In a speech today to the Nutroots Nation, held befittingly in dystopic liberal paradise of downtown Detroit, non-candidate and American Indian princess Elizabeth Warren brought down the house. The theme of her speech were the economic issues that Democrats should run on in 2016. The National Journal calls them the eleven commandments of progressivism:
In her speech, Warren outlined more clearly than other Democrats the social issues that galvanize progressives. Her performance was reminiscent of a certain other young senator in 2008.
"What are our values?" Warren asked the audience, some of whom held up "Run Liz Run" signs. "What does it mean to be a progressive?"
She went on to outline 11 tenets of progressivism:
- "We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we're willing to fight for it."
- "We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth."
- "We believe that the Internet shouldn't be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality."
- "We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage."
- "We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them."
- "We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt."
- "We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions."
- "We believe—I can't believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work."
- "We believe that equal means equal, and that's true in marriage, it's true in the workplace, it's true in all of America."
- "We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform."
- "And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!"
In summary, this list boils down to a new constitutional Right To Free Stuff. If you want to stream Netflix 24-hours a day and cause your ISP to either restrict service to everyone or spend money to upgrade infrastructure, too bad. You have a right to free stuff. No skills? Well, you have a right to free stuff. That college education? It should be free. Here illegally? No problem. Want a contraceptives and you want your employer to give it to you for free? We've got your back.
Her worldview is one of dependency, lack of personal autonomy, and government control over most, if not all, human interactions.
This doesn't mean we can be dismissive of her issues. While they are largely derived from the late and unlamented Occupy movement, they speak to a profoundly uneducated electorate, especially one that has been battered by Obama's economy and one that has been conditioned to see government as "Daddy". In fact, on some we can agree with the problem (regulation of the finance industry and immigration) but our solutions aren't going to be remotely similar.
She followed this up with the tried and true "let grandma eat cat food" argument":
And the main tenet of conservatives' philosophy, according to Warren? "I got mine. The rest of you are on your own."
Make no mistake, Elizabeth Warren is running for president. In my view, we are much more likely to face a Martin O'Malley or Andrew Cuomo or even Julian Castro in 2016 than we are to face either Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren. But given the response that Warren received from the progressive base we can bet we will see these eleven commandments again and in more competent hands.