Far left Senator Elizabeth Warren launched an attack against populist Senator Jeff Sessions at Thursday’s national convention for the American Constitution Society.
Warren, apparently outraged by the Republican Party’s reluctance to confirm President Obama judicial nominees, bizarrely implied that Sessions sides with GOP “big business allies” over American workers.
“Senate Republicans and their big business allies don’t like nominees whose resumes reflect insufficient devotion to the interests of the rich and the powerful, so they smear them,” Warren said. “Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama has attacked the integrity of several of President Obama’s nominees.”
Warren says that part of Sessions’ opposition to Obama’s nominees was their “association with the American Civil Liberties Union.”
Warren failed to mention that the ACLU, among other things, has advocated for legislation to dissolve the enforcement of U.S. immigration law, has pushed to protect access to abortions on demand, and has fought for the early release of violent drug traffickers from prison.
In particular, Warren took offense to Sessions’ questioning of Paula Xinis, an Obama nominee for the U.S. District Court of Maryland. Prior to Xinis’ confirmation, the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police wrote a letter to U.S. Senators warning that Xinis had “obvious disdain for the law enforcement profession.” The group’s president— representing over 20,000 active and retired law enforcement professionals— said that Xinis’ record demonstrated a “clear bias” against law enforcement.
However, Warren did not mention this. Instead, Warren insisted that Sessions had “insulted” Xinis by asking whether she could assure the police officers that might be brought before her court that they’ll get a fair day in court.
Warren’s speech was remarkable in that its tone, while angry, was strikingly monotone: her facial expression, demeanor, and style were unchanging throughout her entire reading– creating the psychological impression in the listener that, for long stretches of text, she did not even pause to breathe. By contrast, Sessions’ speaking style– even when he takes on the largest corporate special interests– is notable for its warm demeanor, positivity, and fluid, yet unrehearsed delivery.
Warren goes on to suggest that Sessions is a defender of the Republican Party’s corporate interests and refuses to stand up for American workers.
I just want you to guess how many times Senator Sessions has questioned a fancy corporate defense lawyer asking if they would assure victims of fraud, or people poisoned by toxic waste, or people injured by shoddy products or employees who were fired illegally because they tried to join a union if they would get a fair day in court.
This declaration is striking given that Senator Sessions—more than any other member of Congress— is known for standing up to the donor class that lobbies for trade and immigration policies that hurt American workers.
Moreover, it was through Sessions’ tough prosecutorial style of questioning that Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, Lorretta Lynch, admitted her belief that foreign nationals illegally present the United States are entitled to the same rights as American citizens to get U.S. jobs. Sessions pointed out that this declaration is not only directly at odds with our immigration laws, but it represents an affront to American workers.
For years, Sessions has worked as a vocal advocate for the America worker against special moneyed interests—often taking on his Party’s own members and donors. Indeed, Sen. Sessions, unlike Warren, has slayed sacred cows of his own Party. As one political operative said, Warren’s views represents a brand of “George Clooney populism,” in which one expresses views and sentiments that will be widely cheered by celebrities, entertainers, and media institutions that dominate the culture while in no way threatening one’s own stance in one’s party, since party leaders will similarly cheer such sentiments.
By contrast, in his now-famous 2014 Masters of Universe speech, Sessions called out billionaires and immigration expansionists Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim and Rupert Murdoch. In his Senate floor speech, Sessions spoke about how the donor class’ immigration agenda would hurt job and wage opportunities for the “single mom… [that’s] trying to raise a family” or the “unemployed father.” Sessions argues that Americans—not foreign nationals—should have the first right to an American job.
Similarly, following Microsoft’s announcement that it was firing 18,000 workers, Sessions took to the Senate floor to expose the “super billionaires” Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Sheldon Adelson for continuing to push for more H-1Bs and cheap labor while laying off American workers.
So far as I can see, those three billionaires have three votes. An individual who works stocking the shelves at the grocery store, the barber, the doctor, the lawyer, the cleaners, the operator, and the person who picks up our garbage are every bit as valuable as they are. I know who I represent. I represent the citizens of the United States of America, and I am trying to do what is in their best interest. And… what may be good for Mr. Adelson and Mr. Microsoft and Mr. Buffett is not always in accord with what is good for the American people. I know that… [and] I am going to push back.
Indeed, in his outspoken– and ultimately successful– crusade to stop special interests from flooding the nation with foreign workers, Sen. Sessions collected more hours speaking on the Senate floor than any other Senator in 2013. According to the Los Angeles Times, Sessions spoke for more than 33 hours that year.
As Sessions has explained, he believes, “every senator needs to stand up and represent their constituents — not big business, not the ACLU, not activist groups, not political interests, but the American interests, the workers’ interests.”
By contrast, Elizabeth Warren voted for the 2013 Gang of Eight bill, which would have doubled the annual admission of foreign workers to compete with American workers for jobs, and would have issued 33 million green cards in the span of a single decade to flood the labor market and drive down wages.
In supporting the bill, Warren was joined by a coalition of special interests and billionaires including the Koch Brothers, Mark Zuckerberg, the Chamber of Commerce, Rupert Murdoch, George Soros, and Michael Bloomberg.
Warren also supported the 2015 omnibus spending bill, which quadrupled the controversial H-2B guest worker program. As immigration attorney Ian Smith has explained, the H-2B foreign laborers take unskilled jobs that “traditionally go to society’s most vulnerable — including single women, the disabled, the elderly, minorities, teenagers, students, and first-generation immigrants.”