Allyson Schwartz has been drawn into the middle of it.
One of her opponents along with a national progressive group is demanding the Congresswoman and gubernatorial candidate renounce her affiliation with the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way.
On Monday, two leaders of Third Way penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Jon Cowan and Jim Kessler argued that policies advocated by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio are untenable on the national stage.
The piece argues that the numbers – particularly with Social Security and Medicare – don’t add up for progressives.
“The movement relies on a potent ‘we can have it all’ fantasy that goes something like this: If we force the wealthy to pay higher taxes… close a few corporate tax loopholes, and break up some big banks then—presto!—we can pay for, and even expand, existing entitlements,” Cowan and Kessler wrote.
“On the same day that Bill de Blasio won in New York City, a referendum to raise taxes on high-income Coloradans to fund public education and universal pre-K failed in a landslide. This is the type of state that Democrats captured in 2008 to realign the national electoral map, and they did so through offering a vision of pragmatic progressive government, not fantasy-based blue-state populism.”
Schwartz is one of 12 Honorary Co-Chairs of Third Way, along with Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), and others.
John Hanger, one of Schwartz’s 7 Democratic primary opponents and the most progressive candidate in the 2014 gubernatorial race, blasted Schwartz over her affiliation with the group.
“Third Way’s attack in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal on Elizabeth Warren, Bill DeBlasio, and other Democrats who are fighting for working people was misguided and unacceptable,” Hanger said. “Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz can undermine Third Way’s unacceptable attack on good Democrats and important ideas by resigning as Third Way’s Honorary Co-chair. I hope Congresswoman Schwartz joins my call to strongly disavow and rebuke this right wing attack on Senator Warren, Mayor-elect DeBlasio, and progressive policies.”
The national Progressive Change Campaign Committee sent out two emails urging supporters to call on Schwartz to resign her role with Third Way, which PCCC called a “Wall Street front group”.
“Shockingly, Rep. Allyson Schwartz is Honorary Co-Chair of this group that’s attacking Elizabeth Warren! Can you call Allyson Schwartz today and tell her to drop her affiliation with Third Way immediately?” the organization wrote.
Schwartz campaign spokesman Mark Bergman said the Congresswoman repudiates the op-ed – but she won’t resign her position.
“Allyson thought Third Way’s Op/Ed on Social Security was outrageous and strongly disagrees with it,” Bergman said. He noted that Schwartz has repeatedly advocated for Social Security and Medicare.
“In 2005, Allyson was an outspoken leader in fighting against President Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security and last year, she fought against Paul Ryan’s attempt to end Medicare as we know it. She has repeatedly been endorsed by the National Committee to Preserve Medicare and Social Security for her leadership in protecting and preserving Social Security and Medicare for current seniors and future retirees.”
Schwartz has a reputation as a centrist on some issues, particularly health care spending. And as one of the front runners in the gubernatorial contest, she has kept as much of an eye on the general election as the primary.