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Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Elizabeth Warren is running for president

Posted by James McPherson on April 23, 2014

elizabeth warrenThough I rarely produce journalistic scoops these days, here’s something that you can say that you read here first: Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will run for president in 2016, despite what she told ABC just a couple of days ago. Even if Chris Cillizza states flatly, “Elizabeth Warren is almost certainly not running for president in 2016.”

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps even Warren herself doesn’t know that she’ll be a candidate in 2016. And though I’m often blown away by her intelligence and her grasp of economic issues — and so I shouldn’t suggest that I know something she doesn’t — here are six reasons that I know she’ll run:

First, she wrote a book. And not just any book, as Mother Jones’ Andy Kroll pointed out yesterday, but “a campaign book.” Not a major policy work, but an autobiography, “nothing explosive, but juicy enough to feed the Washington media machine.” A book that “can, at times, read like an extended stump speech.”

Years ago, in my book about the post-World War II rise of conservatism in the U.S. (and previously on this blog), I compared Barack Obama’s campaign to those of earlier candidates. I wrote that Obama “wrote a popular book that might be compared to conservative icon Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative. Obama’s The Audacity of Hope offered an image for the nation’s political future, calling for in one reviewer’s words, ‘a mode of liberalism that sounds both highly pragmatic and deeply moral.'”

A second reason I believe Warren will run is that we’re seemingly seeing her everywhere. Some of the most effective Senators — such as Hillary Clinton, for example — become what are known as legislative “work horses,” keeping their heads down and doing the hard work of legislating. Others become “show horses,” speaking out not only in public hearings but whenever they can on television. Do a search on YouTube for “Elizabeth Warren.” The result? “About 221,000 results.”

Third, Warren not only seems to be everywhere, but she also has something to say. As I wrote about Obama, in my book: Both Obama and Ronald Reagan “found themselves in demand as speakers inside and outside their parties. Though Reagan had a sharper wit, a folksier manner, and a more practiced delivery, both he and Obama spoke on behalf of their values in direct, positive and personal ways that connected with listeners.” Warren may be smarter than either of those men, and manages to tell us horrible news about financial institutions  in a way that makes it seem as if there might be an answer.

Fourth, Warren herself is the answer for the problems she raises, problems that most Americans can identify with. Without her, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would not exist. She rightfully should have been that agency’s first director, but Obama chickened out from appointing her, convinced that opposition from banks and Republicans would be too strong for her to be confirmed.

Fifth, as just pointed out, banks and Republicans don’t like Warren. That makes her appealing to Democrats who don’t happen to be bankers, and helps her raise money. Even if she were wishy-washy about the idea of running, she’d be getting a lot of pressure to run.

And finally, a sixth reason we should expect Warren to be a candidate: Her timing will likely never be better. Many said that Obama was running “too soon,” that he should wait four or eight more years to run. I think that his presidency — and the nation — has suffered in some respects because of his lack of experience. But as I have noted, we actually seem to prefer inexperience in our presidential nominees. Someone such as John Kerry or John McCain or Hillary Clinton who has served for a long period of time in government has a record that can be used and distorted by opponents.

Besides, if not now, when? If a Democrat should happen to win the presidency in 2016, that person would probably seek re-election in 2020. The earliest that Warren could run in that case would be in 2024, after she had already served a dozen years in the Senate (assuming she won a second term; if she lost a Massachusetts Senate race she couldn’t be a credible Democratic candidate afterward).

So, there you have it. She’s running. And if I’m wrong, well, I’ll be just like every other political pundit, hoping no one remembers later.



28 Responses to “Elizabeth Warren is running for president”

  1. melfamy said

    I thought the same thing, James. She has been too visible.
    However, now that corporations are people, I am getting behind the Pfizer/Ford ticket.

  2. Now that’s funny!

  3. She voted for the NDAA … http://youtu.be/nXpdJLJqG9U

  4. Indeed. Her and everyone else in the Senate. So the only ones who might be able to use it against her are people not in the Senate who say they’d have voted otherwise (as Obama said — probably falsely — about the Iraq War). http://www.policymic.com/articles/20835/why-the-ndaa-bill-is-even-scarier-than-you-thought

  5. Yes, exactly my point. She’s another puppet. Voting for her is voting for continuation of the corporations running the government.

  6. Perhaps so, though it may be too early to tell. (Well, other than the meta-conclusion that we’re all puppets; the only difference is who pulls our strings.)

    But as I recall (correct me if I’m wrong), you favor not voting for anyone, including at the local level. So I can’t imagine that what candidates end up running (or elected) means much to you, anyway. And the electoral system isn’t going anywhere until/unless there’s a total crash, in which case our opinions about politics are meaningless, it seems.

  7. Hey James…, hope you don’t mind…, I linked to this piece by Numerian…, “The Great Expectency” over at The Agonist. In his comments he said in reference to Hillary, “What’s sadder still is that the Democratic Party doesn’t have the capability of offering up even token opposition to her, to force her to modify her views.”

    I replied, “Well Numerian…, First Off…,
    my young (compared to me) friend James McPherson says that “Elizabeth Warren is Running for President” over on his Media & Politics Blog. I agree with him and hope he is right. Not sure how she would be on foreign policy…, but she couldn’t be any worse than what we have experienced over the last decade…, and she would be a blessing on fiscal and monetary and regulatory policy.”

    Right on partner…, write on.

  8. I don’t mind at all, Scott — I’m pleased that you found it worth sharing. Many thanks.

  9. I sure hope she does run James…, I would even go to the trouble of casting a vote myself. Can’t think of anyone with a hope and a prayer who would be better?

  10. No, offhand, I can’t either — though I have to admit that beyond what I’ve seen of her criticism of Wall Street (which I like), I don’t know enough about her to say today that I’d vote for her. But today I’d pick her above Hillary or any GOP contenders I’ve seen named.

  11. James,
    You and Greg better run back over to the RNL. It looks dead over there without your comments.

  12. May it rest in peace. 🙂

  13. Amen

  14. melfamy said

    Without me, they’re nothing!

  15. 🙂

  16. If only they could realize that, Greg.

  17. William said

    I think they’ve pretty much turned the RNL over to Dusty……..

  18. melfamy said

    Says a lot about their respect for the truth

  19. I just stopped in over there, briefly. I see that I haven’t missed anything — Dusty is still recycling Internet fables, and the RNL squad is apparently letting him run the show. One example: http://therionorteline.com/2014/05/30/bill-clintons-military-career/. Gee, remember when Dusty got “suspended” from the site for repeating falsehoods, back when Joe and Utah pretended they were trying to build a credible political site?

    I stopped in to see how Joe would justify the latest round of mass shootings, but he’s apparently off loading ammo somewhere. I scrolled through a few old posts, though, and enjoyed seeing this line from Greg to Utah: “Since you are so anal as to save all your old comments, why don’t you scroll back and tell us again how you assumed that Spokane, Washington, has less crime because it has fewer black residents than the average big American city? It took me a minute, tops, to find out that Spokane has one of the highest crime rates, per capita, in the United States.” http://therionorteline.com/2014/04/25/cliven-bundy-and-the-issue-of-race/

    I notice that he didn’t answer.

  20. I see that Joe is blaming the media for gun violence on his new site, though: http://theoyl.com/2014/05/28/agenda-the-gun-grabbers-know-it-is-not-guns-it-is-the-entertainment-culture/

  21. William said

    There must be a story somewhere about Cantor losing, right?

  22. Probably, William, but I’m not sure that his loss means much in the long run, and I’m happy to see him slink back under a rock. If I were moved to write a post, it might be another about the American idiocy of guns, and the morons carrying rifles into Target stores. As I noted on Facebook: SInce these open-carry jackasses tend to be the same idiots who strongly support “stand your ground” laws that say I can shoot anyone who scares me, and since people who unnecessarily pack guns into Target scare me, I assume I’m justified in shooting them. Welcome to the Wild West.

  23. William Gates said

    Just more cases of them doing things because they can. I’m down with self defense, but some people just have to take things to the extreme. Generally, most things labeled extreme are pretty much stupid.

  24. Dusty misses you all.

  25. Not as much as he misses a lot of brain cells, William. Is he running things there now? And is anyone bothering to comment other than the regular whiners?

  26. I stopped in and just saw his usual email posts—he even brought a birther one back!

    All I saw were the usual ones. I don’t think Joe visits very much, if at all, but the others are still around (Kells, Augger, Dusty, Don).

  27. melfamy said

    It isn’t what Dusty misses that counts, it’s what he’s missing…..common sense, empathy, logical thinking

  28. I’m sure there are others……..

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