Friday, September 17, 2010

Who’s afraid of Elizabeth Warren?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 9/17/10

The appointment of Elizabeth Warren is the best day for Democrats in a very long time. She seems to be that Harvard professor who actually belongs there and not on the golf course at Martha’s Vineyard with the leisure class and the entitled. She seems in essence to be that which was once the essence of Harvard. She seems to be the embodiment of New England as it once was. Like James’s Isabel Archer she is smart, competent, determined and makes her own way. She talks straight and honest and says the same things at a Daily Kos convention as she says on Cavuto. Everyone should be proud of her and thrilled that we have her. But everyone is afraid of her.

Wall Street is and the Republicans are but the Democrats seem to be as well. She has already sent so many to the fainting couch. Not since Sarah Palin has there been such a disturbance in the force. But Elizabeth Warren is the defense and possibly the only defense against Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and the prairie fire that is rising in the west. Irony will no longer work, nor will the late night tittering of Tina Fey and David Letterman. Or the weakling parody of Colbert and Stewart. It is decadent and debilitating. With Elizabeth Warren the Democrats finally enter the room. And potentially – who knew? – awaken a new paradigm of excellence.

It has been a long wait. Several years ago, Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia and Senator today, and Jim Webb, the Senator from Virginia, started a new season for the Democrats. It was first identified when Markos Moulitsas, Hill commentator and founder of the original political blog, The Daily Kos, identified a generational division within the Democrats in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

These divisions need to happen and the Democrats had a head start. But in that same period he had a post on Daily Kos asking, "Won't these Clinton-era Democrats ever go away?" Even before the senate races in 2008 Clinton loyalists were raising money for Hillary. And the Clinton baggage remains a burden.

Elizabeth Warren can and should turn the tide. The Democrats can rebuild their stock with her. I am delighted that President Obama has appointed her to head the new consumer protection agency. But he has another job opening ahead, Chief of Staff. For someone who has taken every wrong direction in making appointments (Joe Biden?) the President might ask himself, What Would Bill Belichick do? Appoint the most able person to replace Randy Morse or my cousin Darryl from Chicago? Warren brings a new ethic to the Democrats. They must demand now nothing less.

The stables are starting to clean out. Time to start again. Warren and as far as I can see, only Warren, gives the Dems a fighting chance.

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