We've reached that point of time every four years when the hysteria around the presidential elections begins to stir up; the Republicans have already held (what feels like) several thousand debates, talking heads are talking poll numbers, and primaries are on the horizon. But, I'm not going to talk about any of those blowhards and their posturing (though, if you haven't seen Herman Cain's newest campaign commerical, go watch it now. It's seriously amazing). Instead, I want to talk about a Massachusetts Senate race.
Why, you ask? Because I think it's going to be the most important race in 2012, because it pits the two biggest forces in Washington reform against one another: Elizabeth Warren, creator (though not head, in a baffling circumstance) of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is running for the Democratic nomination against a field that she will almost certainly sweep. While this won't be decided until next September, she will be running against the incumbent Scott Brown, a Republican and Wall Street shill. Essentially, this will be a referendum of populism vs. Citizens United.
I will freely admit, I'm a bit of an Elizabeth Warren fanboy. She's a conflagration of awesomeness and relatability; she was one of very few women in her time to ever receive a scholarship to George Washington University, holds degrees in audiology and speech pathology, taught children with disabilities in a public school, and was editor of the Rutgers Law Review. She then entered academia, teaching in Texas, Michigan, and at Harvard, was the Vice President of the American Law Institute, and is also a member of the FDIC's Committee on Economic Inclusion and the Executive Council of the National Bankruptcy Conference, amongst several other high-level economic institutions. She entered government service in 2008, when Harry Reid tapped her to lead the TARP Oversight Committee.
So, she's got the CV. But, as has been proved in the past, Americans are not necessarily crazy about brainiacs serving in public office. This is Warren's trump card: she is able to clearly and concisely talk about the issues at hand. Watch:
See? She's the complete package. She's the kind of person who might actually be able to make change in Washington.
Her obstacle, then, is Scott Brown. You probably remember him from last year, when he beat Martha Coakley in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat in the Senate, thanks largely to Coakley's own deficiencies as a candidate. That election occurred just before the Citizens United ruling passed, and thus Brown was unable to take advantage of its largesse; now, though, he'll be able to reap its benefits, which should be enormous, given Brown's friendliness with the financial and banking sectors. His donor list is almost comical in this way; just look at his top donors. FMR Corp is Fidelity Investments, the largest mutual fund and financial services group in the world. Greenberg Traurig LLP? That's Jack Abramoff's old law firm. Goldman Sachs we all know from the time they helped destroy our economy. General Electric, Bank of America, and most of the big insurance groups turn up there too. This is not someone on the side of Occupy Wall Street or any group seeking to take power from corporations.
Oh, did I mention Warren is a big supporter of Occupy? Yeah, just in case you needed something else.
Were Warren to be elected to Senate, not only would she be defeating one of the biggest allies of the banks and insurance groups who want to destroy Dodd-Frank and gut the new healthcare bill, but she'll be joining the ranks of the few real progressives in elected office, like Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, or Jan Schakowsky right here in Illinois. This is how we start to turn the corner and start repairing all the damage done to our country, by electing progressives to office. Voting is important in all elections, but I think especially in this one; the Massachusetts race really is a microcosm of what's happening in our country right now; people are mad, on both sides of the divide, and if more Tea Party schmucks get into office, we're in serious trouble.
I can't claim that if, say, the Democrats got the House back in 2012 that they'd fix everything, because we all saw what happened when they did have a majority, but in our fucked up political system it's pretty much all we've got to work with. And I don't think anyone with a progressive outlook on life can argue with what Elizabeth Warren wants to do. So, I doubt many of you live in Massachusetts, but you can kick a few bucks her way, which frankly will do as much good as casting a vote for her; especially when you're running against someone who will have more or less unlimited corporate funding, every dollar counts, especially when you're an enemy of the corporations who control the media who will put out word of your campaign and ideals.
So, there we have it. Elizabeth Warren 2012: a fucking good reason to be optimistic about politics again.