Massachusetts Senate candidate and sometime Native American Elizabeth Warren has released a new campaign ad today, apparently pivoting away from her maligned race background to a more bread-and-butter message. Specifically, in the ad, Warren for more investments in infrastructure like roads and bridges. Which, as we all know, are the things that build businesses.
But so what? Surely the woman who foreshadowed President Obama’s infamous “You didn’t build that” remark calling for more spending on infrastructure is no more news than Barney Frank calling for gay marriage. True enough, but what sets this Warren ad apart from her typical line is her unfavorable comparison of the United States’ infrastructure spending to China’s infrastructure spending.
“Our competitors are putting people to work, building a future. China invests 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure. America? We’re at just 2.4 percent,” Warren says in the ad. “We can do better.”
Needless to say, unsympathetic media sources have already leapt on the comment, treating it as de facto evidence that Warren is sympathetic to communism. Given her close ideological ties to Occupy Wall Street’s message, this is not that much of a stretch. However, Warren apparently doesn’t see herself this way. A National Journal story quotes her as follows:
“Every now and again, I meet with someone who’s been very successful on Wall Street, who says, ‘I want to support your campaign because I believe you will save capitalism. I believe in capitalism, and I understand there have to be rules. And they have to be consistently enforced.’ That’s what I think is at stake in this election.”
That’s a hefty assignment, the salvation of capitalism, but Democratic strategists, while cringing at the grandiosity of the statement, say she articulates her vision for the assignment as well as any candidate.
So Warren wants to “save capitalism.” A noble goal, to be sure, but skeptics may be inclined to wonder if her tactics might be a bit mistaken. However, perhaps more importantly, one has to wonder how this will play with her supporters. After all, one of the key arguments by the Democratic party is that the Republicans currently represent a move back to the “failed” policies of George W. Bush. Now, how did Bush justify those “failed policies?”
Abandoning free market principles in order to save the free market system, right. What was that about saving capitalism again?