Instead of talking about how the big banks and Wall St. blew up the economy, the middle class, or income inequality, ABC’s This Week tried to use Elizabeth Warren to divide the Democratic Party, but Sen. Warren wouldn’t play along.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve been pretty clear, and we showed it in Jeff Zeleny’s piece, that you say you’re not running for president in 2016. It seems like you’ve just affirmed it again. You also signed a letter — several senators signed a letter earlier this year encouraging Hillary Clinton to run.
So is she your candidate in 2016?
WARREN: You know, all of the women — Democratic women, I should say, of the Senate urged Hillary Clinton to run. And I hope she does.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You hope she does. And if she does, she is your candidate, you’re going to endorse her?
WARREN: If Hillary — Hillary is terrific.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, you’ve said she is terrific very many times. You say that again in this book, “A Fighting Chance.” But this book leaves out something of a pointed criticism from your earlier book, “The Two Income Trap.”
There you praised first lady Hillary Clinton for her opposition to this bankruptcy bill pushed by the big banks, but go on to talk about how she, as New York senator, seemed she could not afford that principled position.
Senator Clinton received 140,000 in campaign contributions from banking industry executives in a single year. Big banks were now part of Senator Clinton’s constituency. She wanted their support, and they wanted hers, including a vote in favor of that awful bill.
So do you think that — are you worried that somehow she will bow to big business, those were your words in that book, if she becomes president?
WARREN: Look, I’ve made it clear all the way through this book and really what I’ve been working on for the last 25 years, that I’m worried a lot about power in the financial services industry.
And I’m worried about the fact that basically starting in the ’80s, you know, the cops were taken off the beat in financial services, these guys were allowed to just paint a bull’s eye on the backsides of American families.
They loaded up on risk. They crashed the economy. They got bailed out. And what bothers me now is they still strut around Washington. They block regulations that they don’t want. They roll over agencies whenever they can. And they break…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did they rollover Hillary Clinton?
WARREN: Well, that’s — they break the law, and still don’t end up being held accountable for it, and going to jail.
One of the things that I focus on really hard throughout this book is that that is one of the prime examples of how the playing field is tilted and how we’ve got to push back against it.
It’s a central issue for me. It’s something I’m going to keep talking about. And I’m going to keep talking about it with everyone.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. But — I understand. Do you think Hillary Clinton will push back on that as well?
WARREN: Well, I’m going to keep talking about this issue. And I’m going to keep pushing on this issue.
Sen. Warren kept trying to steer the discussion towards the middle class and fighting the big banks, but mostly George Stephanopoulos wanted to talk about the 2016 horse race and stir up disagreement between Warren and Hillary Clinton. ABC had a chance to discuss income inequality, the big banks, and the decline of the middle class with one of the nation’s top experts, but all they wanted to do was try to create some controversy ahead of 2016.
The media desperately wants to divide the Democratic Party. They want big ratings, and the ratings come when there is a contest that captures the imagination of the nation. Hillary Clinton running away with the 2016 Democratic nomination is boring TV. The Republican field will likely be as weak and unpopular as ever. The mainstream media is begging for a storyline for 2016. If the storyline helps to destroy Democratic Party unity, all the better.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren made it clear that she isn’t going to give the media what they want.
If Hillary Clinton doesn’t run, Sen. Warren might run, but that wasn’t supposed to be the point of this interview. When a journalist has the opportunity to sit down with Elizabeth Warren, who before doing media for her book tour gave very few national interviews, she shouldn’t be treated like another ambitious political hack with her eyes on the White House.
What this interview demonstrated was that the corporately owned media doesn’t care about income inequality or the middle class. The issues that Sen. Warren discusses have an impact on the lives of a majority of Americans every single day, but the media would rather amuse themselves with speculation about the next presidential race.
Sen. Warren wouldn’t play the media’s game, and the result was that real issues that impact millions of lives got a rare mention on the Republican dominated Sunday morning shows.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association