Monday, December 9, 2013

Third Way Sparks War in Democratic Party

A single op-ed in The Wall Street Journal penned by Jon Cowan, President of the think tank Third Way, and Jim Kessler, Senior Vice President for Policy at the think tank, has sparked a war within the Democratic Party.

The op-ed, titled "Economic Populism Is a Dead End for Democrats," essentially said that that the Democratic Party should not embrace the economic populism of people such as New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Sen. Warren shot back, sending a letter asking the six largest US banks to disclose their donations to think tanks, saying that not doing so threatens the credibility and research of those policy groups.  Then a media explosion ensued.

A group of lawmakers started getting criticized by progressive groups (such as, Social Security Works, Progressive United, and Progressive Change Campaign Committee) for their connections to Third Way.  Reportedly, none have parted ways with Third Way, yet.  Here is what Progressive Change Campaign Committee is saying.

As the New York Times pointed out, the liberal blog Daily Kos announced that it would endorse and raise money only for candidates who promised not to join Third Way.

Here is a collection of some articles/op-eds that have been written since then:
  • In the Huffington Post, Jason Linkins called Third Way a "supposed" think tank.
  • In the Huffington Post, Richard Eskow: "The Democrats' 'Third Way' Quarrel Could Change Your Future."
  • Salon's headline: "The Wall Street Journal's Pathetic Attack on Elizabeth Warren."
  • Demos: "Third Way's Astonishingly Weak Argument Against Progressive Populism."
  • CAP's ThinkProgress trashes the Third Way piece.
  • National Catholic Reporter weighs in on Third Way debate.
  • Matthew Yglesias in Slate: "Third Way published a banal and contentless op-ed," and says "Third Way is jam-packed with finance guys from the investment banking and private equity worlds.
  • The Nation: "GOP Donors and K Streeet Fuel Third Way's Advice for the Democratic Party."
  • Ezra Klein: "How think tanks became derp tanks."
  • Felix Salmon in Reuters: "The more think tanks become beholden to vested interests, the less useful they become," and "2-and-20 crowd (i.e., hedge funds) driving think tanks."
  • Elizabeth Warren fires back at Third Way on Social Security.
  • Members of Congress stand by Third Way.
  • Third Way shares consultant with group spending big to defeat Third Way Co-Chairs.
  • Rush Limbaugh on Warren vs. Third Way.
  • The Nation: "What Third Way Reveals About the Beltway."
  • Paul Krugman in NYT: "Third Way wrote a remarkably self-destructive op-ed."
  • David Weigel: "The progressives' distaste for Third Way is as old as the organization itself." 
  • Third Way Co-Founder explains op-ed criticizing Sen. Warren. 
  • Third Way head admits Sen. Warren scares them.
  • Daily Kos: "Who do we thank for 'Populism Rising' - Sen. Warren or the Third Way?"
  • Third Way Senior Vice President admits majority of think tank's funding comes from Wall Street.
  • Democrat running for Congress: "I would not consider myself a Third Way type of candidate."
  • Here is what MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has to say (video). 
  • Center for American Progress President Neera Tanded bashes Third Way.

Third Way was recently called "Wall Street on the Potomac" by William Black, an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

The think tank has a large number of Members of Congress as Honorary Co-Chairs.

Third Way, founded in 2005, did not make the most recent list of top think tanks put together by the University of Pennsylvania.