What a ridiculous story splashed on the front page of today’s Globe: “Warren doesn’t talk enough in first press conference, journalists piqued.” The subtext is clear: we helped put you in office, and we can help you back out. A similar admonition was delivered to Governor Patrick under the headlines “Cadillac,” “drapes,” and “wife’s staffer” early in his first term. Brian McGrory lays down the rules in no uncertain terms in an accompanying column: “Here’s what Elizabeth Warren needs to understand — immediately.” Tellingly, a man elected by no one instructs a woman actually elected by 1.67 million MA residents what the “tens of thousands” of people who donated money to her own campaign want. That and $1.25 will get you a Boston Globe.
Journalists certainly aren’t doing their job for the money. These magnificent, opinionated, well-informed treasures of the public square have a voice, and views, and want to be heard. Fair enough: the Fourth Estate is just that, a critical element of our republican system of government. But let’s not pretend (if anyone is) that the cover of today’s newspaper was about keeping the citizenry informed. It was about power politics.
Many expected Warren, freed from the attacks of her tough campaign, might be more expansive in discussing the meaning of her victory and the issues she will face in her new job. Traditionally such postelection press conferences are an opportunity for the triumphant candidate to look forward with relish to the challenges to come and reflect on the lessons of the campaign.
Instead, Warren, looking out on a large press corps eager to hear from the state’s new political star, brushed aside several questions, including ones about how to cope with the looming “fiscal cliff,” a yearend deadline to avoid tax increases and large spending cuts.
I say, let the
professor politician get some sleep over the weekend. And, at the same time, a toast to leaders who recognize they are on a public stage and need to play the part, as well as do the work. Apparently, it takes some time. Governor Patrick mastered it. No doubt Senator-elect Warren will too.