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Elizabeth Warren: a force in the left, but can she reach the White House?

 

 

Americans Warm to Warren: the 'Anti-Hillary' (Cicero, Germany)

 

"New York's largest bookstore is filled to the brim. Many arrived hours before the reading. While Elizabeth Warren speaks, questions written on pieces of cardboard are collected. What's the most common question, the moderator wants to know. 'Whether or not Iím running for president,' the senator says. In response, a woman in the audience shouts, 'Run, Liz, run!' and applause breaks out. Warren smiles and shakes her head. 'No, I'm not running,' she says. The audience responds in unison, 'Awww!'"

 

By Dr. Eva C. Schweitzer*

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Translated By Stephanie Martin

 

May 17, 2014

 

Germany - Cicero - Original Article (German)

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: Will she, could she, challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination?

 

CLIP FROM MICHAEL MOORE'S Capitalism, A Love Story: Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren on how 'Wall St. got away with murder', 00:08:24RealVideo

She looks a little like a school teacher - trustworthy, honest, intellectual. Not at all like the radical-left critic of capitalism she is made out to be. Elizabeth Warren, Democratic senator from Massachusetts, has published her biography, A Fighting Chance. It's a play on words that means "a slim chance," but also "thereís a chance if you fight." Along with Thomas Pikettyís Capital in the Twenty-First Century, it's at the very top of U.S. Best Seller lists. Mind you, Warren is no working class advocate, but rather a defender of the middle class. But in the U.S., where the middle class is sinking into poverty, where millions have lost their homes, their jobs, and their health insurance, she sounds like Rosa Luxemburg.

 

"The game is rigged - rigged in favor of those who have money and who have power," she writes in Fighting Chance. Furthermore, "Big corporations hire armies of lobbyists to get billion-dollar loopholes into the tax system and persuade their friends in Congress to support laws that keep the playing field tilted in their favor."

 

Run Liz, Run

 

A week ago at Barnes & Noble in New York's Union Square: The cityís largest bookstore is filled to the brim. Many arrived hours before the reading. While Warren speaks, questions written on pieces of cardboard are collected. What's the most common question, the moderator wants to know. "Whether or not Iím running for president," the senator says. In response, a woman in the audience shouts, "Run, Liz, run!" and applause breaks out. Warren smiles and shakes her head. "No, Iím not running," she says. The audience responds in unison, "Awww!"

 

Elizabeth Warren, a 64 year-old university professor and lawyer who taught at Harvard, is the anti-Hillary. She is the Democrat that the party's left hopes will run when the 2016 presidential election begins. Whether Warren has a fighting chance in a party always anxiously eyeing its right is another question.She obviously isnít openly positioning herself today. In American politics, however, one cannot begin soon enough. Leftist groups like "Progressive Change Campaign Committee" or "Americans for Financial Reform" are already banging the drum for Warren or are selling her book.The same goes for MoveOn.org, the liberal platform funded by George Soros, universities and womenís groups like EMILY's List, a political action committee that supports liberal women - and in any case, her book reads like a campaign manifesto.

 

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Warren's late-blooming career is a product of the 2008 crisis, when Wall Street, after decades of wild, unbridled speculation, collapsed, and was bailed out with billions of tax dollars, while the middle class was left behind. Even today, the labor market hasn't recovered, while the thin layer of ultra-rich has become even richer.At the time, Warren was a consultant to Congress. She was a lawyer specializing in bankruptcy law for private individuals. As a child in Oklahoma, she had already been touched [by hardship], when after suffering a heart attack her father lost his job, and the family nearly went bankrupt. At the time after school, she had to work as a waitress. In November 2008, Democratic majority leader Harry Reid called on Warren to chair the "Congressional Oversight Panel," the supervisory body that oversees TARP, the "Troubled Asses Relief Program," which distributed "favors" to bankers.

 

Initially, she was considered a moderate, and has one even been close to the Republicans. But then she appeared in Michael Mooreís films and on Jon Stewartís Daily Show. She became a harsh critic of Wall Street and a consumer advocate. She wasnít always successful: She couldnít stop developments that made it more difficult for private individuals in debt to file for bankruptcy, but she didnít give up. She advocated the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency for the protection of citizens in financial matters. The issues involved were American credit card debts that are snowballing exponentially, huge student loan debt, and, of course, mortgages. During the financial crisis, banks had increased interest rates while many properties lost value, which brought financial ruin to many families. The agency was in fact created, but Obama didn't appoint Warren as director - Republicans voiced a storm of opposition. The GOP, however, didnít do itself any favors. Warren now decided to go into active politics and run for the Senate.

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And of all states, she did it in one that Republicans had finally conquered: Massachusetts, where Scott Brown had succeeded longtime Democratic incumbent Senator Ted Kennedy.The election campaign was expensive - almost $40 million - and vicious: Brown accused Warren of obtaining her Harvard professorship only because she claimed she was 1/32 Cherokee. And when it was plain for all to see that the blond, blue-eyed woman was White. It was an argument that could only occur in America. Warren said it was just family folklore (practically every American family thinks it is part Cherokee). Ultimately, it was apparently Harvard which used Warren to fill an affirmative action position, and not Warren who had applied on the basis of affirmative action. When Brown sympathizers appeared in "red face" and waving tomahawks, Brown even had to apologize to the Cherokee Nation. Brown subsequently attempted to denounce Warren as a class fighter, since she had come out in favor of tax increases for the rich. But she reminded people that Americaís wealth is based on the infrastructure, roads, railways, and ports. Brown lost.

 

In 2011, she was back in Washington as a senator.Now she was on the Banking Committee, which oversees Wall Street. Her first bill, together with Social Democrat Bernie Sanders, was intended to give students access to government loans at the same favorable rates as those enjoyed by banks. Needless to say, the bill wasn't adopted. However a nerve have already been touched. Many students are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, but there are fewer and fewer good jobs. And Hillary, according to many, is too close to Wall Street to change anything.

 

*Dr. Eva C. Swietzer is a Die Zeit columnist and founder of publishing company Berlinica.

 

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Posted By Worldmeets.US May 17, 2014 9:29pm