Warren Reportedly Ready to Drink From Poisoned Chalice of a Senate Bid

I’m disappointed to have learned from a credible source that despite her public “I”m taking some time off to think about it” stance, Elizabeth Warren has formed a committee to run for Senate in Massachusetts. I’m told she could repurpose it for a Presidential campaign but my sense is the odds are against it.

My mole, who has done granular work on Massachusetts elections, is pretty confident her bid will fail despite the fact that Scott Brown does not have terribly deep support by the center and left. He says (as we and others have) that out of state money corporate money would pour into Scott’s coffers, making it even harder to overcome the advantages he enjoys as an incumbent. In addition, Harvard professors are not a demographic that plays well in much of the state. And this reading comes from someone who is ideologically sympathetic and would support her campaign.

Whatever reasons Warren may have for launching a Senate campaign, they will pale in comparison to the perceptions that will mount whether she fails or succeeds.

Warren appears to have no clue as to how badly she and the CFPB will be damaged if she runs for the Senate and loses. If she can’t get the votes in a perceived-to-be-pinko state like Massachusetts, politicians will think nothing of ignoring her and her issues. By contrast, she would not be expected to win a Presidential campaign, and that effort would raise her profile and give her a chance to carry her message to new audiences.

After having been badly used by the Administration (the lack of visible support and the persistent pressure for her to leave was palpable), it is remarkable that she is willing to sign up for further exploitation by the Democrats. She was betrayed by Tom Miller and the Obama Administration on the mortgage settlement negotiations. Someone from the AG/federal regulator side of the table , which was tantamount to throwing bloody meat into a tank of Republican piranhas.

This hatchet job might have been the handiwork of bank-lobbyist-in-regulator’s-clothing Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. However, the fact that absolutely no one, not Geithner, not Miller, defended her when Republican Congresscritters started calling for her scalp says this was a sanctioned effort, and not mere inter-regulaory sniping.

From the standpoint of the Democratic apparatus, having Warren run is a no-lose proposition. If she were to win, she would be expected to carry the party’s water. Make no mistake about it, that is required of a Senator.

For someone who has presented herself as a stanch defender of the middle class, to put herself in the position of being a Democratic pol, subject to the requirement of going along to get along, is a Colin Powell “there are WMDs in Iraq” level PR poly. And the long term damage to Warren’s reputation is likely to be as severe as Powell’s taking a bullet for the Bush Administration proved to be.

Running for Senate means Warren has implicitly agreed to support Obama on:

1. Balancing the budget on the backs of middle class families, in particular cutting Social Security and Medicare

2. Standing with Obama on his bank friendly policies, such as:

– Not prosecuting the banks for fraud and mortgage abuses

– Remaining silent as the CFPB is neutered (she can’t do her promise “blood and teeth on the floor” routine from within the Senate; she’d be restricted to letters asking obnoxious pointed questions in letters and hearings)

3. Supporting the war in Libya

4. Refusing to take unemployment seriously

5. Continuing the policies of extraordinary rendition and torture, which put US soldiers at risk and damages US credibility around the world

Even if Warren bucks the will of the party with some frequency, she will nevertheless be perceived to have sacrificed her independence and agreed to serve as a standard-bearer for all that Obama and corporatist Dems stand for. I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with house nemesis Dan Duncan:

Right now Warren’s beauty as a candidate is frozen in time. She should keep it that way….

In this frame, she is free from time, yet she is simultaneously frozen in time. She is free to singularly co-exist as being both a “DC Outsider” and a Status Quo Harvard Insider. She does not have to confront compromise and “the process of governance”. She is “Forever Progressive.”

If Warren thinks she will need to have “plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor,” the Senate is no place for her.

Remember further that Obama has been actively working to neutralize progressives to reinforce the message that they have no home and the best option they have is a corporate-serving Democratic party that is slightly less rapacious than the Republicans. Obama and his operatives would not be disappointed to see Warren lead quixotic liberals to a crushing defeat while diverting GOP money to Massachusetts. Whatever promises they are making to her, they are lying, and they have already thrown one female Massachusetts Senate candidate under the bus. Warren appears to be trusting Democratic party apparatchiks who pretend to share her priorities but are animated entirely by the party hierarchy. She’s been burned yet seems willing to come back for more of the same.

But separate from the Democratic hackocracy’s calculus, what does would a Senate seat do for Warren? It is not an exaggeration to say that she has become a national asset. She has become a clear spoken and effective advocate for the middle class. She has excellent relationships with the media and has enhanced her stature by being willing to take fire for her beliefs.

In business, successful leaders think carefully about the highest and best use of their assets, skills, and opportunities. As we’ve stressed in earlier posts, running for Senate is , such as primarying Obama or setting up a shadow CFPB. And none of these alternatives has the downside risk of undermining her tenacious effort to make the CFPB a reality.

I can see I’ve misread her. I had mistaken stubbornness in standing up to the Administration for courage. They gave her the rope they thought she’d hang herself with. When she exceeded pretty much everyone’s expectations, they failed to come to her aid when outraged Republicans set their sights on her. The Administration’s allies then tried to press her to make a Senate bid to give them a graceful way out of their obvious plan not to nominate her as head of the CFPB, but she stayed in her post and forced them to pass her over.

I have no idea whether Warren probable decision to again become a pawn of people whose interests are not aligned with hers results from Stockholm Syndrome, bad advice, ego, intellectual capture, or being an incrementalist and thus unable to recognize that the system is broken and more radical courses of action are warranted. And ultimately, it is moot, because whatever her motivations are, Warren looks to be willing to give her good name to a bad cause, namely, an Administration which has been far too soft on bank misconduct and has no compunctions about throwing the middle class under the bus. For a while, she managed to escape the worst of what looked like a Faustian pact. Perhaps the devil has now come to demand his due.

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111 comments

  1. jest

    What about an independent bid, ala Sanders or even Lieberman?

    It would be tough, since she wouldn’t have the fundraising apparatus that a Democrat would have, but it would solve some of your concerns.

    Especially if the Dems pull a deal similar to what they do with Sanders in VT, meaning they don’t run a Democrat against her in the general.

    1. K Ackermann

      You should read her other post on this. The point is to primary Obama, not win the presidency (which she can’t).

      She can shift the dialog in a big way, though.

    2. vlade

      While better than running as Dem, it would still be not much.
      As I wrote in comment on some other post – any option needs to be considered in the light of how it would get closer the goal. I don’t believe running for Senate will help achieve what most people believe Warren’s goals are.

      If Warren decides to run for Senate, there’s a few options:
      – she has a cunning plan that we can’t see (I just hope it’s not as cunning as Baldric’s plans).
      – she’s politicaly naive
      – her goals are differen from what most people believe them to (in less pretty words, she’d do Obama on her voters).

      If she decides to run, and doesn’t explain well why she believes it helps her achieve the (currently presumed) goals, I’d say the later two options are more likely. In either of those, Warren’s not the saviour she’s being projected as, and the only real loss was of some illusions. In fact, it might even help some people to stop looking for likely saviours, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

      1. psychohistorian

        Yeah, there is a LOT of projection going on here. I wonder why?

        The lack of “public” forward and critical thinking folk is a feature of our current society. The good ones have been killed or marginalized.

        When our country was born it was harder then to eliminate folk like Warren from across the pond…not so much now and I don’t see that changing what with the NEW domestic radicalism initiatives.

        I see the strategy at the top being to continue killing or marginalizing any leadership that emerges. This just leaves them with a boiling mass of people that have no cohesion against the existing power structure. When mass uprisings occur they can easily be put down and publicly painted to become the focus of the hatred dujour by the media. This strategy has and continues to work for them all over the world, in case you haven’t been watching American imperialism for the past 50+ years.

        When will they come for me?

        When will they come for you?

        1. ambrit

          My Dear Psychohistorian;
          Remember that back then, 1760’s and 1770’s, there was a robust opposition movement in Parliament, that supported the colonists goals. There are even theories suggesting that the worst general-in-chief, Cornwallis, was deliberately sent over to the Americas to knobble through incompetence the Crowns’ plans. Finally, the Americans had a well organized insurgency, through the Committees of Correspondence. The present American Oligarchs have ‘captured’ the domestic media. (Chomsky is right about this.) It’s a sad day when Westerners have to watch alJazeera English to get an even partially balanced view of current events.
          So, perhaps the best thing ‘Progressives’ could do for Mz Warren would be to ‘primary’ her in Massachusetts and show her just “which way the wind blows.”

        2. Dan Duncan

          Wow. First problem, of course, is that while we can all appreciate the “psycho” element to your writing…it is clear that “Paranoid-Historian” is a more accurate and appropriate moniker.

          Second problem: Who is “them”? And no, I’m not referring to the “they” in the Niemoller ditty. I’m referring to the “them” when you write:

          I see the strategy at the top being to continue killing or marginalizing any leadership that emerges. This just leaves them with a boiling mass of people that have no cohesion against the existing power structure.

          Seriously, paranoidhistorian…WTF is “them”? Is “them” simply “the top”?

          And “the top” would be….? Oh, wait, I know: “The Top” is “them”.

          And further demonstrating your “forward and critical thinking”, how did “this” really go down with Elizabeth Warren?

          Did “the top” see that Warren was effectively defending the Middle Class…thus “they” decided to “eliminate” her by making her run for the Senate? WTF are you talking about?

          When will “they” come for you paranoidhistorian?

          They already did.

          1. psychohistorian

            I may regret this but read closely Dan.

            In 2004 I was ed by someone with a working CIA email address and told that I was listened to as I said negative things about our then current president in a conversation with an overseas vendor.

            I don’t think I am paranoid Dan. Do you think I should be?

          2. Elizabeth

            I think you’re being a bit unfair, Dan. It’s not paranoid to see the reality that the Dems are just a front for right action, talking about all the wrong things and doing none of them; they’ll sacrifice their own to sabotage every action they say they stand for. Yes, “they” will come for you eventually if you don’t take notice. They already have, as you say. They’ve taken every hope of a society built on fairness and the rule of law and given you a pleasant show instead of the real thing. What do you have left? Heed the warning shots, will you?

            Sacrificing Warren was very transparent. I don’t know why she would agree to be a Democratic candidate for anything after that. I suggest she start a weekly syndicated radio spot — or Internet or what-have-you — like Reagan did in the ’70s, and build her own constituency by saying the plain truth as her listeners see it. Then political parties have to come to her, not the other way around.

        3. Matt Stoller

          Generally the tactic at least domestically is marginalization, not murder. There was high-level chatter about targeting Daniel Ellsburg for assassination, but that never got anywhere.

          There’s a bright line between the murder of one’s domestic political opponents and the marginalization of them.

          1. ambrit

            Mr Stoller;
            There also used to be rules against the murder of ‘foreign nationals’ for political purposes. At the least, lip service was paid to that animating principle. Now the velvet gloves are off. Throngs in Times Square party to celebrate the killing of binLaden, not his capture and trial. This is exactly the trajectory of an end stage Imperialism. We all used to laugh at the Comcon charges of ‘Capitalist Imperialist Warmangering,’ precisely because the Comcons were doing the same thing. Now that we are the only Superpower afloat, where is the enlightened flowering of the Democracy we were ostensibly fighting for? Instead, we get yet more fear mongering and bigger and better ‘State Security Services.’ The means have become the ends. God help us.

          2. toxymoron

            IIRC, President Obama has signed two assassination authorizations, one against an Egyptian citizen, and one against an American citizen.
            And Gitmo does not match my definition of ‘marginalization’.

    3. Scaypgrayce

      As a Vermonter – currently transplanted to DC, where I have a ringside seat to the freakshow – and a former Bernie staffer, let me say there are BIG differences here. Bernie had a significant track record as mayor of Burlington before going to Congress, then the Senate, and was well-known around Vermont. Elizabeth Warren, much as I admire her, does not have something like that.

      And don’t even mention Lie-berman in the same sentence, or even the same page, as Bernie Sanders.

  2. toxymoron

    I thought she would get killed prior to the election, but apparently she got ‘captured’ prior to the primary.

  3. M.InTheCity

    Gah! It’s too bad to see her go down that route. She’s shown the limitations in her ability/imagination to see the real problems. It takes some serious 3-dimentional thinking and courage to realise the system is broken and entering it won’t fix it. It will only implicate her. Maybe someone should send her some Hannah Arendt?

  4. spooz

    I had the same idea, Warren running as an independent. Its time for an independent party to emerge, with grass roots support. She could stand up for integrity in a sea of corruption. I could see this getting big through social networking.

  5. NYT

    Off-topic but this looks like the shape of things to come:

    “Retired city workers might not be so lucky. Instead of $296,000 in pension checks promised before Central Falls became the second U.S. municipality to seek Chapter 9 protection this year, the retirees could get only $196,000 in payments next month—a 34% cut.
    Pension payments usually are sacrosanct. But a Rhode Island law enacted in July upends the traditional pecking order of who gets paid first when a city or county becomes insolvent”

    1. Anonymous

      Wow. Signed into law by principled republican-turned-independent centrist savior Lincoln Chafee?

      Hahahha.

  6. Max424

    Couldn’t agree more Yves.

    After witnessing the interminable 25(?) month faux debate on on the debt “crisis,” I firmly believe, the Senate can no longer be considered the Club of the Living Dead, but must be recognized, as the Club of the Already Dead.

    Now, other than a suicidal maniac, who would want to join the Club of the Already Dead?

    If Warren pursues this quixotic (idiotic) course, I’m going to re-buy The Two Income Trap,* then I’m going to toss it in a specially prepared, one book bonfire.

    *I gave my original copy to a mumbling, bumbling, door to door NYPIRG rep, and told her, “Read this tome to the middle-class, then stick it up your centrist, bi-partisan ass.”

  7. After having been badly used by the Administration (the lack of visible support and the persistent pressure for her to leave was palpable), it is remarkable that she is willing to sign up for further exploitation by the Democrats.

    Perhaps an alternate reading better fits the evidence?

    “After having been badly used by the Elizabeth Warren (the lack of her acknowledgement of the facts of the Bailout and kleptocracy, and on the contrary her being the good little system soldier, has been palpable), it is remarkable that “progressives” and others who want to reject the system but at the same time still want to have faith in a Leader, are willing to sign up for further exploitation by Elizabeth Warren.”

    And if, on the other hand, she really does have all these wondrous good intentions, but is simply as stupid as she’s depicted in the argument of this post, shouldn’t that also disqualify her from this Leadership role?

    Let me remind those looking for better elites – it’s not enough that your Leaders have good intentions. They also actually have to have brains and competence.

    She certainly lacks these if she really wants to help the people but thinks she’ll ever be in a better position to do so than where she is right now – the great hope, even a martyr, able to speak out with no particular responsibilities, pressures, restraints, or implicit loyalties and endorsements. As a senator, on the other hand, she’d have the worst of all these while being marginalized and powerless. As a failed senate candidate, she’d simply be a loser.

  8. jake chase

    Perhaps it is time for you to end this love affair with Warren? Lots of people talk a good game and end up selling out. You expect her to hold back the tsunami of looting all by herself? You expect too much from process Democrats, all of whom are too savvy and self absorbed to fall on their swords. You won’t be seeing any change until the next crash. The question is how long can the Fed prop up the equity market. Everything else is just opera.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      If you read my earlier posts, I was quite critical of her, see my post on the CFPB settlement math. And she got involved in something on my beat, the mortgage mess, hence the original reason for the attention.

      My reason for interest is she’s been effective in making a case to the public against banks, and was enough of a threat that even with her inside the tent pissing out, the Republicans and WSJ went bashit crazy to try to pommel her.

      She is one of the few people who has ready access to TV yet is outside any of the normal structures required to get that kind of profile (as least outside the acting or music businesses), as in she is not a TV personality nor with government or business. That is a powerful position, whether you and she recognize it or not.

    2. Elizabeth

      The answer to “how long the Fed can prop up the equity market”: Until yesterday. It’s already upon us.

  9. toxymoron

    Two further thoughts.
    1. Looking at the misery James Inhofe wrought on the Climate Change debate, she might have some leverage, all by her own.
    2. Another old swag once said that when all disgusted people leave, only disgusting ones remain.

    But none of this improves her chances to get elected, or to survive long enough to have an impact.

    1. Looking at the misery James Inhofe wrought on the Climate Change debate, she might have some leverage, all by her own.

      There’s a vast difference between playing the game with Big Corporate money behind you, as opposed to doing it against the opposition of this money.

      Nevertheless, I’ll add to my previous comment that we shouldn’t have such a deterministic mindset about big money in politics. It’s true that money will always decide where the game is played by money’s rules. So if one decides a priori to do nothing other than try to oppose the system but playing by the system rules (as everyone wants Warren to do), one certainly dooms oneself to failure ahead of time.

      The real effort needs to be to start a completely new game by completely new rules.

      1. toxymoron

        But how would you get more players in your new game? Nobody would be aware there is a new game in town.

        1. ambrit

          Dear toxymoron;
          The internet, cobber. Why do you think the ‘powers that be’ are all over themselves trying to ‘protect’ the web from ‘terrorist’ attacks and ‘evil porno progressive pedophiles?’ When I read about ‘good ol boy’ Bill Clintons’ call for a system to ‘maintain the purity’ of the internet, I knew something was up. Also see the ongoing work by the DOJ boffins to install ‘back doors’ (what a suggestive phrase) in all servers’ IT systems.
          Evil is truly banal, but nonetheless creeps, like eliots’ “slouching beast” onward towards its’ goals.

          1. toxymoron

            The Internet is not enough. After a Soviet dissident ended up in the West, a journalist asked her to describe the main difference between the Soviet ‘bloc’ and the West. Her answer was that in the USSR, you had to take care about what you were saying, because people were listening, while in the West, you can say whatever you want, nobody listens.

            Yves has listed on NC’s pages enough crimes to send hundreds of people to jail. Not a single person has been arrested.

            So Internet is really a part of the problem. It lets you think you can do things, but nothing really changes.

          2. Bill C.

            @ ambrit: W.B. Yeats: The Second
            Coming:
            “…And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
            Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? ”

            Not trying to be obnoxious, but
            wanted to read this great quote again and couldn’t find it under eliot…I figured you’d want to know. In fact, much of the poem sounds very contemporarily
            descriptive, such as:

            “…Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
            Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
            The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
            The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
            The best lack all conviction, while the worst
            Are full of passionate intensity.”

            ah, the eloquent greatness of time past……

          3. and i

            ‘The internet’ will never work attempter, it’s too late. Pirate radio is the future, did you know you can build a 10 watt transmitter for about 30 dollars?

            Think about it!

          4. ambrit

            Dear Bill;
            Thanks for taking me to task there. (No sarcasm intended.)
            I post too often before I cross check my ‘recollections.’ I need to be more finickey in my musings. Thanks again.

        2. At first they build slowly, organically, from the soil up.

          Perhaps at some point there’s a tipping point and a non-linear jump, but at first those who demand instant gratification (for example those whose measure of a real alternative is fielding a real presidential contender in 2016 or even 2012) need not apply.

      2. jm51

        attempter: You state,”So if one decides a priori to do nothing other than try to oppose the system but playing by the system rules (as everyone wants Warren to do), one certainly dooms oneself to failure ahead of time.
        The real effort needs to be to start a completely new game by completely new rules.”
        The key concept to realize (and most don’t seem to) is that if you spend your time reacting to what the criminal denizens of D.C and wall street do, you are forever relegated to being an ineffectual kibbitzer. Change comes from controlling the agenda of events and forcing the self admitted war criminal of D.C. to react to the new paradigm being built.

      3. Stevefraser

        “…big corporate money…”? The really huge money’s gonna be made playing long the global warming scam.

  10. mike j

    She can’t effectively oppose the current regime and a senate seat isn’t a given but if she could elected it would give her time to become more of an insider and try the next presidential election with no incumbent.

    1. She can’t effectively oppose the current regime…it would give her time to become more of an insider

      I think that sums up what most Warren cultists really want. They want to pretend to themselves that they oppose the kleptocracy without really doing it.

      But most aren’t so honest as to admit that they want her to become “more of an insider”. On the contrary, their propaganda is based on the dubious claim that she’s some kind of outsider.

  11. nownow

    Warren is another Democrat apparatchik. She has never had a real, productive and wealth creating job in her life. She is just another product of the hideous Ivy League branch of the Nomenklatura of the Establishment Left, a group that has cause great harm to the Republic. She is so far removed from realty that it is doubtful that she can ever come close to understanding the real world works or what real, productive people do and face in their lives. She has no business in government, and she has no business tell productive, sober and decent people what to do.

    The CFPB should ever have been formed. This is yet another “agency meant to give safe harbor and “employment” to the Democrat’s Nomenklatura, and to undermine capitalism, liberty and the very foundations of our nation. It has nothing at all to do with “protecting” anything other than the taxpayer funded gravy train that supports the Nmenklatura. It, as well as all the “agencies” of the New Deal and their accretions, needs to be dismantled, and the sooner the better.
    The “consumer” does not need “protection” given by the government in general or Warren in particular.

    What the citizenry needs is protection from the government and elitist, self-important twits like Warren. Not only is she incapable of understanding her own limitations, vices and flaws emotional, spiritual and intellectual, but she insists on calling those flaws and vices virtues and then inflicting them upon the rest of us.

    The whole problem on Wall street stems in great part from people like Warren putting their arrogant, ignorant and self-righteous noses in where they do not belong.

    That people here on this site think that there is the slightest aspect or quality to someone like Warren that s worth emulating or even taking into serious consideration shows just how far gone you are done the path of elitist, Marxist self-delusion. What a childish faith you have in government. It amounts to magical thinking.

    Warren is incapable of generating or maintaining Wealth. It is risible that she be placed in a position to “regulate” those who know how to do so.

    1. pj

      It is government’s job to regulate commerce.
      Perhaps you need to look up the definition of “commerce”?

    2. John Emerson

      Arguing with Republicans is like arguing with pro wrestling fans. You don’t really expect cognitive content, just the repetition of the standard slogans and buzzwords. I especially like the idea that Warren, by contrast to the humble wealth-creators in finance (e.g. Blankfein), is “arrogant”.

    3. ambrit

      Dear nownow;
      The basic task of any good government is to protect the weak from the strong. Since the love of money is argueably the driving force behind modern corruption, (perhaps all corruption, for what is wealth but a form of power,) government must ‘regulate’ money in all its’ myriad manifestations, if only to protect civil society. Make no mistake about it, the unfettered pursuit of ‘money’ is first and foremost anti-civil and anti-social. Thus, said persuit of money is a pathology, and must be treated as such. What you can eradicate, you do. What you can’t eradicate, you limit.

    4. Just a thought...

      “The whole problem on Wall street stems in great part from people like Warren putting their arrogant, ignorant and self-righteous noses in where they do not belong.”

      First of all, this statement sounds like something a bad guy would say in a Scooby Doo cartoon. “If it weren’t for you blasted busy body regulators, we’d have gotten away with it.”

      Second, so it was excessive regulation that pushed the global economy to the brink of total failure with sufficient inertia remaining that we may yet fall over the edge? Or are you suggesting that no economic crisis actually occurred?

      Hmmmm. Thought provoking commentary. Okay, not really. is a different website, you should post this crap there.

    5. David

      Warren’s career is not the standard “Ivy League” elitist career. Indeed it’s almost unbelievable.

      “…Elizabeth Warren was born Elizabeth Herring in Oklahoma City, the daughter of Pauline and Donald Herring.[9] At 16, she became a state champion debater. At 19, she married Jim Warren, and transferred from George Washington University to the University of Houston. She earned a B.S. in 1970.[10] Warren went on to study law at the Rutgers School of Law–Newark, where she served as an editor of the Rutgers Law Review, and was one of two female summer associates at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s Wall Street office.[11] She received her Juris Doctor in 1976. After law school, Warren worked from home, writing wills and doing real estate closings for walk-in clients.[12] She divorced Warren in 1978, and later married Bruce Mann.

      She joined Harvard Law School in 1992 as the Robert Braucher Visiting Professor of Commercial Law. Prior to Harvard, she was the William A. Schnader Professor of Commercial Law at University of Pennsylvania School of Law and also taught at the University of Texas School of Law, University of Houston Law Center, University of Michigan and Rutgers Law School. …”

      So she went to noname undergrad schools, a noname law school, worked from home for a while, and suddenly she’s teaching at all these top law schools.

      That just never ever happens. One doesn’t teach at schools better than where one got one’s degrees.

      1. Jack Parsons

        Condi Rice has had a similar trajectory; I suspect Warren did not have rightwing welfare sponsorship.

  12. pj

    You don’t seem to give Ms. Warren much credit, Yves. (And you really need to check your work before you post! Missing words, etc.)
    I really don’t expect every registered Democrat or even every elected Democrat to stand behind the President, or even the party, in making right minded decisions.
    Leadership doesn’t come with a book, and it certainly doesn’t follow a straight line or a party line. It comes from experience and understanding and the ability to foresee potential outcomes, the end results of decision-making.

    We really have much more serious problems than I thought if you truly believe that by running as a Democrat, this means Warren must turn her heart and mind over to the President and the Democratic party – toe the line, so to speak.

    I give her much more credit for thinking for herself. And I think her chances for success are GREAT.

    In the “governing” we see today, the lady stands alone.

    1. ambrit

      Dear pj;
      The problem here is that, as has been pointed out previously, the Democratic Party has institutionalized a ‘pay to play’ system in its’ internal power distribution. All here are suggesting that Mz Warren is walking into a trap, “eyes wide shut.”

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      There were not missing words. There was a missing closed parens and a “given” instead of “give”, which I fixed.

      If you want fewer typos, I’d be delighted to have the services of a copy editor. Are you offering to fund one?

  13. John Emerson

    Historically there have been maverick or progressive Republicans and Democrats who defied the national party but won at the state level. Most of the pressure from the left on FDR came from maverick Republicans and Democrats, though there were third parties too. In 1915 a socialist faction took over the North Dakota Republican Party and were a major local power for three decades. (In the extreme case, Vito Marcantonio, who had Communist connection, begn his career as a Republican during the LaGuardia era.)

    This is probably just historical trivia, and I doubt that that is possible in Massachusetts today. But Paul Wellstone did something like that in Minnesota not too long ago.

  14. Re Warren; I think this is the most important factor, “being an incrementalist and thus unable to recognize that the system is broken and more radical courses of action are warranted.” I say this because as someone in health care incrementalism rules. Any “radical” ideas are automatically dismissed by journal editors, deans and other health administrators. Peers will discuss “radical ideas” off the record but rarely publicly for fear of losing funding. I’ve had a few email exchanges with Warren and she’s earnest but steeped in logical incrementalism, which fits our national Panglossian mythology of we can right every wrong and things will always get better.

    1. Anonymous Jones

      Oh, this is really rich!

      You’re complaining about incrementalism in *health care*?!?!?!

      Obviously, we are almost always going to use incrementalism in health care. Downside risk is Death!

      There is a strong cognitive bias in most humans against being seen as responsible for bad outcomes because of proactive measures rather than just having bad outcomes “happen” because of passive adherence to traditional methods. This is *never* going to change. If you don’t realize that humans don’t like to be seen (or feel) responsible for bad outcomes, if you think I need to prove this to you, move on, we have absolutely nothing to talk about. This is, like, a fundamental part of human psychology across almost all cultures.

      This incrementalism subject comes up again and again, and it is as tiresome and it is pure “angels dancing on a pin” inane.

      Sure, everyone has their little utopian vision of how they think the world *should* work (oh, the World of Should!). But as has been shown again and again, knowing what you think you want is a lot different than knowing how to get there, and even the few that reach their destination often look around upon arrival and say, “F*ck, they were right. Be careful what you wish for.”

      This is the thing. You all don’t like the way things are going. *I don’t either*. That’s why I come to this site. But the hubris in “knowing” that radical change is going to better than incremental change is foolhardy. My bet is certainly on the idea that you wake up the morning after radical change and think, “OMG, what hath I wrought?”

      The world is chaotic. I know you all think, even if it’s just in the back of your minds, that you can control it.

      This just in.

      You. Cannot.

      Your radical change could easily spin out of control, leaving you like Tupolev being screamed at the moment before the torpedo explodes: “You arrogant ass. You’ve killed us.”

      I’m not even saying that I’m against radical change. You know, at the end of the day, I’m probably for it.

      But in a similar manner that speculation is both the “decision to buy futures” and the “decision *not* to buy futures”, there is risk in radical change just as there is risk in incremental change.

      It’s best to weigh those risks against one another the best you can before proceeding. To just assume that radical change is best for a broken system is naive and contrary to rational methods of thought.

        1. kaj

          The problem with age is that it is debilitating; yet, you have seen history unfold right before your eyes. Elizabeth Warren does not have to toe Obama’s line at all, be it Libya, the budget, whatever. Do you remember Senator Morse of Oregon on Vietnam, or Church ripping into the CIA? Probably not. There have been many examples of liberal “Blue Dogs.”

          That is the way she will come across as an ‘Independent” Democrat.

  15. Norman

    This reads like a “Peanuts” comic strip, where Lucy pulls the blanket out from under . . . . . , forgot which one, (STML-I’m old) only in this case, Lucy is the power behind the scenes and Ms Warren is the one who gets the blanket pulled out from under her. Of course, there could also be some dark plot in the back ground as well, like “here’s an offer you can’t refuse”? I don’t think being “naive” has anything to do with this, but then, that’s my opinion on the subject.

    1. Pepe

      Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown at the last moment so that he always ends up on his back, on the ground, humiliated. And each time Lucy promises that this time she’ll really hold the ball and let Charlie kick it, but she never does.

      Lucy. Football. Cultural literacy: I has it.

  16. Woodrow

    “perceived-to-be-pinko state” –

    Perceived? Have you had a look at Beacon Hill? The trickle-down effect into the state agencies is even worse.

    As for a run against Scott Brown, I don’t see Elizabeth Warren doing this:

    July 4th, 2010, Wakefield Parade (his hometown), Scott Brown was walking (route is miles long) both ways, beginning to end. When Parade was done, he made the rounds, stopping at anyone’s home who flagged him down, including the one I was at. He had a beer (Bud Light) with our group, small talk, wives all got googly-eyed and grabbed cameras. Of course, my left-leaning bud brought on the buzz-kill with a question on an obscure Bill he voted on and Brown went into business mode. Brown addressed the question directly and didn’t pander. The rest of us cut our friend off and thanked Brown for “stopping by”, as we watched him get waved into the next home.

    This is one small example of why Scott Brown got elected here. In The Peoples Republic, the politicians at both State and federal office traditionally trip of their own arrogance and want nothing to do with the “regular folk” unless there’s something to be gained politically or financially for themselves Scott Brown literally changed that persona, and was enough to get us Independents to come out and vote in droves.

    His voting thus far is exactly why I voted for him, split right down the middle. It is also why I would vote for him again, even though there are a number of votes that I don’t agree with. I voted for a non-zealot, and that’s what I got, and for the time being I plan on helping to keep him there.

    Good luck to Elizabeth Warren.

    1. ambrit

      Dear Woodrow;
      I get the sentiment, but was particularly enchanted by the comment; “the rest of us cut our friend off and thanked Brown for ‘stopping by’…” I’ll admit ignorance as to Massachusetts state and local politics, but things must be pretty bad when you all won’t even allow dissenting opinions to be aired. (I’ll not throw any more stones. We here in Mississippi live in a glass house too.)

      1. Moopheus

        Yeah, it was clearly inappropriate to ask a senator a question about an issue when said senator is clearly in campaign mode but, you know, there’s beer and of course that trumps all. Yay beer! Unlike Ms. Warren, Brown is a guy you can have a beer with and not think about issues!

        Where have we heard that before?

        1. ambrit

          Moopheus;
          Right on my brother! At least some of the denizens of this and associated blogs can give the guy some ‘Home Brew’ along with the ‘stimulating political give and take.’
          Don’t forget the Chips, Cheweez, and Pretzels!

      2. Valissa

        “won’t allow dissenting opinions”… really? That’s your interpretation of the story? WOW! I guess I saw it more simply. It was a town holiday parade, the kind where locals, friends and family hangout and try to relax and have a good time. One of the group wants to go in a different direction and prove his political machoness (and yes, men do seem to get off on this much more than women) by arguing with Brown. Nothing wrong with that at all, but most folks don’t actually enjoy arguing about politics (that would include me, conversation is another thing) so it seems pretty normal to me that the rest of the group may have wanted the guy to stop even if Brown was fine with it. But maybe it’s different where you live.

        1. Anonymous Jones

          It’s just you.

          You realize he is a sitting US Senator, correct?

          I discourage the discussion of politics in my bars, for obvious and maybe not-so-obvious reasons.

          I’d make an exception if a sitting US Senator walked in.

          1. Valissa

            I understand your point and ambrit’s, but I think you missed mine. In the story, as it was told, it was the group of friends who cut off their friend, while Brown seemed OK with the argument. I was making a sociological point, not a political one.

          2. Valissa

            “I’d make an exception if a sitting US Senator walked in.” Well, that is a great example about my point about men, machoness, status and political arguments. Personally I would very much enjoy watching you argue with Scott Brown… you could probably even sell tickets ;)

        2. Yes, how dare a filthy peasant be uncivil to one of our august elites. Sure, he’s a capital criminal whose goal is to enslave us, but it was a “town hall parade” after all. Let’s be relaxed! Surely after hours the slave and the overseer can have a few beers together?

          I’m more inclined to agree with those who call for citizens to revile or shun every system cadre at any level, wherever you encounter them. If we had a real citizenry, the scum would never be able to set foot outside their houses without being condemned and insulted.

          1. Woodrow

            “I’m more inclined to agree with those who call for citizens to revile or shun every system cadre at any level” –

            “If we had a real citizenry, the scum would never be able to set foot outside their houses without being condemned and insulted.” –

            You sound more of a shit-stirrer to me, who doesn’t put his money where his/her mouth is.

            The fact is, my family and friends had a good time, and we were more than happy to enjoy at that time, six-months old Senator Scott Brown’s company.

          2. ambrit

            Dear Woodrow;
            Don’t get us wrong. We complainers aren’t trying to turn you and yours into scapegoats. We’re commenting on the new “normal’ in politics. To you, Browns’ visit was a fun communal event. To him, it was a calculated political act. He is, after all, trying to establish a solid community base of support. Thus, my questioning the occurences at your home. Now, if Brown came over to your, or anyones home unanounced and said, “Let’s have a beer and watch the game my friend,” that would be a private event. Unfortunately, for everyone involved, when someone becomes a ‘Public Figure,’ the rules of social interaction do change, and not always for the better. Enjoy the election cycle!

          3. To you, Browns’ visit was a fun communal event. To him, it was a calculated political act.

            It’s an especially dopey version of the typical pattern: Egoism/capitalism for me, altruism/anarchism for you.

  17. Waaaay Too Much Credit

    I thought Liz worked for Bob Dole at one point. She’s not a champion of consumers – we’re still putting the beat down on consumers nationwide. It’s tyranny and lack of due process and Bankster profit taking, and Liz just hand wrings. We need a serious fu$%ing leftist uprising, smash the living sh$t out of the guilded status-quo. (non violently, of course) What is Liz – the foreclosure Goddess of Justice? – she’s a Hav’ard Educated insider.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Other notable Hah-Vod insiders, Georg W Bush, MBA, Grover Norquist, BA and MBA, Mitt Romney, MBA and JD, Sen Pat Toomy (PA) BA, Tom Ridge, the first Homeland Security Director, BA

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      She was not Harvard educated. She went to a state school for college and got her law degree at Rutgers.

      And FDR and JFK went to Harvard, oh, and so did Alan Grayson. You can find people from both ends of the spectrum with Harvard in their resume.

  18. par4

    Bad time to run as a Democrat. The whole party is percieved as the butt boy for the Republicans. As Colbert put they are taking it from both ends.

  19. The lives of others

    Blake the cat advises Warren: chase the scoundrels out of the Senate. Winning the fight, any fight, even temporarily, beats losing on and on and on …
    In the long run, we are all dead. I’d rather hear Warren’s voice, if only for a while, before she loses (if she does).

  20. Banking on Conflict

    Wall Street profits so handsomely from war – let’s say we start another one!

  21. Man Up

    If Liz assists in the prosecution of Banking executives from
    Citi, BOA, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Fuchs, et al, perhaps she can prove to the world she is a real “battleaxe”.

  22. The Cancer

    Liz could also attack the Treasury Department, the OCC, Fannie/Freddie, the FHFA, the previous OTS with deft written word, this might also awaken the Justice Department to start attacking with gusto.

    1. Moopheus

      You mean the DOJ that got handed a 600-page Senate report on Goldman Sachs and has apparently done bupkis with it? Holder has no will to go after Wall Street, and no senator is going to change that.

      1. ambrit

        Friend Moopheus;
        Yer right. First the DOJ needs to find a director who even likes the idea of “Justice for All.”

  23. Valissa

    I continue to be amazed that some still believe in the myth of Elizabeth Warren that has been created. Such political myths live on because people want them to, despite empirical evidence to the contrary. Warren is an intelligent and competent member of the elite, and she is being seriously wooed by members of the Democratic establishment while many of the Dem little people project their romantic and unrealistic political ideals upon her… that’s a heady combo and I’m sure it’s very seductive. Maybe Warren has gotten a taste of power in the big leagues with her work on the consumer bureau and all the attention she has gotten. Maybe going back to Harvard as a mere professor (and back to typical academic politics) no longer interests her as much. OR maybe she really doesn’t want to run for Senate but the operatives keep pushing so she reluctantly agrees to let then form an exploratory committee for her.

    Regardless of her own feelings on the issue, the Senate is what it is… the personification of The Establishment. It is NOT a place of change, but of the status quo. Therefore Warren will end up supporting the status quo. This is a simple truth but for some reason the die hards hope it will be different this time. Lucy – football – Charlie Brown (is a sucker).

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Good grief.

      I don’t personally know any ‘little people’. I know a bunch of people, not one of whom I would describe as ‘little’. I don’t think they are interested in public life or celebrity, but that hardly makes them ‘little’.

      I see a Congress that has disgraced itself utterly the past several years, worsening in the past month.

      Warren was public accused of lying in what was quite obviously a setup back in May, and the Rep (McHenry) who called her a liar is right out of the College Republican GOP organization that spawned Rove, Abramoff, et al. And he is next door to the corporate headquarters of WF in Charlotte, NC.

      And Sen Richard Shelby, of Sen Banking when the great deregulation bills went through and rolled back Glass Stegall, was the guy who led the Senate GOP effort to sabotage Warren’s nomination.

      What is she supposed to do? Roll over and let the corrupt greedheads continue to insult her, make the rules, and crush anyone who doesn’t cave to them? She appears to have more self respect than that.

      I hope she says, “Game On!” and goes for broke.

    2. Peter T

      There have been quite some senators in history who were not defenders of the status quo. Even when they didn’t prevail, their voice was heard and taken as a serious debate contribution, it comes with the office. Just look at Bernie Sanders – which other socialist would be allowed to speak into a microphone in the US and not be patronized? While I would prefer Warren to challenge Obama in the primary (or to have another serious challenger like Dean), she could also be a needed voice of reason if elected to the Senate.

  24. Paul Tioxon

    I believe the model of power for Liz should begin with an exposition of Sarah Palin. While Liz may not be trying to run a cottage political personality business, its effect for bending policy above the expectations of the DNC would be greater if she acted in that capacity. The Presidential primary or long tease up til the national convention that she may be some kind of Green Party Candidate, would produce more heat than the Senate bid. The point would be to stay close to the furnace of national political power, to comment on it and influence it, without the costs of actually taking part in the national power structure, but only appearing by virtue of constant media glare.

    But if she gets bogged down in actual battle, and loses, yes, the bloom is off the rose and the money and opposition research, and barrage of negative attack ads, all lies and misrepresentations, will take their toll on her image, and everything associated with her. Yves, I agree, that it will damage the CFPB, because the personal attacks against her will magnify the attacks against the agency, that would go on with less media attention, because there is no story there. The CFPB is set up to do its boring but critical job, that minus the personality, will go unnoticed.

    The presidential bid will make her a high profile media darling in its own right, no matter how small her actual political base is, a media driven story line like this will take off. It is that leverage which will compound her influence, as even on the Fox network where her story line will be dissension in the democratic ranks and look what miss goodie two shoes is saying about the Obamacista. The attacks on Obama will be the focus and not attacks on her and everything she is associated with.

    From her perspective, not personally of course, I do not know what goes on in her mind other than what I read in the papers, she can gain media attention on the issue she chooses, by timing her “campaign” to coincide with Obama appearances, Obama high dollar fund raisers, Obama photo ops eating ethnic food in colorful enclaves, Obama with his sleeves rolled up with a hard hat on in gleaming factory setting. Just as Palin mirrored her bus tour to be within spitting distance of Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachman in their presidential quest, her ‘is she or isn’t she’ mini drama was more disruptive and more sucking the oxygen out of the room against those real candidates than for any campaign. As Lawrence Odonnell is pointing out, it is more important to Palin financially, to completely disrupt the republican field of candidates and produce the desired result of a sure fire loser, like Michelle Bachmann, because keeping Obama in office is more important for her to continually make money off of defending White Bible Americans, and their women folk from Obama. And what would raise the temperature higher that a Palin proxy in Michelle Bachmann to serve as the victim of scurrilous, low down, corrupt democrat machine politics during the blood sport of a presidential election? Obama would have to be seen in public attacking and batting around Bachmann. Similarly, Obama, in a primary fight, or even perceived primary fight with Liz, would have to smack her around just a little, so it looks like a campaign. And Liz could high light, on her terms, just what issues to take to the media glare. So, when Obama tours a manufacturing facility to promote jobs via trade agreements, Liz appears in town at a foreclosure. When Obama shows up an infrastructure construction site, Liz show up a a job fair where the huddle masses of resume carrying middle class suits outnumber the job offers 5 to 1. Obama could be shown up at appearance after appearance til he starts to hide in the rose the garden in deep contemplation. Not good, when republicans are kicking his teeth in to get themselves elected to the White House.

    And Liz, gets more and more prominent, just like Palin, only in a good way. And Liz can make the pain go away, if only Obama starts behaving like a democrat and not a Rockefeller Republican.

  25. ep3

    Yves, what about bernie sanders then? Is he just thrown in front of the tv because of his goofy looks, with the thinking that that scares people off?

    I agree. The senate run is just another nail in her coffin. I think it might be another ploy by obama to get rid of the cfbp. Notice how he has played his views on the organization. He has done the ‘i favor it but keep my distance’ thing so that in case it fails, he can quickly skip to saying “at this time, it was a bad idea. we can’t interfere with business at such a turbulent time in the economy.” blah blah blah. The way he hasn’t fought for the agency tells me he expects it to fail. I know, obviously he fights for nothing except bank success. I would compare it to the public option, except this agency passed.
    Could it be possible they are giving her this false hope that if she wins, they would give her a committee seat that would have magical powers to help the cfpb?

  26. Mike the Mad Biologist

    In light of the proposed Politburo Super Congress, why would anyone want to be in the Senate? She would have no influence over economic policy, and regarding financial shenanigans, Senate committees are paper tigers.

  27. Siggy

    I like Elizabeth Warren. I would vote for her. Should she run for any political office? Only she knows.

    Yves, your rationale for her not running is well considered, yet, I do believe that Madam Warren is the only party competent to determine whether she should run, for anything, or not.

    As to the Consumer Protection thing, I see it as merely another layer in the rancid onion of bureaucracy.

  28. LJR

    What’s with the sudden “Liz” business? What’s next? Lizzie? And if her ear is deaf we can call her “Tin Lizzie.”

  29. kares

    Unless a person is fully vetted on all ideological fronts over a period of time, that is 6-12 years, unlike Obama, who got a gift from Moveon, this country will again be courting disaster. Let her run and win, gain experience and show her true side in the Senate and then may be she would win as an anti-hillary.

    Pimarying Obama is not going to get progressive objectives much traction; she will lose massively in the early primaries which are like a fully loaded machine gun and be forced to withdraw. So, no gain?

    Let us recapture one of my favorite states; Vermont, except for the long winters is paradise. Scott Brown’s popularity, despite YS’s assertions is skin-deep. He won’t get all the money he got in the past, because the Republicans have many battles to fight aside from the presidency and contesting 23 Democrat senate seats, including at the state levels in Ohio, Wisconsin, etc. The money will be scattered and somewhat scarce considering the stock market.

    I would recommend Jeff Merkley (Ralph, is unfortunately too old now), son of a millwright with a good, progressive record in Oregon. I believe he knows how to fight the Zombies.

  30. my two cents

    If EW ever wants to run for Senate, she should wait til Lautenberg (age 90-something) retires/dies and run in Jersey.

    EW would mesh better in sub. Jersey than South Boston or West. Mass.

    Mass. is an old school Democrat-machine/Tammany Hall-style state, definitely not the NPR/liberal state that media non-Mass. people make it out to be.

  31. Hugh

    Warren is an Establishment liberal. I cannot stress too much what this means. As a liberal, she will criticize aspects of the system, but never the system itself. Ultimately, her first allegiance is to the Establishment elites to which she belongs. She has been validated and privileged by them. She believes in them, their right to rule over us, and that they know best.

    She is all about reform within the system, and only within certain areas. If you are looking for broader or more profound change, she is not your person. You will only get frustrated. For Warren to be a real voice for change, she would have to reject both Obama and the Democrats. She will do neither. And that is the crux of the matter. What does it mean to be a reformer, and a supporter of an unreformable system? What does it mean to be a leader if you can’t even see what the core problems are?

    Looking at Establishment liberals, or taking them too seriously, can give you a bad case of whiplash. There is far less to them than meets the eye. They will start out well but when you expect them to continue further, they don’t. They will sound one time as if they have finally broken with their past allegiances and ideas, and the next time they will simply restate them. As I said, you can hurt your neck watching all their zigging and zagging. You can also waste a lot of time and effort waiting for them to have an epiphany which is never going to come. The bottomline though is it is never going to come. Ultimately, Establishment liberals are part of the problem. They are a distraction.

    What we need to do with figures like Warren is to stop reading into them what we want them to be and look at who and what they are. If we do, we will see they do not represent the change we need. So whether Warren becomes a Senator or not is immaterial. There will be no real change if she is. There will be no real change if she isn’t.

  32. Susan the other

    We make it up as we go along. That is why I would like to see Elizabeth Warren get the pulpit. If just for a campaign that doesn’t win. I want to hear her speak to the problems we face. You know Mitt Romney will be doing this by presenting himself as a businessman who can fix everything. No one will admit the absurdity our economic system faces: maximum world population. We are faced with the reality that the world population must halve itself by the end of the century and in between now and then we must implement effective solutions to hunger, housing, scarcity of resources, climate change, radiation poisoning, strange and brutal wars, you name it. All without a growth engine. So really, no wonder Scott Brown goes door to door in MA drinking a beer for the party. I’ll bet he got hammered. I think Elizabeth Warren will make far m ore sense than anyone else.

  33. Buckaroobanzai

    A presidential run by Elizabeth Warren would be a disaster. She has absolutely no campaign experience, no organization, and no fund raising apparatus. She would have to create everything from whole cloth in a matter of months.

    Remember, she had been thinking about and agitating for the CFPB for years which is why she was able to do so much so quickly. The same can’t be said for a presidential campaign.

    Running for president has its own particular rules and dance steps and Ms. Warren does not know them. She would quickly become a target of ridicule for the press and the establishment Democrats angry that she took on Obama.

    A run against Obama, even if it were just symbolic, would crash and burn. The result would be public and career humiliation; ending whatever value she might still have.

    A more realistic fantasy would be Howard Dean running for president with Ms. Warren as his VP designate. The good Doctor already has experience and a formidable organization in Democracy for America (DFA). He has strong working ties to PCCC, Move-on.org and Act Blue. These organization have fund raising and media infrastructure. They could get a credible presidential campaing up and running in a very short time.

    Ms. Warren would bring a lot of attention and credibility to the effort. At the same time her VP status would protect her somewhat and she would have the benefit of working with experienced operatives.

  34. Slade Smith

    Or, maybe she simply wants to be a Senator. Maybe she wanted to be a Senator all along.

    Life is short; she is not old but she is not young either. However poor her chances may or may not be against Brown, I believe a presidential run is a much longer shot for her.

    As for this…

    “She was betrayed by Tom Miller and the Obama Administration on the mortgage settlement negotiations. Someone from the AG/federal regulator side of the table leaked that the CFPB was playing a prominent role, which was tantamount to throwing bloody meat into a tank of Republican piranhas.

    “This hatchet job might have been the handiwork of bank-lobbyist-in-regulator’s-clothing Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. However, the fact that absolutely no one, not Geithner, not Miller, defended her when Republican Congresscritters started calling for her scalp says this was a sanctioned effort, and not mere inter-regulaory sniping.”

    …it is simply false. On those bogus charges, Geithner did defend Warren on at least two widely reported occasions– first after the March hearing: , and then again after the May hearing: . Miller, for his part, likely was not in a position to corroborate Warren’s defense from the charges.

    1. Capo Regime

      Talk is cheap. Of course Geithenr and Obama said things and spoke in defense but DID Nothing substantive to provide political support. Its the way D.C. works–capiche?

      1. Slade Smith

        If talk is cheap, why would the Republicans’ attacks on Warren– which were all talk, and therefore of little import by your own logic– merit extraordinary responses? What would you have liked Obama and Geithner to do– physically rough up McHenry and the rest of them?

  35. Eureka Springs

    Yves and fellow NCers, Even when I disagree, I so appreciate what we are all trying to do.

    I still think anyone willing to run in the Dem criminally bribed party for so much as Dog Catcher should be considered a no go from the get go.

    Maybe Warren and her well intentioned ilk are great people, but great people are triangulated and or suffering from stockholm syndrome every day. That’s not a position/illness the rest of us should promote into leadership.

  36. Turkle

    I’m still rooting for a Elizabeth Warren/Yves Smith ticket for the next presidential election

  37. steelhead23

    I agree with you Yves, a run for the Senate is actually beneath her national stature and a loss could severely harm her CV. As you know, I want her to be POTUS. I’m hoping she does too. Perhaps the potential large donors (or the power brokers in DC) have told her that she has to test her mettle as a politician before they would contribute to her in a run for POTUS. That is the only reason I could imagine that she would choose to run for Senate in what will not be a walk-over. Diane Nyad didn’t make her first swim a swim across the English Channel – perhaps Liz is running for Senate as a warm-up to the big show. Let us pray.

  38. Anonymous

    We all know what the outcomes will be if Elizabeth Warren chooses either of these options.

    In the Senate, if she were to win, the blogs, the comedy central shows, some MSNBC folks, and freespeech tv will tout her as the voice of the people, and she’ll play into it. She’ll ride that energy for 3, 6, 9 months, showing up on c-span clips, telling it like it is, being fawned over at yearlykos conferences, until she puts up her first attention-grabbing amendment, which will be voted down, and all her subsequent big news-grabbing amendments will be blocked or voted down — whichever is more convenient for Reid, or whoever’s running the senate then, — she’ll stay on, keep being rope-a-doped, keep falling for Reid’s and the president’s promises, which they will break, everytime, and then she’ll revert to the usual caving and apologist shtick (‘it’s not everything we’d like, but it’s the best we can do for now, and I think we’ve got to support it,’ ala Barbara Boxer, Ron Wyden, Patty Murray, and the rest), or resign herself to ranting futilly at every important policy juncture ala Sanders, Feingold, Sherrod Brown, and Whitehouse.

    In a failed presidential run, alternatively, it would be enough of a quixotic sideshow that Wolf Blitzer and the other noise show personalities will feature it for a couple weeks, and ask, ‘is Elizabeth Warren speaking to the real, legitimate concerns and the frustrations of middle class and everyday Americans, the democratic party base, and does that pose a problem for the president’s reelection bid?,’ until word goes out from the democratic politicians and staffers, privately and on tv, that, ‘she has no chance of winning, and she’s doing real damage to the things she professes to stand for by siphoning away time and resources the president should be using to go after the republicans.’

    So why are either of these options being discussed? Even, why is Elizabeth Warren being discussed? And more importantly than all that, why are so many democrats and genuine leftists so obsessed with shortcuts, which is what either of these options are? Why are so many folks sitting around, waiting for the lone, courageous voice to stand up and strike the first blow that unleashes the floodgates?

    There is no lone, courageous voice. And the floodgates don’t give way to a mighty blow, they give way to many people, pushing and forcing, putting their backs into it constantly, and consistently over an extended period. And that takes folks doing the nitty gritty work of building revenue models, and infrastructure, at the scale necessary to meet the problems, and then leveraging those assets unapologetically, forcefully, and relentlessly.

    There’s nothing special, unique, or insightful about this. It’s just basic politics. But so many democrats and genuine leftists always want someone else to take responsibility for saving the country. So many constantly and obsessively search for shortcuts. Why?

    1. steelhead23

      Why do we look for shortcuts? Speaking for myself, the reason I want a nationally recognized advocate like Elizabeth Warren is that I have no idea how to accomplish the political machine building you describe. Look, the Working Families Party has less name recognition than Liz Warren and would benefit greatly if she were to lend her name to the party’s banner. So, in a way, the answer is that it would take fewer of us to reach a critical mass if we had a headliner like Liz than if we just went door to door, neighborhood by neighborhood. Yeah, we want to take shortcuts – just as the Army would prefer to go into battle with bullets in its guns.

    2. jerry 101

      the biggest problem with trying to primary Obama is that the media will be seeking out a way to destroy her from day one. It could be something as minor as a bad mic and a bit of excess exuberance.

      Howard Dean’s another conservative Democrat, but he wasn’t conservative enough, and they destroyed him with the silliest of “gaffes”.

      The entire corporate media apparatus will trained on Warren, searching for anything that they can find to destroy her. And if they can’t find anything, they’ll just make something up.

    3. Ransome

      Her job wasn’t to strike the first blow, she was a watchdog. No one in government blew the whistle on the mortgage excesses. Several on the outside noticed and documented it but it was not their job to bark. Sooner or later all pensions and retirement savings will be wiped out and no one will say a word.

    4. JTFaraday

      “It’s just basic politics. But so many democrats and genuine leftists always want someone else to take responsibility for saving the country. So many constantly and obsessively search for shortcuts. Why?”

      Ever since I heard Larry Summers was going back to waiting arms of fellow criminal conspirator Robert Rubin at Harvard, I have wanted a faculty movement to remove Rubin from the Harvard Corporation.

      The faculty removed Summers once already, for comments that offended the ladies and managerial style. This was before the endowment was wrecked under his supervision. Who wouldn’t want to get rid of him now?

      For Professor Warren, this IS grassroots action. She should return to Harvard and immediately start a faculty movement to remove Rubin, with Bill Black on cable news every night offering up the sports commentary for the masses.

      How do we expect political activists to raise their sights on what’s “politically possible,” or peon congressional aides and policy workers to demonstrate any backbone on the job, or for the D-Party faithful to have any reality based sense of what’s politically at stake, while criminal conspirators and conspirators against the state are STILL accepted into polite society–and NO ONE even SAYS anything?

      Someone needs to DO SOMETHING to get the ball rolling on removing the criminal element from the government. The most ridiculous shortcut is to assume that a demonstrated criminal government will do anything to “defend middle class families.”

      Clean it or drown it in that proverbial bathtub instead. I don’t see any other political agenda. THIS is what’s “politically possible.” Nothing ELSE is “politically possible” short of this.

      If the market tanks and Bank of America fails, the time has come.

      F- the Senate. And F- Obama. Attacking the puppets is a pointless exercise.

  39. jerry 101

    Running for the legislature never works. You can’t change anything of importance in a legislative body. You can jump up and down and scream and throw some poo, but you can’t change anything.

    Who are the most famous legislators in history? I can only think of a few truly famous legislators. Cato. Cicero. Jefferson. A few other members of the Continental Congress.

    Maybe I’m forgetting some, but I’d have to say that only Thomas Jefferson and the other pro-independence members of the Continental Congress were truly influential in forcing change.

    Change comes from executives. The Gracchi brothers. Sulla. Caesar. Jackson. Lincoln. Roosevelt (both of ’em). Johnson. Nixon. Bush II.

    If she wants to be a politician, she should try a run at Obama. Hit him hard from his left, but mostly use the platform to show America some concept of what a real left of center politician might look like. It’s been a long time since Johnson left office.

    Better yet, she should run for Governor. Then start pushing for some real reforms in Massachusetts. Build up her credentials and then go for the presidency after President Teabagger finishes off the job that Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama started.

    What the country needs now is a Huey Long. I don’t think that Elizabeth Warren is a Huey Long, but she’s a start. Maybe she can at least put a bit of fear back into the oligarchs.

    1. justice

      Yes, even Frodo was corrupted by the ring. Yet the ring was destroyed by the pathetic betrayal of Gollum, also enslaved to the ring.

    2. The Lord of the Rings is clearly an anarchist allegory.

      It’s encouraging that I was already on the right track even in my pre-adolescent reading.

  40. Ransome

    Warren is radioactive. In some circles she is as popular as Juan Cole or Nader. She will be lucky to keep her position at Harvard because she will be pursued. She should take a break. The banks have big plans and she was perceived as standing between them and billions and billions of consumer dollars.

    1. Peter T

      That was the positive point in Yves’ report that Warren is NOT planning to retreat to Harvard and her academic studies, which I considered a real possibility (she might loose tenure otherwise) but is still willing to stay in politics. Starting an exploration committee would be the first step in going for the Senate seat but also in challenging Obama – I know the latter is unlikely, but if she wanted to she should do exactly that and test the waters before announcing a primary challenge against Obama.

      I still hope for Dean to run, despite his earlier announcements that he wouldn’t – the disappointment with Obama among Democrats was much lower then.

  41. John T. Zelazo

    I do not see how a law professor has the assumed credentials for the office. Warren’s efforts to protect consumers (as much from themselves as from the banks) are a commendable service. Warren’s own home in Boston has over tripled in value sice she and her husband bought in in 1995 and it has not gone up in value in the past five years safe to say. While banks made the loans, it was the consumers who made the bids and where the loans should have been refused, compition between banks to make loans fixed the process. I do not know exactly what she fixed.

    In Massachusetts there are other candidates who she will or may have to fight in a Democratic Primary. There is a gay candidate who stands to become the first in history openly gay United States Senator. Massachusetts voters are not sold on Warren although she seems to have a considerable amount of support from a crowd with a limited field of vision. The Gay candidate is one who does not bode well in the pay to play process so he might just go away, however that leaves about 8 other Democrat candidates who Warren will have to rise above without hurting her chances in a 10 week general election.

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