Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has a new autobiography out titled “A Fighting Chance,” which has been getting coverage for her colorful exchanges with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and President Barack Obama, and a lengthy section on the controversy spurred by claims about her Native American ancestry.
While the progressive favorite has been receiving inquiries about throwing her hat into the 2016 presidential race, spurred in part by the book’s release date, she has repeatedly demurred.
Nevertheless, from the perspective of the 2014 mid-term elections, Warren’s autobiography is instructive in understanding the memes that the Democratic Party will be pushing in the coming days, months and years.
Below are 10 memes from Senator Warren’s new book worth perusing.
1. “You didn’t build that”
“Without police, schools, roads, firefighters, and all the rest, where would those big corporations and “self-made” billionaires be? For capitalism to work, we all need one another…We are stronger and wealthier because of the things we build together. We are more secure when we create a foundation that allows each of us to have a decent chance to build something on our own. We are better off when we invest in one another. It’s economics and values, tied tightly together.”
2. “You didn’t build that” redux
“Ronald Reagan’s famous line—”The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’”—had inflicted an injury, all the more painful because it came from the president of the United States. Every dismissive comment (“Well, what do you expect— it’s the government”) had left a small cut…Let’s be honest: America is facing some really, really big challenges. Climate change, educating kids for the jobs of the future, taking care of an aging population— the list is long and daunting. And let’s also admit that our government isn’t perfect, and it can’t solve everything. But we’re going to need a well-functioning government if we’re to have a prayer of tackling these very complex problems. America has faced difficult problems before—and we’ve solved them together.
We passed laws to get children out of factories. We set up a system that allowed aging workers to retire with dignity. We built schools so that every child would have a chance for a better life, and we created a network of highway and mass transit systems so people could get to work. We built an astonishingly tough military, superb police forces, and squadrons of first-class professional firefighters. No, the market didn’t build those things: Americans built them. Working through our government, we built them together. And as a consequence, we are all better off.”
3. Shrinking government is “dangerous thinking” – we need better government
“We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that if “big government” disappears, so will society’s toughest problems. That’s just magical thinking— and it’s also dangerous thinking. Our problems are getting bigger by the day, and we need to develop some hardheaded, realistic responses. Instead of trying to starve government or drown it in the bathtub, we need to tackle our problems head-on, and that will require better government.”
4. “The game is rigged”
“Today the game is rigged— rigged to work for those who have money and power. Big corporations hire armies of lobbyists to get billion-dollar loopholes into the tax system and persuade their friends in Congress to support laws that keep the playing field tilted in their favor. Meanwhile, hardworking families are told that they’ll just have to live with smaller dreams for their children.”
5. Republicans want to cut back on use of “our government’s money” on seniors and kids
“How we spend our government’s money is about values, and it’s about choices. We could cut back on what we spend on seniors and kids and education, as the Republicans in Congress insisted we should. Or we could get rid of tax loopholes and ask the wealthy and big corporations to pay a little more and keep investing in our future. How we spend our money isn’t some absurdly complicated math problem. It’s about choices.”
6. “Invest in one another”
“We built this country by striking out on new adventures and propelling ourselves forward on a path we named progress. Along the way, we learned that when we invest in one another, when we build schools and roads and research labs, we build a better future— a better future for ourselves and our children and our grandchildren.”
7. Pay your fair share for equality
“Equality. Opportunity. The pursuit of happiness. An America that builds something better for the next kid and the kid after that and the kid after that. No one is asking for a handout. All we want is a country where everyone pays a fair share, a country where we build opportunities for all of us; a country where everyone plays by the same rules and everyone is held accountable. And we have begun to fight for it. I believe in us. I believe in what we can do together, in what we will do together.”
8. Gun control “for the children”
“We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence. The politics surrounding this issue make me want to tear my hair out. I know that Americans care fiercely about keeping our kids safe. So why do we toss common sense out the window when it comes to protecting our kids from gun violence?”
9. “Economic security” for the poor and middle class
“The challenges faced by poor families attempting to build economic security are far more extreme, but the same erosion of investment in the future that is hollowing out America’s middle class is also destroying the more limited opportunities that poorer families have to pull themselves forward. Much of what I was fighting for in an effort to rebuild the middle class—education, a thriving economy with good jobs, a level playing field where everyone pays their share—would provide an enormous boost to those in poverty as well. Building opportunity is about building it for everyone. It comes back to the same question: Do we take care of some of our children, or do we build opportunity for all our children?”
10. The party of oil companies and other corporations doesn’t reflect the values of the American people
“Republicans think it’s fine to give billions of dollars in tax breaks to giant oil companies and corporations that park their money overseas, even as medical research budgets are hit by another round of cuts and care centers have long waiting lists. But those spending choices don’t reflect the values of the American people.”