The conservative boomlet for Elizabeth Warren
Some highly-respected conservatives are taking the opportunity of Elizabeth Warren’s current book tour for A Fighting Chance to have fun, pushing the notion that she could actually win the Democrats’ nomination in 2016 and be a more formidable candidate than Hillary Clinton. Byron York and William Jacobson adduce a number of reasons for the Massachusetts freshman senator to contest the nomination. York lists these factors:
1. Life is unpredictable. Clinton will be 69 years old on inauguration day 2017, nearly the oldest president ever. She has had a few health scares. By all accounts, she left her previous four-year stint in government service exhausted. She might not run, and the Democrat in second place in the polls, Vice President Joe Biden -- 74 on inauguration day -- is too old to be president. Beyond them, Democrats have nobody -- except Elizabeth Warren.
2. Parties need competition. The primary process isn't just to allow voters to pick a nominee. It's for the candidates to become better candidates. The rigors of campaigning, the day-to-day jostle with competitors and the stress of high-profile debates all make candidates better. Conversely, a cakewalk through the primaries could leave a nominee in poor fighting shape for a general election. Warren would make Clinton a better candidate, and vice-versa.
3. The Left wants a hero. Clinton has never really excited the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party. They see her as an overcautious centrist like her husband, and on top of that, many have never forgiven her for voting to authorize the war in Iraq. Warren, on the other hand, has thrilled the Left with her attacks on inequality, plutocrats and big financial institutions.
4. Hillary ran a dumb campaign in 2008 and might do so again. For a group of seasoned veterans, the 2008 Clinton campaign showed a stunning ignorance of how to win delegates in a Democratic contest. Rival Barack Obama exploited that weakness brilliantly. For example, Obama collected more net delegates by winning the Idaho caucuses, with 21,000 participants, than Clinton did by winning the New Jersey primary, with more than 1 million voters. Clinton just didn't pay attention to the smaller stuff, particularly the caucuses, and her cluelessness helped Obama win. It might help another rival in 2016.
5. One more time: Life is unpredictable. This is Warren's only chance to run. She will be 67 on Inauguration Day 2017. (Has any party ever fielded a group as old as Clinton, Biden and Warren?) A run in 2020 or later is out of the question. Hillary, now struggling to define her legacy as Secretary of State, is running on pure entitlement. The only thing about her candidacy that truly excites the Democratic base is that she would be the first woman president. Of course, that applies to Elizabeth Warren, too. And Warren would present a far fresher face to voters than Clinton, who has been in the national spotlight since 1992.
Forget the current polling as between Hillary and Elizabeth Warren. It pits Hillary against someone who “isn’t running.”
For all my criticisms of Warren, and they are extensive, I am convinced that if she ran, she would crush Hillary, just as Obama did.
Warren, as did Obama, has a unique ability to demagogue the core Democratic narrative of victimhood in ways that would make Hillary blush. She is more cunning than Hillary, more popular with the base, would bring an excitement the contrived Ready-for-Hillary movement could only dream of. Democrats may be “ready” for Hillary, but they don’t really want her.
Face it, Democrats, in your heart of hearts, you want Elizabeth Warren to run. She is the next One you have been waiting for.
Of course, both of these advisories fall into the same category as liberals like Robert Shrum and Wolf Blitzer telling Republicans to nominate Jeb Bush if they want to win: advice whose motives must be questioned. Still, I have to confess that I hope that Warren’s ego takes in these thoughts and she does run. She is a lot more fun to mock than Hillary, perhaps mostly because the latter has been in our face for 22 years now, and because the prospect of hearing her screechy voice throughout a campaign, not to mention God forbid a presidency, is more than I care to contemplate. Warren, for all her pretensions to minority status and intellectual accomplishment, is a lot easier on the ears.
Then there is the matter of the mostly latent animosity between the hard left and the establishment factions of the Democratic Party, mirroring the same tensions in the GOP, which receive about a hundred times more attention from the media (for obvious reasons). Any chance we get to bring this cleavage to light ought to be seized upon.
I consider it highly amusing that the Democrats, after seizing the youth vote with Obama, and now alienating much of it with Obamacare using the younger generation as a cash cow, and with the job famine under Obama, are now stuck with three front runners in their senior years.
So I join with York and Jacobson in urging Warren to go for it, in her last chance at the presidency she knows she deserves.