I’m bored with the 2012 election already.
Even as Republicans keep on saying hilariously insensitive or downright offensive things (Romney calls $374,000 in speaking fees “not much,” Santorum would counsel his daughter to keep the child even if she were raped, Gingrich just keeps on being Gingrich), I find myself not that entertained. Republican debate drinking games have lost their appeal; taking a shot for every mention of Reagan or ObamaCare gets boring.
Even the events that would be big surprises have somehow lost their punch. Santorum actually won Iowa, Gingrich pulls off an upset in South Carolina—big deal. Perhaps news has a shorter shelf-life as a result of 24-hour media saturation. Increasingly, The New York Times, The Huffington Post and Politico simultaneously report the same information.
I’ve had a political crush for a while, but it’s time I got explicit: I’m in love with Elizabeth Warren.
The irony is that she almost wasn’t a candidate for any political office. Warren, the architect and advisor of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was passed over by Obama to lead the agency she conceptualized. The Bureau was the product of 2010’s Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform legislation. Its purpose is to prevent financial institutions from taking advantage of and deceiving consumers. Democrats feared that Republicans in Congress would block her nomination—a strong advocate for ordinary Americans could never lead the bureau that Republicans and financial institutions didn’t want to exist.
Obama chose Warren as the Interim Director, but he ultimately nominated Richard Cordray to lead the agency. When Republicans made it clear they would still block Cordray’s nomination, President Obama got him in as a recess appointment.
So, after much encouragement, Warren decided to run for the Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy and currently held by Senator Scott Brown.
I get chills when I read Warren’s biography, and let me explain why.
Republicans are painting her as an “elitist,” but she’s not one whatsoever. Yes, she is a Harvard Law professor, but she worked her way to this position based on sheer brainpower and determination. Born in Oklahoma to a janitor and Sunday school teacher, she waited tables and won a debate scholarship to attend college.
To me, the most inspiring part of the whole story is that she put herself through Rutgers Law as a new mother (she had her first child at 22). She has taught law at Harvard for almost 20 years and has published nationally best-selling books. She’s been honored with Harvard teaching awards (plural) and by the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association. In short, she’s a badass.
Of course, the entire premise of this column is nonsensical. I realize I’m enthusing about a potential presidential candidate who hasn’t even won her Senate seat or served in Congress. And yet, why not?
We elected President Obama because he was “change we could believe in.” He’s done some incredible things. I like the withdrawal from Iraq, the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Lily-Ledbetter Fair Pay, Matthew Shepard and Dodd-Frank Acts, the end of the use of water-boarding and the approval of same-sex partner benefits for federal employees.
These are all promising developments, but there’s still a lot that Obama needs to accomplish. There remain big things to be done in his (fingers-crossed, please let the nominee be Gingrich) second term. But in the interim, can’t a woman daydream a little?
Nate Silver of The New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog took the words out of my mouth on Jan. 19 when he tweeted “Can we make Elizabeth Warren vs. Scott Brown be the presidential race and let these dudes and Obama run for senate?” Just this past Tuesday, Warren and Brown agreed to an anti-Super PAC pledge (you may have heard of Super PACs—they’re what Colbert has been satirizing of late).
Warren and Brown have chosen to reject the “corporations are people” concept articulated by Romney and legitimized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The two candidates have made a deal that for every third-party (e.g. Super PAC) ad buy, half of the money will be donated to the opposing candidate’s charity of choice. It’s intended to disincentivise third-party ads in Massachusetts…. We’ll see what happens.
Elizabeth Warren would be an incredible presidential candidate: She’s brilliant, well spoken and has inspired real financial changes by fighting for Americans. She has the fundraising capabilities (her Jan. 19 “money bomb” raised more than a million in a single day) and a compelling personal history. She is change we can believe in, and I want it, now. Go creep videos of her on YouTube (she was on “The Daily Show” on Tuesday) and sign up for her campaign’s emails. I promise you’ll develop the same political crush.
Samantha Lachman is a Trinity junior. Her column runs every other Thursday.