differences between the two are not as pronounced as some may believe.
But concern for the middle class doesn't, by and large, differentiate her from Clinton, who got her start in Washington working for the Children's Defense Fund and spent the early 90s trying to pass universal health care. They have differences on individual laws, including the noxious bankruptcy legislation that passed in 2005. But broadly, they agree: Clinton, like Warren, believes in higher taxes on the rich and universal health care and higher-education costs and universal pre-k and so on.
In fact, in many of these cases, Clinton understands the underlying policies better than anyone else in the party, and has a longer history fighting for them, certainly, than Warren. So long as the primary is about bread-and-butter policies to help the middle class, Clinton will be nearly unstoppable.
Klein notes the real danger for Clinton is that a Warren presence may shift the Democratic primary debate into an emotional frontal attack upon Wall Street with all the plusses and minuses that go with that.
And this comes against the backdrop that even in the midst of Chris Christie's media fluffing, Hillary still beats him by double digits, with a large majority of her party united behind her, unlike the war zone that awaits Christie.