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The Election War and the Internal War

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All hands are on deck in the progressive community working to surprise the pundits and stave off too many Republican victories on election day. And all the last minute work really does matter, as I will document in my next post about the closeness of margins in swing Congressional races even in years where one party or the other is making big gains. We all need to keep focused and keep our nose to the grindstone, because this election's fate is not yet decided. The president is out on the campaign trail working his butt off; the Democratic leadership in Congress is raising money and helping out in every way they can; the staffers for the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, and other party committees are out in the field working their hearts out in races all over the country. They are joined by activists from the netroots and every kind of progressive organization knocking on doors, making calls, coming to rallies, and doing everything in their power to turn the tide. It makes me proud that so many people are working so hard even when- in fact, especially when- the going has gotten so tough.

However, I just need to stop for a moment and quickly note, because it will become hugely more important in the weeks and months following the election, that not everyone in the administration is on the same team. All the passion so many people are showing makes it all the more galling to have certain as yet to be found out people in the Treasury department, people who owe their jobs to all of you who worked so hard to get President Obama elected in 2008, stabbing us all in the back in the very last days of this campaign. Check out Zach Carter's superb post this morning on the snakes in the Treasury Department who are working to undermine the president, his new appointee Elizabeth Warren, and all of us in the progressive world who are so excited about the potential of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau right before the election. Their petty leaks and nasty attacks are the worst kind of Washington BS. They made a rotten attack on Raj Date, who is a brilliant, progressive, and committed man who was a leader in making the financial reform bill stronger. As to the office paint job leak, it is just laughable: I was over at Elizabeth's very plain office in the standard government building where she is spending 95% of her time, and she hasn't even taken the time to put a picture on the wall. She is a frugal, modest Oklahoman who is so driven by the work that she probably wouldn't even notice if someone repainted her office. And the media hound charge is just funny: senior White House officials told me weeks ago that they wanted Elizabeth to be as visible as possible in the final days before the election because she is a strong voice for the middle class. Literally all the media bookings for her have come at the request of the White House communications shop.

I have always told people that working in the Clinton White House, I met some of the best people I have ever known and some of the worst. There are people who are in government for all the right reasons, because they want to make the country a better place and really help improve the lives of regular people. Elizabeth Warren is one of the very best of that group. And there are people who are in government because they are looking to brownnose the industries they are supposed to be regulating so they can get a really high paying lobbyist job after a few years in government. It is very clear that some of the people in Treasury, certainly the people doing these absurd attacks, are in the latter category. They don't care about screwing over the president and the Democratic Party in the days before the election, and they certainly don't care about helping consumers. What they care about is sucking up to the Wall Street bankers who they hope will give them a sweet job sometime soon.

I have a message for the leakers at Treasury, though: you are playing with fire. The two people closest to the president at the White House, Pete Rouse and Valerie Jarrett, are huge fans of Warren, and I know these leaks have caught their attention. I would love to see a serious investigation into these leaks once the election is over, and it just might happen. And whatever happens on the inside, the entire progressive community- bloggers, members of Congress, labor and consumer organizations- have Elizabeth Warren's back. Right now, unlike you leakers, we are focused on winning elections, but after the election, we will be gunning for you.

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