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Given her background, publishing history, interests, and high school teacher affect, Senator Elizabeth Warren makes for an extraordinarily unlikely demagogue. But, against all odds, my senior senator has turned herself into a rhetorical force through a remarkable ability to spout utter nonsense, with great conviction, on subjects on which she absolutely knows better — and in a way that somehow resonates with people.
The clip above is a marvel of deception. In about half a minute, she manages to pound out four — four! — statements that are either direct falsehoods or based on direct falsehoods:
No one should work full time and still live in poverty. We believe we should raise the minimum wage. This one is a shocker in 2014, but we actually believe in equal pay for equal work and we’re trying to move that forward. We believe it’s not your employer’s business what kind of birth control you use and you ought to have access to birth control. And we believe the United States government should not making a profit on student loans.
Of course it’s all wrong (particularly the contraception bit; I mean, wow that’s dishonest). But this is the kind of patently false Progressive populism that voters relate to and that gets people like Warren elected to office. It’s also the kind of claptrap that is particularly attractive to young voters in Dave L’s friend’s demographic.
The question is: how are we going to push back against that rhetoric and find a positive agenda of our own that both bears some relation to reality and will win at the ballot box?
It took Senator Warren 34 seconds to describe an attractive — if false and impracticable — agenda. Let’s see what we can do in 200 words.