Howard Schultz, the controversial outgoing Executive Chairman of Starbucks Coffee Company — and now a prospective 2020 candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination — ripped the Democrats Tuesday morning in an interview on CNBC, suggesting the Democratic party needs a leader who won't let it veer too far to the left.
Schultz also criticized Democrats for overspending, for promising to enact a single-payer healthcare system, and promising to provide jobs to the unemployed.
Schultz's harsh words for Democrats might come as a shock: as CEO of Starbucks, Schultz reserved his criticism largely for conservatives. Schultz was vocally opposed to Donald Trump's so-called "Muslim" travel ban, was behind company-wide efforts to encourage "conversations" about race and gender, declared his cafes national "gun free zones," eliminated Christmas-themed decorations from the company's holiday cups and merchandise, and pledged to hire 10,000 refugees as a way of protesting the Trump Administration's immigration policies.
Those policies ended up costing Starbucks with consumers and with the company's own shareholders, something Schultz seemed fine with, so long as he was allowed to promote his leftist agenda through his coffee shops.
Now, charged with potentially handling more practical problems, it seems Schultz is trying to rebrand himself as a political and economic moderate, with a domestic policy agenda more similar to Hillary Clinton's than Bernie Sanders'.
"It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left," Schultz told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "I say to myself, 'How are we going to pay for these things,' in terms of things like single payer [and] people espousing the fact that the government is going to give everyone a job. I don't think that's realistic."
"I think we got to get away from these falsehoods and start talking about the truth and not false promises," he continued. "I think the greatest threat domestically to the country is this $21 trillion debt hanging over the cloud of America and future generations. The only way we're going to get out of that is we've got to grow the economy, in my view, 4 percent or greater. And then we have to go after entitlements."
It's nearly sacrosanct for a Democrat to suggest curbing entitlement spending, but Schultz is a businessman. It is hard to imagine, however, him succeeding in a crowded 2020 field with such . . . Republican . . . ideas.