Some thoughts on Senator Elizabeth Warren

Posted by

It’s way too early in the game to get into endorsing candidates in this space. What are we, years before the first primary? Ok, maybe not years—but you get the idea. Now we’re up to 22 candidates, with Governor Steve Bullock of Montana ready to throw his hat in the ring. I think we’re approaching the saturation point, are we not?

But, the debates begin next month, and perhaps we can start to see a thinning of candidates in the not too distant future. Nevertheless, when there’s a candidate out there who impresses me with an idea, policy proposal, or statement, I’m going to weigh in. A few days ago, it was Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, with her bold plan to increase voter participation with an election voucher system.

As I mentioned in the piece, it may never see the light of day as far as becoming law. But in my mind, at least she’s advancing the twin narratives that not enough people participate in the election process, and that corporations and the wealthy have pretty much taken over our democracy. It’s a good proposal, if not a practical one as far as our political discourse is concerned.

But today, my focus is on Senator Warren. It’s not any particular proposal. It’s not a specific idea, or statement either. Actually, it’s all three. Frankly, I’m blown away with how she seems to be separating herself from the rest of the pack. Truthfully though, I’m not surprised. She’s impressed me since the first time she came on to the scene.

It was in 2009 when we were in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. She had been selected to serve on a Congressional Oversight Committee that was formed to make sure that TARP(Troubled Asset Relief Program), the $700 billion bailouts of the financial banking system, was being implemented correctly, as well as reviewing the state of markets and regulatory programs. She was named chairperson of the panel.

What I remembered most, was her intellect. That, and her dogged questioning of then Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geitner. I remembered Geitner squirming on more than a few occasions, and Warren indeed showed her mistrust of Wall Street and the ‘fat cats.’ And of course, it was Warren who was the brainchild behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created to provide consumers protection in the financial sector … an agency currently under a full and complete assault from the Trump Administration, by the way.

Warren is setting the tone thus far. She’s putting out proposals, seemingly daily. She’s active on Twitter, always weighing in on relevant topics of the day. She calls out Trump and the Republican Party for their daily allegiances to the corporations and other special interest groups. And, she’s showing an uncanny ability to connect with regular folks.

But wait, how can this be? I’ve been told she’s not likable enough. I’ve also been told she doesn’t have the ‘it’ factor one needs to become the nominee. But there she was the other day, standing in front of a town hall crowd of Trump voters in West Virginia, speaking compassionately about the opioid addiction problem there, and offering solutions. I saw many a voter there shaking and nodding there head in approval, as she went about explaining things, like the professor she used to be. She seemed plenty likable to me.

Look, I get it. We all want to find the best candidate who will defeat Donald Trump. But, I also want to find the best candidate who will be a great president—not just someone we all think will beat Trump.

It would be nice if that candidate is one and the same. And I realize here is where it gets a bit tricky.

Conventional Wisdom has it that former Vice-President Joe Biden is the one guy who can beat Trump. I understand why that is. He’s got stature, name recognition, and an ability to connect to those working-class voters who supported Trump in 2016. But folks, he’s 76 years old. I know he’s still sharp as a tack, and I’m not trying to be an age discriminator here. But I’m just not so sure that the train hasn’t already left the station for Biden. This isn’t his first try at the big prize, and for sure, this will be his last … regardless of the outcome.

My point here is that excitement among Democrats is a must. Mobilizing the base cannot be underestimated. Will men and women of color turn out in droves for Biden, as they did for his former boss President Obama? How about millennials and white women? We need overwhelming turn out from the electorate in general, and I’m a little wary of entrusting that to a guy who has been around as long as Joe Biden. We have to get this right.

Can Elizabeth Warren garner the excitement we’re going to need in 2020? Again, I’m not sure at this point. And, I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t mention the fact that Warren isn’t exactly a spring chicken. If she were to win the presidency in 2020, she would be 71 years old on inauguration day. In other words, she has a lot of work to do. I think the debates will tell us more. Right now, the polling shows Biden in a strong position. But, it’s still early.

I hope that Democrats, in general, will have an open mind towards all of the candidates. Many have already discounted Warren as having any chance of being the nominee. And, we can’t ignore the cult-like following that Senator Bernie Sanders enjoys either. If the last election is any indication, if Bernie isn’t the nominee, many of his supporters would rather sit out the election than have to vote for anyone else. If that happens? I don’t even want to go there.

Be that as it may, Elizabeth Warren is presenting herself as a viable and intriguing candidate. She’s got the intellect. She certainly has an abundance of ideas and policy proposals. And, in my view, her central campaign theme—that our democracy is rigged for those at the top—resonates on many levels. We must also give her props for visiting not only predominantly African-American communities but also her forays into the belly of the beast—Trump country.

Frankly, I do not ascribe to the idea that America may not want to vote for a woman president at this time. Whether Warren will be that woman is anyone’s best guess at this point. But, I can certainly see a President Warren. I can imagine it because when she burst on to the scene in 2009, amid the worst financial crisis in generations, I remember saying to myself how impressed I was with her performance. I saw the potential back then, and I see it now playing out in front of us.

Can you see Senator Warren debating Donald Trump in the fall of 2020? I certainly can. I’m not quite ready to coronate Joe Biden as the presumptive nominee. The media certainly seems to be telling us that it’s a foregone conclusion. To my fellow Democrats I say … not so fast. Let’s take a deep breath and let the chips fall where they may. If Joe Biden happens to win the nomination, I will support him with every fiber of my being. Because no matter who wins it, they will be a million times better than what we have now. To that, there is no debate.

14 comments

  1. I’m still deciding. I’m not really swooning over Biden, but I have reservations about Warren. Actually, at this point, I’m not real enthused about any of them. Each has her/his good points … and bad points.

    Truth be known, I would like to see some of the “lesser-knowns” rise to the top so we can get a good look at them. But the way the political process generally goes, it’s the “big names” that get all the attention.

    Good post, by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nan. I’m hoping the debates give us a little better idea of how this thing is going to shake out. I really like Warren, as you could probably tell. I’m well aware of her downside though. Maybe she will change minds. Maybe she won’t. Like I said though, I’ll vote for any of them over you know who. I keep having this fantasy that he will resign because his businesses are taking a big hit……wishful thinking eh??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, probably wishful thinking. On the other hand, there are those who believe that focused thoughts can alter events … so who knows? Perhaps if we all “oooommmm” and concentrate things will change for the better?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Roger. We haven’t heard much about Brexit over here. The orange menace in the White House sucks all the oxygen out of the air. I did hear he’s supposed to visit you all across the pond in the coming weeks. I’m hearing he may have a somewhat hostile welcoming?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The only people who would make him welcome are the odd sorts who post up messages on social media just to annoy liberals and left-wingers. Not that those messages make a lot of sense, I once upset one guy on Facebook by asking him politely if he could explain his point in English.
        It would be impossible to explain the current state of Brexit. People outside of the UK would ask sensible questions such as
        1.’Why does the UK parliament vote against every solution?’ or
        2.’Why does everyone in her party blame Prime Minister May when it was a team effort to get where they are?’
        3. ‘Why can’t the current Labour Party destroy the government when it’s in a state previous Labour Leaders only ever dreamed about?’
        Then there is the questions which dare not be voiced in public:
        1. Who do you think voted for this mess and still remains divided down the middle?
        2. Did anyone ever think of getting together and nudging parliament by common consensus?
        Nnnnoooo.
        Truth be known, the people of the UK have nobody to blame but themselves for this mess.
        Never mind we have a vote in for members of the European Parliament next Thursday which half the nation say we shouldn’t be in (But Scotland thinks otherwise. The Welsh think we should leave while ignoring the fact that a large amount of EU funding came its way. In Northern Ireland they do things their way, which only makes sense in Northern Ireland).
        This is how nations decline.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It does appear to be a mess from my vantage point. Can I assume that you think going forward with Brexit would be a bad idea? It just seems that leaving the EU seems to be a lot more trouble than what it’s worth….Am I wrong here?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No you are spot on the money!
        Did anyone truly think we could leave a multi-national organisation involving trade, movement, security, ease of access through nations to name but few having been involved for 40+ years with ease???
        As was the case of many a nation, we are fading as a power. Historically as a nation of power and influence we are living on our past reputation and the nebulous world of finance. We do not have a large navy, we do not have a merchant marine, a large swath of our manufacturing and utilities are owned by overseas corporations.
        We cannot in this present stage of history survive on our own and expect to play on the world stage. Nor can we expect to be the masters of our own fate when it comes to the infrastructure.
        Those who think we can make it alone are simply not reading the History of Nations throughout the centuries .
        We can accept decline, hunker down and deal with it.
        Or we can stay within a group and work within.
        Our time on the world stage is over. Brexit is merely a last desperate dance of the deluded and an open door into a loss of independence.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. A complete mess. The world order is changing my friend. I hope that democracy will still win out in the long run. But, I’m not as confidant these days. When America elects a man with a propensity for autocratic and dictatorial actions….we’re in a very scary place indeed.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Indeed.
        I was never one much for understanding the depths and nuances of poetry. However Y.B. Yates’ ‘The Second Coming’ has chilling resonances these days; particularly as it was written in 1919 just as populism and nationalism began to rear their heads.
        Indeed the line:
        ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold’ seems to have a grim prescience.
        I would love to be proven wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post, Jeff! I somehow missed this one last week. I’m beginning to change my view of Warren’s viability … as you know, I’ve always liked her and her ideas, but did not feel she was the one who could win the nomination and then beat Trump, but now I’m not so sure. Biden, despite polling well and having the most money, hasn’t a prayer at the end of the day, I think. It bothers me that it seems to be the case these days that “whoever has the most toys, wins”, or whoever can collect the most money has the best shot. This is what Citizens United has done to our election process. Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Jill. Yes, I agree with you about Biden and I’m just not that excited about him. Look, I’m sure you and I both will support him if he’s the guy. But I’d sure love it if a woman could win the nomination and then kick the orange guy’s butt. I’m still open to Harris and Kloubacher…hell…all of them. But Warren is someone to watch. She’s connecting!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s