Globe post re-ups Elizabeth Warren for Senate

(A professional profile of Mr. Corcoran is here. He's an entrepreneur; a comic book/graphic novel guy. And his politics have a comic book/graphic novel kind of flavor: Radical-yet-superficial, violent, inhumane. And he had a lot of guns. Real ones.

It's a shame. He's not an idiot. Just a fool. - promoted by Charley on the MTA)

The Globe’s website has this mysterious blog-like thing called “The Angle,” in which Jesse Singal and Rob Anderson write about “stories worth talking about.”  I don’t really know what that means, or who Singal and Anderson are, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, Anderson has an intriguing post entitled “Five reasons Elizabeth Warren should challenge Scott Brown.”  We’ve been over this a bit already (in fact, Anderson kindly links to BMG’s very interesting discussion).  I said on that thread that I found the idea of a Warren candidacy extremely interesting.  To me, the most compelling argument the other way was this one:

She’s a pioneer in government and I think she’s going to be able to do more from where she’s at than if she were to run for Senate and be 1 of 100 voices in a very flawed system.

I think that’s correct.  If she gets to run the Consumer Protection Agency (remember, she is not its head right now, since it doesn’t actually exist yet – she’s in a specially-created “assistant to the President” job to get it set up), she should do that.

However, as Anderson points out today,

Warren’s role guiding the Consumer Financial Protection Agency into existence will end this July, when the agency is expected officially launch. Unless Obama picks Warren to stay on as the head of the CFPA, a move that is increasingly seen as unlikely, she will be free to start campaigning by the early summer. That would still give her enough time to launch an outsider’s campaign, especially if none of the declared candidates is eliciting much excitement.

Now, clearly, Obama should pick Warren to actually run the agency, and I don’t know what Anderson’s basis is for saying that her appointment looks “increasingly unlikely.”  (UPDATE: via Twitter, Anderson referred me to these two articles, both of which do suggest that a permanent appointment is unlikely.)  Furthermore, if the Democrats actually manage to implement a sensible filibuster reform within the next few days, she would be confirmed without much fuss.

But if he doesn’t, or if they don’t, there’s a potential problem with her taking over the agency.  And, while that would be a big loss, it would also represent a real opportunity for her to think about running.  On that score, I reiterate the point I made before, which is that Warren could raise a lot of money really fast.  She is plugged into the highest level of the Democratic party infrastructure.  Frankly, I think her fundraising potential is as good as or better than any other candidate mentioned so far (although, obviously, she starts from zero, whereas current and former Congressmen have active campaign accounts).

So, keep your eye on this one as we move forward.  First choice: she runs the Consumer Protection Agency.  Second, for me, is that she runs for Senate.

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15 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. You're right. 100%.

    I'd volunteer a lot for Elizabeth Warren because she's smart & committed to principles of making the market work fairly for the ordinary people.

    But she most likely could do more good as head of the new agency.

  2. Warren

    Elizabeth Warren would be an excellent Senator, I have little doubt -- and she would probably be an even better head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She's great on writing about the sorts of economic issues not discussed nearly enough among the elites in Washington -- income inquality, the pressures on the middle class, etc. However, she would run into numerous potential issues, serious enough that I'm not sure she'd be able to gain traction:

    (1) For one, I don't believe she's ever run for public office before. This is important, because no matter how qualified and intelligent one may be, running for office is a completely different beast. Maybe she'd turn out to be a good campaigner, maybe not. But she'd need to be a great one, because...

    (2) She has very little name recognition. The linked article in the Globe claims that "the Democratic base loves her," but the sole evidence for that is linking to a single comment here at BMG. I love BMG, but BMG is not representative of "the Democratic base" (members here are far more politically active on a day-to-day basis than even most regular voters in the Commonwealth). Perhaps there is a poll out there that indicates otherwise, but I'd bet Warren is unknown by the vast majority of Democratic voters.

    (3) I'm not so sure the timing is right. This will be a highly competitive primary, and starting to ramp things up in July seems to me to be on the late side. By that point, many of the largest donors will already have an allegiance to a candidate. Given that she had no political base, she'll need time to build up her campaign infrastructure -- and she'll already be a few months behind people like Capuano.

    None of these things are impossible to overcome -- it's more measured skepticism on my part that Warren could pull this off given these factors and her likely competition. Deval Patrick overcame a lot to win the Democratic primary, of course -- but he was an unusually great campaigner, which is quite rare.

    So I'm skeptical that she can win in a primary, though certainly I'd personally strongly consider her given her intelligence and policy priorities if she eventually enters the race.

    • My only critique is

      we've seen nothing to indicate that it's going to be as competitive a primary as you think. I think it's incredibly unlikely one of the Congresspeople win the primary -- I actually think there's a 50/50 shot that not a single of them runs. Remember when this was an open Special Election seat and we thought half the entire caucus would go for it? And none of them even had to put their seats on the line for it back then, either.

      The other issues are real, though most candidates face the same problems. The biggest issue would be if she starts in the summer. I agree with you that it's too late if she wants to build up a real grassroots campaign. An outsider candidate needs time to introduce themselves to democratic activists across the entire state in a very personal way. If she wants to run, and I certainly would welcome her to the race, she should get out there now.

      In the meantime, this is all internet chatter and 'wishful thinking.' As far as I'm aware, she hasn't even hinted at this being a possibility. I feel a little like when lots of people started talking about Rachel Maddow for the seat... I got all excited, but there was nothing to it.  

      • Good point

        There is a possibility the race won't be filled with elected officials, in which case someone like Warren might have a better shot.

        Still, I'd be surprised if Capuano is ultimately the only Congressman to run. This is partly because it's unclear whether a statewide official will run (Coakley's near-immediate entrance in the special election probably scared off some people), and because MA is losing a congressional seat. Somebody will be out of a job, and I'm not sure to what extent Capuano's exit will save anyone else (because I believe there was more population loss out in western Mass...and because Cap's district may need to be retained to comply with Voting Rights Act requirements). I wouldn't be surprised if Lynch runs, and who knows who else.

        I'm partial to an elected official for this seat, since they  often (not always) have a closer pulse of what is actually happening on the ground in MA, but I wouldn't complain if someone like Warren or Maddow ran.  

        • Frankly,

          I'm going to be surprised if Capuano decides to run. Out of all the politicians polled, he was the second furthest back from being able to defeat Scott Brown. Plus, I don't think he's going to get the same kind of support from the house democratic leadership that he got last time in the primary given his diarrhea of the mouth. If he runs, he loses, and he's out of a seat. Quite frankly, given what he's said about Pelosi and the President, maybe that would be a good thing.

          As for the reappointment of seats: Chances are at least one person will decide to retire or not run again in the upcoming election, so we're going to be back in the exact same situation as we are in now -- lots of congresspeople who have to weigh a very tough race they're likely to lose against a nice seat they already have -- so, again, I think it's unlikely that any of them will run.

          There's enough of them that I'll give it a 50/50 shot someone will jump in, but it's sort of like a game of chicken -- waiting around, seeing who jumps out there first -- and soon enough there's not going to be time enough to win the darn thing. If one of them was very serious about running, you'd be able to see the ripples in the water already... I'm not seeing it.

          I wouldn't be surprised if Lynch runs, and who knows who else.

          Frankly, Lynch is one of the least likely candidates to run. He's unelectable across the state in a Democratic Primary and he knows it. I'm actually pretty sure he announced he wouldn't run, as well, but I'm having trouble finding the article.

          I'm partial to an elected official for this seat, since they  often (not always) have a closer pulse of what is actually happening on the ground in MA, but I wouldn't complain if someone like Warren or Maddow ran.  

          I'm partial for a good candidate to run. Sometimes that comes from elected officials, sometimes it doesn't. There's a number of people in the Congressional state caucus I'd be happy to see get in the race -- as happy as I was to see Bob Massie, as happy as I would be to see (the unlikely) Warren -- I just think you could look at the motivations behind each of the candidates, and contrast that with the risk, and come up with the equation that not many of them are going to jump into the race to take on Scott Brown. It's going to be a tough fight and they'd have to give up what they have now.  

          As for Maddow... she's made it eminently clear that she's not running. I watched her for a week, night in and night out, go on and on and on about how she wasn't going to run, and she took out an entire page in the Boston Globe insisting she wasn't going to run. I don't know how much clearer she could get.  

          Who are we likely to get? Outsiders and/or rich business types with $$ to spend and an ego to feed and/or well-respected people who work in government. There's also the potential for someone like Tim Murray, who's won a statewide primary before, but doesn't have a job in which they can do anything (though Murray may be more interested in the Corner Office) -- and legislative small fry who are willing to take a big chance, particularly if the race isn't as crowded as one would think. You'd have to throw Bill Galvin on the list, except if he was ever going to have the cajones to run for higher office, he'd probably have done it by now.

          Normally, I'd throw in people who've held major positions before, but we just don't have terribly many of those since most members of our caucus have been there forever. Of those that exist, Marty Meehan's already said he's out and former Congressman Kennedy passed on an easy chance last time around. That's not to say he can't have another, but you kind of get the picture that he's happy where he's at -- after all, he left government at this point a long time ago and that was his choice.

          I don't think our field is going to be nearly as crowded as some people seem to think, but as a relative outsider is our best shot, I'm not sure it's going to matter much in the end.  

  3. Stephen Murphy for Senate

    It's been almost 3 weeks since he became president of the Boston City Council. Enough already. Start running.

    • Steve Murphy for Senate

      God forbid. He has run for Sheriff, and for State Treasurer twice. I am almost certain that he will be Menino's rubber stamp as Council President. ( Hence, my hopes of the City Council reversing the terrible decision to close nine schools in Boston are disappearing quickly.)

      As a candidate for U.S. Senate, he brings nothing to the table. I have known Steve Murphy since our days as Vice Presidents of the Suffolk County Young Democrats, and unfortunately he has never impressed me as a statesman or a leader.

      Sincerely, Wayne Wilson Roslindale

      P.S. I have no idea who Elizabeth Warren is, and I have been active in Massachusetts Democratic Party politics for the majority of the past twenty seven years.

      • Your P.S. mind-boggling

        If a former vice-president of the Suffolk County Young Democrats doesn't know who Elizabeth Warren is, then how important can she be, really?


      • Read these links to see why Elizabeth Warren is awesome.

        bio here

        Josh Marshall used to have a section of TPMCafe called Warren Reports that did a great job of explaining how the economy puts middle-class families in a vise.

      • To your PS

        She's an amazing woman. The reason why you probably haven't heard of her is because her background is in academia, but she was on the short list for the last SCOTUS nom and has been the leading force in and out of government to tackle the credit crisis and Wall Street excess. She makes the case for the middle and working class better than almost anyone else, and continually speaks truth to power. I highly recommend looking her up, reading her interviews and perusing youtube for clips of what she's had to say. We desperately need more people like her -- tough, intelligent and knows how to cut through the chase and help the 99% of us who aren't living it easy in the midst of the Great Recession.  

        • Good Answer Ryepower12

          Thanks for the info. I hadn't heard of her as we do not belong to the same group of community and political activists. I will be glad to give her due consideration if she decides to run.

          There were many people that you might have heard of who were involved in the Suffolk County Young Democrats way back when TedF. Ever heard of State Senator Jack Hart or Representative Honan? Elsa Montano Arroyo belonged to SCYD as well. There are many others that are active in Boston government that you might know.

          And I was one of its' co-founders with Dr. Steven Treon and Alex Geourntas of Roslindale way back in 1983. I used to consult with the Vice President of the Massachusetts Young Democrats regarding our platform and charter. That was Joe Kaplan, formerly of Randolph. He was an Electoral College member in 2008.

          Sincerely, Wayne Wilson Roslindale

  4. She'll never be nominated to head the CFPA - she'd be a great Senator

    First off, I can't imagine Obama nominating her unless Liberals can sufficiently pressure him.  Unlike all of his other financial picks, she's not a hyper-defender of all things banker.  As the Japanese say, "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down".  I believe she only got to where she is because Obama wanted to calm Liberals down a bit, because he knew she'd be gone in a short while, and because Timmy Geithner had already been setting the agency up for a few months and had made the important staffing picks.

    Even if she was nominated, the Republicans would shut her down come time for approval.

    On the other hand, she'd have a great shot at the Senate, I think.  She's got name recognition and she's a credible defender of the bottom 99% of the American economy.  She's someone that the smart and good people of Massachusetts could get excited over.

    • Never?

      If the filibuster is reformed, I'd be shocked if she wasn't nominated. There'd be too much backlash if she wasn't. That said, if the filibuster isn't reformed, then they have the perfect excuse to nominate someone else... the Republicans wouldn't let her in. I say nominate her anyway, because they'll filibuster ANYONE we nominate for the position, and we may as well nominate someone we can be proud of and distinguish ourselves with against the Republicans.

      She's got name recognition

      Everyone in this thread -- including its originator and most hopeful types -- seem to disagree with you there.

      she's a credible defender of the bottom 99% of the American economy

      This is a much better argument for why she'd have a shot.

      But she'll only have a shot if she jumps in soon, otherwise there won't be enough time to make up for the fact that people don't know her.


    That is all.

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