Former Vice President Joe Biden attacked fellow 2020 contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Nov. 5, accusing her of being condescending and having a “my way or the highway attitude” on policy proposals.
Biden, 76, and Warren, 70, are the top two Democratic presidential contenders.
“Some call it the ‘my way or the highway’ approach to politics,” Biden wrote in a post online.
“But it’s worse than that. It’s condescending to the millions of Democrats who have a different view. It’s representative of an elitism that working and middle-class people do not share: ‘We know best; you know nothing.’ ‘If you were only as smart as I am you would agree with me.’ This is no way to get anything done.”
Biden’s post was prompted, he said, by one of his opponents accusing him of running in the wrong primary.
Warren’s Medicare for All plan, calling for trillions in tax increases and a major shift to the entire healthcare system to fund the projected $52 trillion cost, prompted a storm of criticism, including from rivals like Biden.
Reacting to Biden’s criticism of the plan, Warren said last week: “Democrats are not going to win by repeating Republican talking points. So, if Biden doesn’t like that, I’m just not sure where he’s going.”
Biden, Warren claimed, might be “running in the wrong presidential primary.”
Such attacks “reflect an angry unyielding viewpoint that has crept into our politics. If someone doesn’t agree with you—it’s not just that you disagree—that person must be a coward or corrupt or a small thinker,” Biden wrote.
At a closed-door fundraiser later Tuesday, Biden said opponents are running on a platform of “you agree with me or you have no courage.”
Democrats can be “extremely progressive but not be socialist,” he said, alluding to former President Barack Obama as saying “it’s like forming a circular firing squad what we’re doing.”
Obama said earlier this year that Democrats have formed “what’s called a ‘circular firing squad,’ where you start shooting at your allies because one of them is straying from purity on the issues.”
One of the reasons Hillary Clinton lost to President Donald Trump—and Republicans held majorities in the Senate and House—Biden said, was not talking to the Democratic base.
In a jab at Warren, Biden said: “On one level, it’s kind of funny. I’ve been a Democrat my whole life. This person has only fairly recently in the mid-90s become a Democrat.”
Warren has not responded to Biden’s latest attacks.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, in the second tier of the primary contenders with 78-year-old Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has also attacked Warren along similar lines over her Medicare for All proposal.
“I’m really concerned about what we’re hearing from Sen. Warren and some of the others saying you’re either for her way, or you’re for business as usual—that’s just not true,” Buttigieg, 37, said during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” this week.
“And if there is a better way to solve a policy problem that can draw people together, that should be our focus,” said Buttigieg, who has championed a so-called “Medicare for All Who Need It” proposal.
“That’s my focus on health care. That’s my focus on a number of policy issues—how do we actually solve the problem for the American people and do it in a way that invites more people in, instead of a kind of ‘my way or the highway’ approach.”