There were two highly revealing stories dealing with the senatorial candidacy of Elizabeth Warren, who is challenging Scott Brown of Massachussetts, in the New York Times over the weekend.
The Friday story carries the improbable headline “Heaven Is a Place Called Elizabeth Warren.” It begins like this:
On the campaign trail in Massachusetts last month with the Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, I bore witness to acts of extreme giddiness: a 20-year-old student jumping up and down, exclaiming, “Oh, my God, I am obsessed with her”; a third-year law student of Warren’s comparing her to a superhero (“Wonder Woman wishes she could be Professor Warren”); a man stopping Warren on the street and introducing himself as the guy who recently passed her a mash note on a plane (“I was hitting on you,” he said).
In probing the phenomenon of the intense excitement about 62-year-old Harvard professor’s candidacy, the story offers this:
Embracing Warren as the next “one” is, in part, a way of getting over Obama; she provides an optimistic distraction from the fact that under our current president, too little has changed, for reasons having to do both with the limitations of the political system and the limitations of the man.
She makes people forget that estimations of him were too overheated, trust in his powers too fervid. As the feminist philanthropist Barbara Lee told me of Warren, “This moment of disillusion is why people find her so compelling, because she brings forth the best in people and she brings back that excitement.”
This is as good a distillation of the shallowness of modern liberalism as anything I have seen lately: hey, we dated Barack and that didn’t work out quite like we had hoped, so let’s get all excited about Elizabeth!
Instead of forgetting that President Obama was overrated wouldn't liberals do better to remember what happened and ask themselves what went wrong?
Rebecca Traister, a frequent contributor to the New York Times magazine and author of a book entitled “Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women,” about the 2008 campaign, wrote the heaven piece. (“Girls, these days, can not only run for president; they can also brilliantly analyze presidential campaigns, too,” Maureen Corrigan said of the book.)
On Saturday, the second piece (by Nicholas Confessore) was headlined “Vilifying Rival, Wall Street rallies for Senate Ally.” Being a Wall Street ally is a few notches down from being a little bit of heaven. The story reports:
The battle to re-elect Senator Scott P. Brown, the Republican from Massachusetts, just got a little more interesting.
“Senator Brown is a free-market advocate who believes that our strength as a nation comes from the ingenuity and hard work of its people,” read an invitation to a fund-raiser at a New Canaan, Conn., country club last week, that circulated among hedge fund and private equity executives. His Democratic opponent, the invitation noted, was all but certain to be the financial industry’s most prominent foe: “big government liberal Elizabeth Warren.”
Mr. Brown, a freshman who harnessed populist Tea Party anger to win the seat once held by Edward M. Kennedy, has taken more money from the financial industry than almost any other senator: all told, more than $1 million during the last two years, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of the 20 companies that accounted for the most campaign donations to Mr. Brown, about half were prominent investment or securities firms like Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments and Bain Capital. His donors include such blue-chip names as Gary Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs, and the hedge fund kings John Paulson and Kenneth Griffin.
This story is actually far more informative than the heaven piece. It tells you that the people who work in the financial sector are scared of what having Warren in the Senate would mean for their industry.
They know that Warren was key in the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, another layer of regulation for the financial sector. After Warren’s possible appointment to run the bureau stirred opposition, President Obama tapped somebody else. Ralph Nader, who called Warren “the toughest federal cop on corporate crime, fraud and abuse,” was disappointed.
Brown, by the way, as the story points out, isn’t one of the more conservative GOP senators: he voted, for example, for Dodd-Frank, the financial regulations legislation hailed by Warren as “the strongest set of financial reforms in three generations.” But he is sympathetic to the financial sector.
Warren, as you may recall, took some credit for the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement (though of late she has backed off somewhat).
Which would you prefer to thrive? Wall Street? Or Occupy Wall Street?
That is the question before Bay Street voters.