Elizabeth Warren got a lot of love the other day, and deservedly so. She has the ability to defend the traditional Democratic agenda in short declarative sentences, coupled with an aw-shucks yet extremely firm delivery. This makes people like Wil Wilkinson, who’s not used to straight talk from Democrats, uncomfortable, and prone to making statements like this:
This is precisely the sort of rhetoric Democrats need to perfect in order to hold ground in the next round of national elections. Of course, not unlike a tea-party Republican making the case for small government, Ms Warren paints in over-broad, simplifying strokes.
[…] Sadly, it’s easier to get elected by avoiding the subtleties of these questions, instead keeping it simple and tendentious.
This is just stupid: stump speeches and Morning Joe interviews are not graduate seminars, and what makes Warren a compelling candidate is her the ability to go into far more detail about each of the arguments she lays out in abbreviated form on the campaign trail.
Unfortunately, the headline of Wilkinson’s post, “Liberal Simplification”, is a common beltway trope. When the rare Democrat finally hones down their stump speech to a few sentences that form a simple but roughly right summary of their more detailed platform, they’re accused of “avoiding subtleties” by conservative wonks like Wilkinson. It’s considered almost a moral failing and an index of the decline in the quality of our discourse when a Democratic politician does what politicians have always done and must always do: make a short-and-sweet pitch for a few of their key ideas.
Wilkinson also indulges in false equivalency by comparing a politician like Warren summarizing her position in a few pithy sentences, and a politician like Bachmann making raving lunatic claims like citizens should pay no taxes. These aren’t two flavors of the same thing, they’re completely different animals. Bachmann has no coherent plan behind her latest asinine emission, just as she knew nothing and thought little before she carelessly undermined the safe and effective HPV vaccine. To use the term “making a case” for most of what comes out of the mouth of Tea Party heroes is unearned high praise, and an insult to someone like Warren, who’s actually devoted a good part of her life to studying the best way to protect the middle-class constituency she’s trying to win over.
(via EDK, who defends Warren)