Back during the 2016 election, Cenk Uygur led The Young Turks right off a credibility cliff by insisting that Bernie Sanders was going to win the primary long after it was mathematically impossible. Whatever his reasons were for doing this are immaterial; he lied to his audience and whipped up a visceral hatred against both the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.
He’s dialed it back a bit in the era of Trump but once you cross that line of being a lying weasel, it’s easy to slip right back across it again as Cenk’s latest attack on the dreaded establishment figure Sen. Dianne Feinstein show:
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) June 4, 2018
That’s a link to an article by one of Cenk’s “Justice Democrats” candidates, Alison Hartman, and it’s stunningly dishonest. Most people are not going to open the article; they’re going to see the meme, think Feinstein the millionaire takes $1 million each year from San Francisco and get angry. That’s the point. If it wasn’t, the meme would say “$40,000-55,000 – Amount Feinstein has collected from San Francisco taxpayers every year for 25 years since her time as mayor”.
But that doesn’t get the blood boiling, does it?
Just as an aside, it’s a bit obscene watching a millionaire (Cenk), berate another millionaire for being rich. I don’t see Cenk refunding all of the TYT membership fees and working for free. It’s weird how only some rich people are bad for being rich and not others.
Opening the article isn’t much better. In it, Hartson makes what is literally the Republican argument for destroying Social Security and Medicare:
People work hard for their money and for their pensions, and most of us will rely on them to help us keep sheltered and healthy as we grow old. For many elderly Californians, pensions are a saving grace that elevates their income above the poverty line, allowing them to retire with dignity.
Dianne Feinstein, on the other hand, has a net worth of at least $80 million. Her husband, Richard Blum, is a billionaire. Yet, Feinstein collects at least $229,000 per year, about four times the median income, all at the expense of taxpayers. (emphasis hers)
Senator Feinstein needs that money like a fish needs a bicycle.
The rich don’t need Social Security or Medicare, either but the second you allow them to opt out, you give them the ability to stop paying into the system. And once paying into the system becomes optional, that’s the end of the Social Security, Medicare, and…the pensions that Hartman claims to care so deeply about.
That’s why Republicans are constantly trying to introduce “means-testing” to Social Security as backdoor method to killing it; something both Cenk and Hartson have to be aware of. Yet, in their eagerness to depict Feinstein as a monster, they irresponsibly employ right wing arguments, giving them a veneer of respectability.
Hartson says Feinstein has “a moral obligation to donate or refuse it” but does nothing to show that she makes zero charitable contributions. Considering the tax break millionaires get for donating even modest (for them) amounts of money, it’s ludicrous to believe that Feinstein doesn’t, in fact, donate far more than the $40-$55,000 a year she receives (it fluctuates from year to year) from San Francisco.
But the worst part about this entire line of attack is that it demonizes Feinstein for earning a pension. This isn’t money she’s making from playing the stock market; she was mayor of a major American city for 10 years and apparently worked hard enough to move her way up to being a senator of the United States. She may not need the money but she’s not getting it just for being rich. What’s next? Shall we rake her over the coals for having the Medicare and Social Security she’s paid into her entire life because that’s exactly the argument Hartson and Cenk are making here.
I don’t have a problem with primarying Feinstein from the left. I don’t think she deserves it but California is not going to elect a Republican senator so it’s a safe place to have this kind of ideological fight between the old guard and the new. On the other hand, how you fight matters and there’s nothing progressive about this kind of outright dishonesty. We’re the left and we’re supposed to be better than this.
If Cenk wants to be a lying scumbag, he can go back to being a Republican again.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.