Liz Warren For Senate, Initial Thoughts

We’ve always liked her as long time readers know. Her husband, Bruce Mann, too.

We just aren’t sure what kind of senator she’ll make. She was uniquely qualified to come from Harvard to run the TARP oversight committee. She showed what many already knew; she’s that rare combination of machine-gun-like rapid fire intellect, common sense, and empathy for basic common values.

Her subsequent idea of creating a new consumer rights agency wholly in keeping with her mind and values. OK, she was naive accepting Administration encouragement and blandishments at face value. Her devolution into an Administration prop trotted out for pandering their cynicism, not hers.

Now her Senate campaign opens today with big success. She’s become something of an icon for progressives seeking full throated authenticity. How will she do? Temperamentally she is the anti-Martha Coakley. Should she win the primary against half a dozen well entrenched political incumbents, she may do well.

But we’re not interested in Liz Warren the icon tonight. We wonder if this is the right thing for her, personally. Clearly she thinks so. Chalk this up to friendly musing.

We’ve worked with more than a few Senators over the years and been in (started?) not a few legislative Vietnams on that side of the Hill. Liz Warren’s qualities (some of them specifically gender related) that intimidated and infuriated senators during her doomed nomination will remain. HRC decided to deal with the club by paying her dues with unglamorous background work. It’s easy to see a Liz Warren try that approach. Even easier to see her then erupt in frustration at the surrounding stupidity.

Of one thing we are sure: she’s smart enough to know all this already.


  1. Guar says

    @Dr Leo Strauss
    Oh, I’m in perfect agreement with you; women who are unabashed and less than docile in their political aspirations are tarred either as substance-less, fame-hungry bimbos who ought to be ignored when they’re not being salivated over, or as frumpy, angry mommy-figures who ought to be ignored for being too menstrual or being too post-menstrual. Either road, their voices are actively silenced and diminished, what accomplishments they’re able to achieve overlooked or ascribed to someone with a penis, and when the extent to which they have they have been personally oppressed is revealed for all and sundry to condemn, they’re generally expected to shoulder the most of the blame. And that’s when they’re not pushed into an obscure administrative position and exhausted with busy work. Just wanted to clarify the thought that informed the descriptive “gender related,” which suggested an essentialism I didn’t think which was intentional.

  2. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Let’s put it this way – there are many current senators who are threatened, intimidated or otherwise extremely uncomfortable dealing with an extraordinarily intelligent, unquestionably substantive woman who is more concerned about that substance than adherence to ‘the game’ and its dances.

    That was true when LW set up the TARP oversight, trebly true when she advocated new consumer rights and actual protections and would be exponentially more so were she to join the World’s Greatest Debating society. But then according to books, women don’t do well in the Administration either.

  3. Guar says

    @Dr Leo Strauss
    All right. If I follow your point, her simply being a woman is going to be a problem, then. I wholly agree with that, but I’d like to confirm that that’s what you’re suggesting.

  4. Dr Leo Strauss says

    @Guar Unartful drafting – the point was that her qualities, simply because she was a woman, threatened, intimidated and otherwise put off some of old boys’c club.

  5. jwb says

    @Comment I rule out virtually no scenario these days. The chaos of uncertainty amplifies existing power (or perhaps it is that existing power must increase its amperage for its force to be maintained), but it also opens opportunities for the unforeseen to appear. The chaos grows daily and is unlikely to be diminished by the election in 2012 however it turns out.

    Still, if you believe Warren would make a great President (it is a most lovely thought), winning a seat in the Senate would make that scenario more likely. But the presidency is an intellectual warp field like no other and it is almost impossible to predict how a particular individual will fare within it. Which is why electing presidents is such a crap shoot on the one hand but on the other hand few appear to rise above indifferent at any particular moment (though in retrospect, you can often recognize genius that is lost in the moment, if for no other reason that Presidents, of all the political actors, need to keep most of their cards, especially their longer term strategy, hidden).

  6. anxiousmodernman says

    I lose all my hardbitten leftist cred when I get as pleased as I am by this gesture.

  7. Comment says

    That squalid little man McHenry – totally her opposite in almost every respect. Great foil.

  8. Comment says

    She’s extremely intelligent and personality wise her modesty slapped by reality strikes us as great. I think she’d be a great President – but that ain’t gonna happen.

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