Elizabeth Warren is not just a beacon of principle in a fog of sleaze, a shining example of courage and substance in a political system based on sound bites and “spin.” She is much more. I see her as the hope of a new political age in America. If she is elected to the U.S. Senate, it will prove that Democrats can win over voters by sticking to their populist message, that they don’t have to weasel and compromise to succeed.
The Democratic Party has become an unworkable mixture of incompatible elements. While some elected representatives remain faithful to the party platform, far too many are so motivated by fund-raising concerns that they are willing to betray their mission.
Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska is the poster child for this repugnant group. But he is not alone. Time and again, the so-called Blue Dogs have joined fores with the just-say-no Republicans to block policies that could have averted the widespread distress now afflicting America.
And the principled exceptions are becoming fewer as stalwarts like Alan Grayson get booted and icons like Barney Frank give up in disgust and walk away.
As I look back on President Obama’s first term, it seems clear that he could accomplish much more if he had a reliable party behind him. He does not. His agenda has been thwarted repeatedly by the treacherous Blue Dogs who infest his party.
Their ostensible rationale is that their constituents are so conservative that they could not embrace any progressive policy and get re-elected. But in many instances, the polls have proved them wrong. The voters in their districts are often willing to accept policies that they oppose.
To me, the real explanation is that these so-called Democrats represent the interests that fund their campaigns, not the voters who sent them to Congress.
Ms. Warren does not mince words. She refuses to dissemble even when the popular sentiment may seem to be against her convictions. But she is that rare combination, an intellectual who can make complex ideas clear to anyone. And her sincerity is unquestionable.
Granted, Massachusetts is not a typical American state. The people of New England seem to be generally more enlightened than – say – those in Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana or Alabama. I don’t believe Rick Perry could ever in a million years become governor of a state anywhere in the Northeast.
But the people of Massachusetts did elect Scott Brown to the Senate seat vacated by Ted Kennedy’s death. And the betting this time was that Brown would keep the seat for the Republicans.
The financial elite see Ms. Warren as a grave threat and have rushed to support Scott Brown with a bottomless supply of cash.
But Elizabeth Warren has more than money. She has conviction and a crystal-clear message, which she is not afraid to deliver. She is proving that shoe-leather and elbow grease can defeat paid publicity.
An article by Jason Easley in PoliticusUSA yesterday reports that a new poll has Elizabeth Warren four points ahead of Scott Brown.
I am betting on Ms. Warren.
True Democrats everywhere should be rooting for her. Her victory would show that a genuine progressive can win in America, that Americans are not as conservative as the pundits would have you believe.
And, surely, there must be others out there who share her convictions. If progressives know what’s good for them, they will identify these candidates in the primaries and make sure they are the ones who represent the Democratic Party in next year’s general elections.