Most people have heard the term “fair weather friend,” or “fair weather fan” if they are into professional sports. There are various definitions floating around, but it is safe to say a fair weather friend is generally applied to someone who is present or supportive only when things are going well, but at the first sign of trouble or hardship they disappear. In politics it is different than just disappearing when there is hardship; the fair weather supporter becomes an enemy; something that is occurring more often than not on the left side of the political spectrum.
There was an interesting piece yesterday claiming that “the left turns on Elizabeth Warren, trying to shame her after Hillary’s Massachusetts victory.” Although the article presented more than enough empirical data that a large number of anti-Hillary liberals assailed Senator Warren as evil incarnate, the nasty sentiments were not representative of “the Left;” at least not “the Left” most liberal and progressive Democrats belong to. However, the outrage focusing on Senator Warren is not anything novel; it is the current price a growing number of Democrats, liberals, and “real progressives” pay for not supporting Senator Bernie Sanders.
It is important to note, right now, that this op-ed is not about Senator Sanders. It is not to be misconstrued as any kind of criticism of Senator Sanders; not the man, the Democrat, or the presidential candidate. It is also not to be mistaken as any kind of support for Hillary Clinton; opinion writers do not have “public” opinions on, or about, any Democratic candidates. Those who have made that mistake have all paid the same price; abject condemnation as a human being. It is a price Senator Warren began paying after the results of the Massachusetts primary were released; even after she declined to express her opinion publicly.
What this piece is, however, is a comment on the mean-spiritedness among a number of Sanders’ “acolytes” that has targeted yet another liberal Democrat; this time focusing on a progressive heroine. According to the “fair weather” Warren friends and supporters, Hillary Clinton won the Massachusetts’ presidential primary because the Senator remained neutral and declined to endorse Senator Sanders over Mrs. Clinton. Now to reiterate, this is not about Senator Sanders; he is not the one publicly bad-mouthing progressive hero and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren; but his “most vocal supporters are.”
Although there is still a mountain of hate among the far left for Mrs. Clinton, it seems immediately after the Massachusetts’ primary all that “fury aimed at Hillary has been redirected at Senator Warren.” In case anyone is doubtful that a liberal hero can be assailed mercilessly for being neutral, like a fair number of congressional Democrats, take a look at the comments on Senator Warren’s Facebook page. It is really telling that “it simply took not getting their way for feelthebern acolytes to begin attacking one of the most respected progressive heroes of our time.”
It is particularly enlightening to see how rapidly a woman duly crowned as a strong progressive just a couple of years ago goes from being a progressive hero to the progressive movement’s arch-enemy; “by simply not opting to endorse ‘these progressives’ chosen candidate – or any candidate for that matter – she is treated as a pariah who betrayed some imagined cause.”
For the record, although Senator Warren never revealed her reason for “being savvy” and not endorsing any candidate for the nomination, a professor at Central Connecticut State University explained that a Warren endorsement could have damaged progressivism in general. Professor Jerold Duquette said,
“Not only could it create ‘a deeper rift in the party with the potential to damage the nominee in the fall. For Warren, it would be a foolish gambit that could easily complicate her efforts to be a force for progressive change in the U.S. Senate going forward.” One is unaware of Duquette’s political affiliation, but he spoke like a real progressive. Something the fake progressives attacking Senator Warren will never comprehend after the ignorant comments they leveled at a true progressive.
Some of the “nicer” comments on social media as the Massachusetts’ results came in included; “Elizabeth Warren could have helped Bernie, but she is a calculating politician. That’s why Trump is beginning to look like the only choice for all Americans.” There were more than a few alleged Massachusetts’ “progressives” that said, “It will be hard to forget this when Elizabeth Warren runs for reelection,” and “Warren is a wuss. Her silence will not be forgotten.” And this gem; “Warren, you’ve disappointed all of us. Your actions are working to secure a victory for Trump.” Really? Elizabeth Warren is working to secure a victory for Donald Trump? These comments are not from Democrats, progressives or liberals; they are right out of the Tea Party on the left, or what some know as the EmoProg movement.
Look, everyone gets it after nearly a year of barbaric rancor and vitriol from some feelthebern acolytes; you all are passionate for your candidate and that is an admirable trait. However, there is a difference between being an ardent Sanders’ supporter and an acolyte. As a commenter on Facebook noted; “There are two kinds of Sanders supporters; supporters and acolytes. The acolytes have never read a goddam thing about history or politics. Sanders is THE ONLY POLITICIAN ALIVE AND EVERYONE ELSE IS EVIL INCARNATE.” Curiously, the list of “everyone else” is growing to now include a bonafide liberal and real progressive hero in Senator Elizabeth Warren.
It is prescient to note that this nasty sentiment is not coming from “the left.” It is coming from a faction of Senator Sanders’ “supporters” that no small number of observers have noted are “the left’s version of the Tea Party;” a claim that is getting harder to dispute. It would almost be good entertainment value if they had not already stated, emphatically, that if their candidate is not the nominee they are staying home in November. With Republicans’ record voter turnout already exceeding Democrats by a wide margin, coupled with the threat that less than 80 percent of Sanders’ Democratic supporters will vote for whomever the Democratic nominee is, it appears the “feelthebern acolyte faction” may be the ones to help “secure a victory for Trump;” it is certainly not going to be Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Remember, this is not criticism of Senator Sanders; he did tell his Bern Brothers’ acolytes to “cut that crap out,” but the Pandora’s box has been open for over six months and the Sanders’ admonition and call for civility may have been about six months too late; just ask liberals Paul Krugman, Barack Obama, Jonathan Capehart, Rachel Maddow and now Senator Elizabeth Warren.