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Sat Jan 10, 2015, 01:40 AM

The Third Way: 'Why are Democrats affiliated with this group that wants to gut Democratic Programs?' [View all]

Last edited Sat Jan 10, 2015, 06:39 PM - Edit history (3)

In this article from Richard (RJ) Eskow , some very pertinent questions now about the presence of this Wall St backed Think Tank in the Democratic Party.

Questions that are growing by the day as their control over the Dem Party shows signs of crumbling, finally.

The Democrats' 'Third Way' Quarrel Could Change Your Future

There was a big dust-up in the Democratic Party last week, triggered by a somewhat incoherent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal from the leaders of a Wall Street-funded "think tank"/lobbying group called Third Way. Many of the responses dealt with the op-ed's attack on Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but don't be distracted by that. As Sen. Warren would undoubtedly agree, the issues involved are much more important than the personalities.

As politicians affiliated with Third Way hasten to distance themselves from the op-ed, the question remains: Why are Democrats affiliated with a group which works so strenuously to gut Democratic programs? Voters deserve more than platitudes from these politicians. They deserve clear answers about the issues.


Eskow is referring to the article written by two of the Third Way's founders, Jon Cowen and Jim Kessler in the WSJ in December.

If you have not read it, you can find it here:

Third Way Founders Jon Cowen and Jim Kessler tell us Economic Populism is a Dead End for Democrats

Out of Hand:

Clearly Jonathan Cowan and Jim Kessler blundered in writing this editorial. It's badly written and its arguments are poorly constructed -- unlike other, much slicker Third Way materials. Worse, it's misleading. (We discussed the content here. Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times did an excellent analysis.)

At times the op-ed descends into vituperation and becomes, as Rep. Keith Ellison noted, "out of line" and "really ugly." We said there seemed to be "an almost palpable air of desperation" to it as well. That suspicion seems to be borne out in later remarks by co-author Jim Kessler, who said they wrote it because of Sen. Warren's support for a bill to expand Social Security. Said Kessler:
"She is a very compelling elected official and national figure. Her involvement in that particular bill, we just looked at it and said 'okay, this seems to be starting to get out of hand.'"


"Out of hand" is a telling phrase for a corporate-backed faction which has tried to keep the leftmost limits of debate very much in hand and under tight control. It has done so with striking success for decades, thanks in large part to its ability to influence politicians like Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.


Many people certainly agree that they have tried to keep the 'Left' under tight control, and as Black says, have succeeded for various reasons, Bush was one of them imo, 'anyone but Bush' and, as he says, its influence over two Dem presidents.

The article is long but definitely worth reading. There is SOMETHING going on, something is shifting and the Third Way IS getting desperate, showing their hand more than they ever did, making that error of attacking Elizabeth Warren eeg. The backlash to that article was probably a shock to them.

It shouldn't have been. But having become accustomed to being treated so well by the Dem Party itself, or at least by the leadership, they took the voters for granted.

Oops, underestimating voters, BLAMING them when it was their policies that cost Dems two elections so far. That is never a good idea especially when voters have discovered what the problem with THEIR party is.

And we know now that the problem is the Third Way.

They are lying about polls, something that is foolish since polls are available and show how much support SS, Medicare and Medicaid have among the voters, across the political spectrum.

Who in their right mind thinks that Democratic Voters will continue to vote for a party whose policies are so similar to the Republican Party's on their favorite issues?

Policies like this:

One of this faction's key goals is to roll back three of the Democratic Party's signature achievements: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It is a measure of their power and influence that they've been able to get so many Democratic politicians to support Social Security cuts when public opinion is so strongly against them.


Putting SS on the Deficit Table, was SHAMEFUL. And I suppose they never expected the voters would be as outraged as they were/are.

It is encouraging to see them under fire as they should have been a long time ago.

Today we heard from another Democrat outraged that some Dems' support for non-Democratic issues 'causes us to wonder if they don't belong in the Republican party', he said.

It has certainly caused US to wonder the same thing.

Burned by the reaction to their article attacking Warren, they are now writing articles about the horrors of 'populism'. We KNOW they are referring to her, however.

I think we are at a turning point in the Democratic Party. As Black said, the Third Way's policies were completely discredited by the Economic meltdown in 2008.

With populism spreading like wildfire, and Warren in the role of speaking for all those who DID see the problem but were silenced by the Third Way, maybe there is hope after all!

Edited to correct wrong attribution of the article to William Black. Thanks to DUer Eomer for pointing out the error. The article was written by Richard (RJ) Eskow


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