Friday, September 16, 2011

Progressive Activist and Scholar Elizabeth Warren Enters Senate Race In Massachusetts

Elizabeth Warren

Katherine Taylor for The New York Times
Elizabeth Warren greeted potential voters in Boston on Wednesday after announcing her candidacy for the United States Senate.


This is great news! I have long been a huge fan and passionate supporter of this woman and her truly progressive politics [see what I've said about her in the past in The Panopticon Review here]. Elizabeth Warren has consistently proven over the last three decades of her outstanding and stellar career as a major national consumer advocate, social and economic policy scholar and activist, and fierce effective critic of Wall Street and corporate corruption just how dedicated she is to real substantive change for the poor, working, and middle class, and has won the hearts and minds of many people throughout the country across all racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual preference lines. Her intellectual brilliance, steadfast honesty, INTEGRITY (the most important, reliable, and necessary value in all of politics in my opinion), and compassion are sorely needed in our national political discourse and I fervently hope she will win the Democratic Party primary in Massachusetts and go on to defeat the Republican prettyboy and lumbering political hack Scott Brown for the Senate in 2012. Elizabeth will restore the lustre of a bold legislative agenda and fighting progressive leadership that was lost when Senator Edward Kennedy died in 2009 and his seat was vacated after 47 legendary years. It was a national disgrace that the inept Democratic Party lost Senator Kennedy's seat in 2010 but Ms. Warren will more than uphold Kennedy's proud and effective legacy if she is elected next year. We desperately need her and what she has to offer, especially in this too often shameful period of political equivocation and capitulation to the right emanating from both the White House and Congress. Just think: If Warren can win the Senate seat in Massachusetts we'll actually have at least TWO Senators in this country who really give a damn and will FIGHT HARD for the People no matter what: Ms. Warren and the always tough and courageous independent Socialist from Vermont, Bernie Sanders...


Warren Kicks Off Senate Campaign
September 15, 2011
New York Times

BOSTON — Elizabeth Warren announced her candidacy for the United States Senate on Wednesday morning, then plunged right into street-level politics, arriving at a train stop here shortly after sunrise to greet potential voters at the outset of what promises to be a long and heated race.

Ms. Warren, a Harvard professor and consumer advocate whose attacks on Wall Street have won her a national fan base, must first compete in a crowded Democratic primary contest that will not take place until next September. Should she win that race, she will go on to oppose Senator Scott P. Brown, a popular Republican incumbent whose seat Democrats consider a crucial target if they are to keep control of the Senate after 2012.

In an announcement video released early Wednesday, Ms. Warren, 62, painted herself as an unyielding defender of the middle class, an image she has been honing for years and which will be central to her campaign.

“The middle class has been chipped at, hacked at, squeezed and hammered for a generation now, and I don’t think Washington gets it,” she said in the video. “Washington is rigged for big corporations that hire armies of lobbyists.”

The Democrats’ reasons for wanting to capture Mr. Brown’s seat are not only practical but emotional: Mr. Brown, then a little-known Republican, scandalized the Democratic establishment in Massachusetts and Washington by winning a 2010 special election for the seat that Edward M. Kennedy had held for 47 years until his death.

Mr. Brown’s opponent in that election, the state’s attorney general, Martha Coakley, was criticized for not having worked hard enough to connect with regular voters, something Mr. Brown proved adept at. Ms. Warren’s meeting and greeting on Wednesday — which also included stops in New Bedford, Framingham, Worcester and Springfield — may in part be a symbolic message that she will be a different kind of candidate.

“This is fun,” she said in between grasping hands and patting shoulders in South Boston, where she spent more than an hour greeting commuters who mostly appeared confused about who she was and why she wanted to talk to them. “I like people, and I like to get out and talk to them.”

Ms. Warren, who over the last year faced off against hostile Republicans on Capitol Hill as she set up a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, added jokingly, “It’s better than a Congressional hearing.”

Ms. Warren, an Oklahoma native who has never run for office, said she was well prepared for a campaign regardless. She had hoped to run the consumer agency, but President Obama decided against tapping her after Senate Republicans threatened to block her nomination.

“I’ve stood up to some pretty tough folks over the past few years,” she told reporters at the rail station. “There have been a lot of very powerful interests who have tried to shut me down, squeeze me, push me sideways, and so far it just hasn’t worked. I know how to stand my ground.”

Other Democrats in the race include Alan Khazei, who co-founded a national service program and finished third in a field of four in the Democratic Senate primary in 2009, and Setti Warren, the mayor of suburban Newton. The other declared candidates are Thomas Conroy, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives; Marisa DeFranco, a lawyer in Salem; Robert Massie, a former candidate for lieutenant governor; Jim King, a lawyer in Boston; and Herb Robinson, an engineer from Newton.

Mr. Brown has already raised nearly $10 million for his re-election race, according to the most recent filings, but many Democrats say Ms. Warren could match him in fund-raising by tapping into national networks. In response to a reporter’s question, she played down the importance of money, saying, “I can be outspent, but I can’t be outworked.”

“I’m going to be out talking to people,” she added. “I think that’s my principal job.”

Among the challenges facing Ms. Warren is that Massachusetts has a poor track record of electing women. Only four have ever been elected to the House of Representatives, and only six to a statewide office.

Kathryn Kinzel, a hospital researcher who happened upon Ms. Warren while waiting for a bus, said she was an independent voter who had supported Mr. Brown in 2010 but was open to other candidates. She said she had “vaguely” heard of Ms. Warren and liked what she heard in their brief exchange.

“She told me that she really wanted to fight for the middle class, that they’ve been hammered on for a very long time and if things didn’t start to change we’d be in big trouble,” said Ms. Kinzel, 25. “As a member of the middle class, I kind of agree with that. But I’m not quite sure if any one candidate is able to turn things around for an entire group of people, especially with the way things are in Washington right now.”