Friday, November 25, 2011


Like most liberal-thinking people, I suspect, I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Warren. She speaks with refreshing, forthright honesty and what she has to say about the financial sector and the inordinate power of lobbyists in government needs to be heard. I have contributed modestly to her campaign for a Senate seat, and think she has a good chance to be elected. I would like to see her defeat the incumbent, and take over where Ted Kennedy left off. (Speaking of whom, I saw a brief clip from a speech Ted Kennedy gave the other day and realized how much I miss the clarity of his vision and his powerful voice. We could use that voice in Washington today.)

I caught up with the article on Elizabeth Warren by Rebecca Traister in last Sunday's New York Times magazine, belatedly, in the gym this morning. I liked, particularly, Traister's last two paragraphs:

The key is not just emotional investment in election-year saviors but also an engagement with policy. A commitment to organized expressions of political desire — like those that have been harnessed so effectively in recent years on the right — have been absent for far too long in Democratic politics. Now, with labor protests, campaigns to block voter suppression and personhood measures and the occupations of cities around the nation, there seem to be some small signs that liberals are remembering that politics requires more of them, that they need movements, not just messiahs. But their engagement must deepen, broaden and persist beyond last week’s elections and well beyond next year’s elections if there is any chance for politicians like Warren to succeed.

Because while she might provide her supporters and her constituents a voice that, if properly tuned, will rattle doors that are now gummed shut, what Elizabeth Warren cannot do is fix this mess herself.

The same words, of course, are true of the whole story of President Obama, who has proved--not to my surprise--unable "to fix this mess" himself. Unless and until the support of liberals becomes more unified and less easily distracted into the narrow channels of self-interest and personal issues, we will continue to entrust our future to "saviors''--and will continue to feel let down by them.

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