Sen. Mark Warner Equates Progressives With Tea Party Activists, Provoking Outrage From MoveOn

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called for compromise and cooperation between Democrats and Republicans during remarks in Virginia on Monday, and equated the Tea Party movement on the right with progressive MoveOn.org activists.

"There's a super left on my party -- the MoveOn crowd in my party -- and the Tea Party crowd on the other party," he said after a meeting with tourism officials in Staunton, Va. "You know, they don't compromise. So I, for one, am -- there are too many times I bit my lip in the first year, or bit my tongue. I'm done."

"Democrats just lost an election where much of the base didn't turn out, and voters felt like Democrats weren't on their side," responded MoveOn Executive Director Justin Ruben in a statement to The Huffington Post. "Senator Warner's response is to falsely equate 5 million MoveOn members, including over 102,000 in Virginia -- people from all walks of life who worked tirelessly for Democrats in Virginia and all across the country -- with the racist and xenophobic far-right wing of the Republican Party. If Mark Warner's recipe for victory is to attack the core of supporters still willing to back Democrats, and to promise more deals with corporate Republicans, anyone who cares about progress should look elsewhere for leadership."

Also in his remarks on Monday, Warner said that both sides must be part of the solution now that Democrats can't "jam stuff through" and Republicans "can't just say no."

"There's going to be one of two routes," said Warner. "We're either going to let the extremes, who say no negotiation under any terms, rule the day, or the folks who want to find some common ground in the middle are going to have to step up."


The site Blue Virginia points out that this isn't the first time that Warner has gone after what he views as the intransigence of progressives in his party. Speaking on energy policy in January, Warner told "some of our more liberal Democrats in the room" that they can't always take a "purist approach."

"That this is not going to be totally solved by some airy dream of it's just gonna be all solar and wind -- that nuclear has to be a piece of this, that coal has to be a piece of this, that there's gonna be a portfolio approach," said Warner. "And I think those three factors make the possibilities of some action on this area on a national basis much higher than it was, say, six months ago."