The Curious Candidacy of Elizabeth Warren
By: David Bozeman
Consider the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren, the likely Democratic contender for the US Senate seat from Massachusetts now held by Scott Brown. For a woman boasting such a spectacular resume (Harvard law professor, bankruptcy expert, assistant to the president and a contributor to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, among other distinctions), this rising star is a walking cliche. That alone wouldn’t be bad, in that not all cliches are necessarily wrong, but Elizabeth Warren’s dreary campaign embodies the stultifying, can’t-do mentality of the left that has depressed American initiative and confidence for generations.
Elizabeth Warren is everywhere. Emily’s List has endorsed her as a champion for progressive values and a fighter for the middle class. According to her own website, “The way middle class families have been getting hammered for years, somebody’s got to be willing to stand up. Someone has to step up to level the playing field with the big banks.” Google Warren Buffett or Elizabeth Barrett Browning and you will likely find lively exhortations to join her fight to save the middle class. From whom, you might ask. Presumably the Republicans. One of the lamest of political cliches, the GOP as the party of the rich, truly defies logic. No party remains viable for most of its 150-year existence by catering to as narrow a demographic as ‘the rich.’ Then, of course, there’s Wall Street, which is so broad as to be indefinable, given that millions of individuals from all walks of life comprise the American stock market. But we know who they mean. In us-versus-them fashion, of course, it’s the rich, though one could well advise Ms. Warren to ask her Democratic co-horts, if Wall Street is so bad, why are you accepting millions from them in contributions?
Then there is Warren’s famous quote, the video of which has gone viral (speaking of cliches). “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear, you moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. . . ”
The utter naivete of that statement is all the more astounding considering her unrivaled credentials. From where did the money to pave the roads and educate the workers come? But somehow her condescending tone is even more striking. “You built a factory out there — good for you.” Is that the sort of unifying tone we can expect from Senator Elizabeth Warren? Good for you? Liberal Democrats don’t need to enact bad policy to drag down a nation’s morale. Like the inconsiderate louse who sucks the life out of a room with his mere presence, liberal talking points depress entrepreneurial initiative and confidence, leaving unspent capital, unemployment and diminished potential in their wake.
I am a man of modest (but comfortable) means. Like millions of others, I don’t define myself as middle-class or by any economic status. We are American citizens. Period. However tough the times — and this downturn has touched many of us adversely — none of us feel like serfs, permanently locked in servile status. Any upward mobility we achieve will result from our own determination, thus we do not see castigating the rich as our key to economic empowerment. True, Americans love an underdog, but only in the sense that we see the underdog as the ultimate winner, when left free to move as far as his talents and hard work will take him.
It is not just a fiscal crisis we face but a crisis of spirit. Instead of strengthening our sagging sense of ourselves, Elizabeth Warren would rather preach from the tired liberal playbook — her website stresses her commitment to equal opportunity (“No one should be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, gender identity or expression, or religion.”) which has been the law of the land for how many years now? When will liberals publicly speak to members of minority groups as fellow citizens and not as props for class-based rhetoric? From the wealthiest to the humblest beginner, it is to ourselves and our values and not the likes of Elizabeth Warren that we must look to sustain our national life. And that is not just a cliche, that should be our national creed.