Progressives Slam Schwartz-Linked Group

Allyson Schwartz 2013 loresA battle is playing out for the soul of the Democratic party: should Democrats seek to win elections by appealing to centrists, or embrace the progressive, populist ideals of its base?

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.

15 Responses

  1. McCord is doing nicely at Treasury—let’s keep him there!
    All the Dems are pretty much the same on Marcellus Shale–except Schwartz and McGinty– who pretty much laughed in the faces of the Dem State Committee which voted 60% to 40% for a moratorium. Hanger has been respectful of the vote plus he knows a lot about green alternatives. McGinty’s husband has ties to the fracking industry which anyone can Google, but I’d like to hear her tell us what the story is.

    Thus, one is left with a multitude of other issues beyond fracking, IMO, and those issues are best understood and articulated by John Hanger, who is competent, confident, and trustworthy. And, I agree with you, Schwartz long ago became a corporatist, Wall Street politician.

  2. Much as I’d love to have my own Congressperson become governor, it’s getting harder and harder to defend Allyson’s claim to the nomination. She is not, frankly, much of a public/media speaker, and it is becoming increasingly clear to the average Dem voter what some of us have known for a while: that while she is presumed by both the left and right to be a hard-core lefty (which I would endorse), her actual positions are mainly corporatist, anti-consumer, Wall Street Democrat. Thus in a general election, we libs would have the worst of both worlds: a Blue Dog attacked by Republicans as a flaming liberal who cannot forcefully impart her ideas publicly, whether or not she believes them to be true.
    Hanger is making the right noises now, but he was also the guy who swung the door wide open for Marcellus drillers while head of the DEP, then went to work for Eckert Seamans, one of the Marcellus drillers’ favorite firms. Plus, sorry, the dude just comes across as kinda oily.
    Honestly don’t know much about Rob McCord’s positions at this point, but I do know that my dealings with the PA Treasurer’s Office while he was in charge were astoundingly cordial and efficient. They contacted me about some lost money, then had people follow up promptly and efficiently in order to get it to me. Given our low expectations for government services, I was frankly kind of amazed at the operation he’d put together.
    So for me, it looks like competence and a commitment to public service will trump any issue positions, since most politicians put those on and take them off like we choose shoes based on the weather.

  3. Sean K., I believe you were/are a K-town U. student? I’ve discovered that John Hanger’s ideas would be most helpful to our K-12 schools and our state university system. Check out As you know, Corbett is out to privatize all things public. John Hanger is the first candidate I’ve heard actually challenge Corbett’s privatization agenda so DIRECTLY. Hanger’s presentation at the Temple forum left no doubt in my mind that he is the best candidate in the race on this issue as well as the other issues. He also commanded a strong presence and had plenty of crowd support and applause—without performing a song, a dance, and a rah-rah-rah cheerleading session as was done by some others.

  4. Thanks to the two people who reached out and defended the Schwartz campaign. It has to be somewhat concerning that so few are willing to defend her publicly.

    As far as ideology goes, Schwartz tends to be “liberal” with women’s social views. Economically she is “moderate”. What is her view on marijuana? What is her view on income inequality? Taxing the rich? Education funding? I have yet to hear her plan for anything.

    The primary is roughly 166 days away. In four months, she won’t be the front runner

  5. Good luck with that, guys: carving out a place to Schwartz’s left. And they say the tea party represents the crazed ideologues.

  6. Sounds as if AS wants to have it both ways. Those Dems are tough on the left. McCord and Hangar are the darlins of the progressives, and they vote

  7. One again, Schwartz’s actions (her membership on Third Way) don’t match her words (her apology for being a member and supposedly refuting its agenda).

    John Hanger not only beats Corbett, but beats him handily. Hanger is the real progressive in this race. At the Temple forum, Hanger actually answered the questions. Schwartz danced and smiled. For what was we she “auditioning?”

  8. Schwartz is the only running for governor that knows how to get legislation passed and her stance on social security is solid when you are the front runner many people and groups take shots at for mccord for some reason he doesn’t excite anybody poll numbers are bad its the year of the women if schwartz doesn’t win primary mcginty will and that will be fine too.

  9. Out of all the Democratic candidates, only Hanger has the chutzpah to call Schwartz out. Good for him. He is the only real progressive out there, and I wish people would take his candidacy more seriously.

    She is a shill for this Wall Street Front Group, errrr think tank. Will be interesting to see in January how much she received from the board members of this organization. THAT is why she wont resign from the board.

    McCord, McGinty, Wolf: show your colors!!! (crickets chirping)…bunch of pansies!

  10. This is exactly why Schwartz, even though she is leading the early polls, is the weakest choice of the top tier candidates. The only way Tom Corbett recovers and gets a second term is if Schwartz is the opponent. McCord or McGinty hammer Corbett.

  11. If Schwartz thinks she can run to the middle to save herself she is nuts.

    Someone who is willing to defend Allyson Schwartz please explain to me why this campaign is a mess! They have lost 3 very good people, the house parties were a mess, Schwartz hasn’t been seen in a small county, the forum was pretty much a bust for her, and finally McGinty seems to capture the woman vote.

    Schwartz’s only defense is that she is leading in the polls. Sadly, David Diano and I are the only two on here who know that polls this early represent name recognition not electability.

    If you doubt me, look at the NYC mayoral race. Anthony Wiener led every poll early on. That’s because he had the best name recognition because of the texting scandal. As the campaign began to pick up, he was crushed by attack ads and bad decisions. DiBlasio, who I never heard of before, won.

  12. First, that National Committee is aligned with the Erskine Bowles Catfood Commission, which wanted then and still wants to CUT Social Security and Medicare – that’s the best endorsement she’s got?? And that Third Way Thieves groups wants to do more than just cut Social Security – they want to promote Wall Street as the investment for our Trust Fund! What is Shocking is that she thinks they do good work! She ought to be ASHAMED of herself! Or is she just so stupid she doesn’t ralize what Third Way’s REAL agenda is? Either way, she shows herself to be a Wall Street Lackey by her embrace of the Third Way Thieves.

    Schwartz: Loser.

  13. Best outcome for 2014.

    Leach wins the 13th, McCord becomes governor and Schwartz has a cozy job being a lobbyist for TEVA or some other medical firm that’s littered in our district.

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