Elizabeth Warren… populism, class warfare, and what’s shaping up to be the most interesting race in the country

When Elizabeth Warren announced her candidacy for Senate last week, polls showed her trailing Scott Brown by a wide margin. Remarkably, in just one week’s time, though, she’s not only closed the gap, but surpassed the incumbent Republican. I’m sure some of it has to do with the fact that it’s a historically Democratic seat, and that the voters of Massachusetts are beginning to see Brown for the corporate stooge that he is, but I think, for the most part, it can be attributed to the fact that Warren, unlike most politicians of our era, speaks openly and honestly about the situation facing the American middle class. Here, for instance, is video of Warren addressing voters in Andover, Massachusetts last month, when she was still exploring the possibility of running in the Democratic primary.

This, for those of you unwilling to watch the video, is how Warren responds to the charge of “class warfare”:

…There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

You built a factory out there—good for you! But I want to be clear.

You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.

You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.

You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.

You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea—God bless. Keep a big hunk of it.

But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along…

I know that good, old-fashioned populism doesn’t generally work in America, or at least it hasn’t in recent history, but I don’t know that we’ve ever had someone like Warren articulating it like this before. I know that the Republicans will try to cast her as an Ivy League Socialist, but, judging from this video, and all of the other speeches I’ve heard her make, I just don’t see it working. They may be able to paint her as weak on national security issues, and play upon the fears of voters in that way, but I don’t see anyone being able to beat her in a race that’s primarily about economic issues. She’s the right person, at the right time, and I’m looking forward to following her race closely in 2012. My hope is that she beats Brown handily, and that other Democrats start to take notice. And, I look forward to voting for her on a national ticket in 2016. (side note: If the leaders of the Democratic Party don’t make her a keynote speaker at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, they’re either out of their minds, or the party is too beholden to corporate America to salvage.)

And, here, for those of you who can’t get enough, is footage of Warren on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program this morning.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

[Those of you with a few extra bucks in your pocket are encourage to invest them in Warren’s campaign by clicking here.]

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  1. Glen S.
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Wow! A viable candidate for national office speaking the truth to power with passion, and humor, and with such a genuine way as to suggest that neither her message nor delivery has yet been “shaped” by consultants and advisers.

    I would LOVE to see her join Bernie Sanders in the Senate.

  2. Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    It’s amazing to me that, in this huge country of ours, there are only a handful of people who can talk about things openly and honestly like this.

  3. josh
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    I would love to see her join Bernie Sanders in many things.


  4. Tommy
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Her honesty is refreshing. Too nice (or smart) of a person to publicly rail Obama for not getting appointed to lead the new Consumer Agency (remember, our ‘leader’ has never fought for anything very hard and this would have been a fight). Finally – the first question out of the dickwad panel interviewer’s mouth was a clear attempt to show that she has no chops when it comes national defense. I think she handled that well. Good luck to her.

  5. Posted September 22, 2011 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I think this is great. It is a plus that we might not see her get involved in some stupid sex scandal.

    It seems that every time Mark gets behind a candidate, they get wrapped up in some scandal involving young girls.

  6. TeacherPatti
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    She’d better be for real. I think she is, but I’ve been let down so many times in the past….

  7. Edward
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    …..like in bed, Josh?

    Now that would be a scandal.

  8. Mr. X
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    We liked Kendrick Meek too. Remember?


    Of course, Warren has a better resume and a higher national profile than he did. I just have this fear that, when people make too much sense, the American people start to turn against them, thinking they’re naive or something. Hopefully that doesn’t happen here.

    And I hear you about John Edwards, Pete. I thought that he was a good guy too. Maybe I’m naive, but I think it’s really different this time. I don’t think that she wants the power or the money or the sex. I think she had a good thing at Harvard and kind of got drawn into politics. I think she’s the kind of politician we should have more of – someone who gets drawn in, later in life, because of a desire to change what he or she sees as injustice in the system.

  9. Ricky
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The Dems should dump Biden and run Warren in his place. Then she would be poised to run in 16. Maybe she’d help Obama find his testacles and he would actually stand up and fight and become the “socialist” he is accused of being. I somehow doubt it though.

  10. Mr. X
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I love the idea, Ricky, but I think it’s too late for that. I think she’s committed to the Mass. Senate seat race in 2012. I can’t see her pulling out now. And I think that’s a good thing for the Dems, as, without her, it looked like Brown was going to keep that seat. If Obama had any balls, he would have given her Geithner’s position a while ago.

  11. Demetrius
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    “If Obama had any balls, he would have given her (Warren) Geithner’s position a while ago.”

    Based on some of the stories coming out lately about the Obama White House, it seems that Geithner likely would have “vetoed” that decision.

  12. Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Mr. X,

    I must say that I took the Edwards bait, too. That was truly one of the most depressing political events of the past decade, besides all the others.

  13. anonymous 6
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    For all the hoopla and excitement over Obama’s election, I’m afraid that he’ll just go down in history as a placeholder President. There will be chapters on Reagan and the little Bush in history books because they attempted big things. Obama had an opportunity. He came in with the support ant the enthusiasm for change, but didn’t take advantage of it. He could have led us into a new age. Instead he decided to let Wall Street take the lead, handing over huge giveaways to the pharmaceutical industry, bailing out the criminal banking industry, and, just recently, kneecapping the EPA. I’ll do Ricky one better. I’d like to see Warren run AGAINST Obama in 2012.

  14. Meta
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    The Street:

    The reason for Warren’s newfound Internet stardom is simple. She was able to articulate — in a few words — what the Democratic Party has been unable to communicate for years.


  15. Ricky
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the link to an interesting report on ThinkProgress. http://thinkprogress.org/report/koch-oil-speculation/

    Kinda says it all.

    Anon 6…I’m not thrilled with Obama either, but we have no other rational choice. Unless a third party candidate comes along that blows me away I have to vote for him again, and I think he knows that. Maybr he needs some extra testosterone to make his balls grow.

  16. TaterSalad
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    When discussing taxes, she should have hammered the theme that GE (Obama’s main squeeze), Exxon and Goldman Sachs pay no taxes and Microsoft just 7%. Our national tax disfunction is NOT that the wealthy pay 36% instead of 39%; it’s that a majority of U.S. corporations don’t pay jack shit, and hide their profits overseas, or bury them in a pile of Faustian accounting nonsense.

  17. TaterSalad
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Move over Jimmy Carter, we have found your replacement. His name is Barack Obama and he is now known throughout America as the “worst of the worst”! No more needs to be said! Case closed and final!

  18. Meta
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Paul Krugman.

    As background, it helps to know what has been happening to incomes over the past three decades. Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn’t changed — show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That’s growth, but it’s slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.

    Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn’t a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million.

    So do the wealthy look to you like the victims of class warfare?


  19. Pop Care
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the first exceptionally well edited, self proclaimed unaffiliated “amateur” video had me hooked. So I watched the second. After that, I’d had enough. I’m not trying to be overly cynical, but…

    Am I the only one who noticed that on a network owned by GE (NBC is owned by GE), GE happened to be the company that randomly popped up for discussion?

    Warren wants GE to be profitable she says, of course. She also wants them to pay their fare share, sounds great. Even better, she’s suddenly leading a race in a state where GE has major influence/investment. She announces her intention to hold GE accountable on a network owned by GE. And we’re supposed to be consoled that a candidate in a GE state, promises on a GE network, to hold GE accountable.

    To be more optimistic, if you have stock in GE, hold onto it. I think they’ve pretty well covered their bets.

  20. Posted September 24, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    If I’m not mistaken, NBC was sold to Comcast.

    (I just checked, GE still owns 49%. Comcast owns 51%.)

  21. Pop Care
    Posted September 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it’s a joint venture making both GE and Comcast way more powerful players. GE still, practically speaking, owns NBC. Neither GE’s nor Comcast’s influence is diminished by the joint venture, both are enhanced. It’s not a sale. It’s a joint venture.

    Obviously, for Warren (or any libera) to have a fighting chance she needs MSNBC, the primary news provider for a great deal of her potential voters, to give her positive air time.

    And to get positive air time on MSNBC (owned, in large part, by GE; owned, in other part, by their partner), she would likely have to be supportive of GE.

    Mark, what’s your take on this?

  22. Posted September 25, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I’m sick as a dog, and my brain isn’t working. I see what you’re getting at, but I don’t know that it was all that contrived n the part of Warren. GE has been in the press a lot for their reluctance to pay taxes. Of all the firms that don’t pay taxes, it seems as though they’ve become the poster boy. At least my sense is that they’re the most egregious. So, it didn’t surprise me to hear her call them out. You’re suggesting, however, that she could have done it purposefully so as to appeal to producers on the non-GE owned networks. Maybe. My sense is that she’s not that calculating, but who knows? I’m sorry that I can’t be more articulate, but I’m sick.

  23. TaterSalad
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Elizabeth Warren is a great example of big government and her love for re-distribution of wealth. Her attempt on the political will be very, very short. She’s a pure loser!

    Elizabeth Warren’s ”Moocher’s Credo” Deconstructed

    Posted: 26 Sep 2011 05:04 AM PDT

    Elizabeth Warren, albeit somewhat of an instant celebrity among liberals for her rant demeaning capitalism, individuality, individual enterprise, individual responsibility, individual initiative, and individual creativity … is, as ‘Green Lantern’ makes perfectly clear in his thorough debunking of Warren’s “moocher’s credo” over at American Spectator, nothing less than a typical liberal proponent of “third world”-like ‘moocherism’ whose spontaneous declaration of liberal and Democratic claims on the American economy perfectly explain why Obamaism points straight towards Greece.

    […] “We’re the ones who made you what you are!” “You never would have gotten anywhere without us!” “You owe us!” These are the common cries of people who are afraid they will come up short. And of course all this glides easily into, “You’re not going anywhere unless you take us.”

    […] What Elizabeth Warren is trying to do, then, is bring this Third World mentality to America. “Nobody in this country ever got rich on their own. Nobody!” “You only made it because of the rest of us.” Which is to say, “You owe us, buddy — big time.”

    To her way of thinking, things such as roads, law enforcement, and education can only be provided by the government. Without the state, every private business in America would be besieged by mobs trying to rip off their inventory and sell their machinery for scrap. (That “community organizers” such as Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama would probably be leading such mobs will pass notice for now.) …

    […] What Elizabeth Warren is expressing, then, is the moocher’s credo, updated to fit contemporary America. In the 1930s, liberals argued that government could run businesses better than private companies. They didn’t need to make a profit and could eliminate “greed.” They would install college-educated engineers and professionals to replace the ignorant plutocrats and cowboy capitalists that ran corporate America. Now liberals are content to regulate business instead of owning it. They have become parasites instead of carnivores. And so the rallying cry has become: “You couldn’t do it without us! Where’s our fair share?” …

  24. TaterSalad
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Warren is right out of the Communist Manifesto and anyone who “looks up to her” is definitely a Fidel Castro fan. Go live there if you like communism so much!


  25. TaterSalad
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Investing in Lizz Wareen is investing in communism:


  26. Meta
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    She may not have gotten your support, HaterSalad, but she got that of Russ Feingold.

    When we launched Progressives United, we knew one of our key missions would be to support progressive candidates that are committed to ending corporate political abuse.

    Today, I’m proud to announce Elizabeth Warren will be the first United States Senate candidate Progressives United will officially endorse and support.

    I’ve known Elizabeth and her husband for years, and she’s exactly the type of person who should be running for office.

    Supporting her campaign for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts will be an absolutely crucial part of our fight against the nasty influence of corporate money in politics — and she needs all the support we can give her before Friday.

    Click here to contribute $5 or more to Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign now.


    Elizabeth has fought for years to rein in Wall Street and protect the middle class.

    In 2005, she stood up against the Wall Street wish list of a bankruptcy bill — a huge corporate giveaway I opposed in the Senate. And after the big banks drove us into a recession, Elizabeth proposed a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, and then fought tirelessly to make sure the Obama administration created it.

    So when Elizabeth announced her decision to run for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts this month, to keep fighting for middle class families on Capitol Hill, I couldn’t have been happier.

    But on Friday, Elizabeth faces an important deadline: the end of the quarter, when she must submit her first public financial report showing how much money her campaign has raised.

    The corporate lobbyists and big money special interests have all had months — or in some cases years — to prepare, but Elizabeth just announced her candidacy a couple of weeks ago, so she needs to catch up.

    Let’s show that progressives nationwide can unite and make 1,000 contributions to her campaign before midnight on Friday. Will you join me?

    Help progressives make 1,000 contributions to Elizabeth Warren by contributing $5 or more today.


    The fight against the rising dominance of corporate money over our government and our society takes many forms.

    One thing’s for sure: It must include supporting great candidates like Elizabeth Warren.

    Thank you for uniting as a progressive,

    Russ Feingold
    Progressives United

    P.S. — In all my years in the Senate, I always took positions that I believed in, even when my own party tried to stand in the way. I know Elizabeth will be exactly the same kind of senator. Join me in supporting her right now.

  27. TaterSalad
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Beginning in 2013 things will “Change” and all of you little Hobbits will run for your caves like the rats you are!

  28. TaterSalad
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    How appropriate……….one socialist with another:


  29. TaterSalad
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    By the way……….thanks for the header before every post. I love it! Typical of a libera, socialist to do this while all the rest are using trash words and BS to get their points across. I love it! Just proves my point about liberals being losers!

  30. Meta
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Scott Brown has come out with a bold pronouncement on Elizabeth Warren’s figure.

    Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) Thursday said he was glad that one of his Democratic opponents, consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, didn’t “take her clothes off” to pay for college. Brown, who won his seat in a 2009 special election, was speaking onBoston radio station WZLX.

    Brown made his comments when asked about Warren’s response in a debate Tuesday to a question about how she paid for college. The question referenced the fact that Brown posed nude for Cosmopolitan in 1982 to make money.

    “I kept my clothes on,” Warren said, adding that she borrowed money to go to a public university and worked a part-time job.

    “Have you officially responded to Elizabeth Warren’s comment about how she didn’t take her clothes off?” the host asked Brown Wednesday.

    “Thank God!” Brown said, laughing.

    The host got a kick out it, too. “That’s what I said! I said, ‘Look, can you blame a good-looking guy for wanting to, you know…”

    I can’t imagine this is going to help him earn the votes of too many women.


One Trackback

  1. […] or so ago, Barack Obama, in a speech delivered in Roanoke, Virginia, channelled a little bit of Elizabeth “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own” Warren, and said the following: “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help… […]

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