Sure, the thought of Sen. Elizabeth Warren running for President of the United States got me excited there for awhile. Warren is a progressive’s progressive, and I’ve said before right here on PoliticusUSA that in many ways this woman is my hero. Anyone who isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the big banks in the way that she has is someone who deserves a monument erected in their honor right on the front lawn of the White House. Or maybe even a great big cast iron middle finger stretching toward the sky on Wall Street. Warren has identified and doggedly challenged the same threat to democracy that Teddy Roosevelt took on at the turn of the 20th century when he made it his business to bust the trusts. All that power and influence in so few greedy little hands was perhaps the biggest threat to the sustainability of democracy during Teddy Roosevelt’s time, and now here we are over a century later caught in that same trap. And the only high-profile politician making any real noise about this threat, apart from Bernie Sanders, has been Elizabeth Warren.
So sure. How could I not get excited that someone like this would run? Hell, after being alive to witness the election and two-term presidency of Barack Obama, I don’t know if my poor widdle heart would be able to withstand all that joy to follow up eight years of President Obama with another eight of President Warren. It would have been a blast to watch her use Jeb Bush for firewood during the debates.
But Warren is not running. It is not going to happen, and I think it’s time to accept that fact. As my colleague Jason Easley pointed out in his post earlier this week, if Warren had any intentions of running then it’s highly unlikely she would have accepted Hillary Clinton’s personal invitation to come on by the house and chat awhile. I think it’s safe to say they probably weren’t knitting. Clinton wanted to get Warren’s ideas, but she also wanted to clear the field and broadcast the none-too-subtle message nationwide that Warren will not be a factor, nor does she want to be. Warren is not being bullied because, well, good luck with that one. Warren is being courted, and she is being asked in as polite a way as possible if she wouldn’t please oh please mind playing the role of team player for Team Hillary. And by accepting Hillary Clinton’s invitation – combined with every other flaming denial she has issued time and time again – she effectively said that this was fine with her. If there could be a headline attached to that meeting between the two, it could have been, “Warren to Hillary: I’m not your roadblock.”
Because in the end this doesn’t come down to how far ahead the polls say Hillary is over Warren at this early stage of the game because it doesn’t even matter. Hillary hasn’t even formally announced and Warren has done everything short of shoot her supporters in the face to convince the electorate that she’s sitting this one out. So exactly how reliable could such a poll be? Warren wasn’t scared away by those polls any more than she was scared away by the money behind Hillary. It takes more than that to scare Warren. Warren is kinda like Omar in “The Wire” once she sets her sights on something; Warren don’t scare.
What this is about is Warren really not being interested in the presidency, possibly because she doesn’t want the massive headache and has never really had designs on running an entire country, but also because she believes she’s more effective where she is right now. What this is about is acknowledging Hillary’s glaring shortcomings – at least to progressives – but then looking around the room to see who else we (realistically) got. What this is about is acknowledging that not only is Hillary a far better option than any Republican candidate, she just might make a really good president.
Keith Owens (AKA Black Liberal Boomer) is a Detroit-based writer who has worked for The Detroit Free Press, Detroit’s alternative newsweekly the Metro Times, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and other newspapers. He was also a nationally syndicated columnist with Universal Press Syndicate for three years beginning in 1993.