Elizabeth Warren crouches in the not-running tall grass as Hillary flounders

I am rapidly coming to the preliminary conclusion that Elizabeth Warren will be the Democrats’ 2016 standard bearer. Hillary Clinton  is just too unlikable (remember that Barack Obama called her “likable enough” in one of the most memorable back handed compliments of recent political memory), and too transparently greedy, self-serving, and out of touch. Not to mention the appalling foreign affairs crises the United States faces in the wake of her term as Secretary of State. Her brand is tarnished.

Jonah Goldberg, one of the canniest and funniest observers of the political scene, has a must-read column on why Warren is likely to be the Barack Obama of 2016. A few highlights:

In 2007, Democrats were delirious with rage about the Iraq war. Hillary Clinton, the “inevitable” presidential front-runner, had voted for the war and refused to apologize for it. Other leading candidates, including Joe Biden, John Edwards, and Chris Dodd, voted for it too. This left a huge opening for a credible antiwar candidate. Barack Obama, inexperienced and underqualified, nonetheless jumped into the vacuum. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, the issue that obsesses the base of the Democratic party is income inequality. I think that’s foolish. (snip)

Obscure economics professor David Brat toppled House majority leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia primary largely by tapping into that populism, particularly on such issues as immigration and Wall Street bailouts.

Senator Warren owes her left-wing hero status to the Democratic version of this kind of populism. She’s been talking for years about how the well-connected “rig the system” for their own benefit. Now, I find many of Warren’s proposed solutions — more regulation, more taxes, more government, etc. — abhorrent. But, believe it or not, I am not a Democratic-primary voter. Those who are love what Warren is selling.

Which is why Warren is perfectly poised to be the Obama of 2016. And the role of Hillary Clinton will be played by Hillary Clinton.

I take Warren quite seriously, even though she didn’t win a big margin of victory over Scott Brown in deep blue Massachusetts. The “historic first” factor of a woman running for president is not to be minimized. Many, many female voters would hold their noses or put aside doubts over Warren’s phony claim of Native American status,  or her hypocrisy in serving big financial clients for big bucks while posing as a populist .

Warren is very smart to pretend she’s not running. Let Hilary Clinton continue to self destruct, ably aided by Chelsea (“I don’t care about money”), the 600k per year part time NBC star-without-starpower, and Bill, who can’t stop boasting about his wealth.