Zachary Goldfarb at the Washington Post reports on how the insiders told Warren to act like an insider. She had dinner with Larry Summers back in 2009, when she was the chair of that panel panel investigating the government’s response to the financial trainwreck.
Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. … He teed it up this way: I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule. They don’t criticize other insiders.
I had been warned.
You know what that sounds like?
Everything, that’s what. All the institutions and rackets and industries. Show biz, universities, corporations, the circus – everything. If you’re an outsider you’re free to criticize the insiders, to an attentive audience of all your teddy bears. If you’re an insider it’s omertà, baby.
Only not necessarily, any more, because of the internet. With blogs and social media, your audience might be a little broader than the stuffed animal collection.
But still the basic polarity applies. Outsiderdom=freedom but little power. Insiderdom=power but less freedom.
Warren ignored the warning.
And if the past few weeks are any indication, she can operate as an insider without giving her up outsider credentials. She’s remained outspoken, but has become even more influential. She hasn’t stopped throwing bombs at the rich and powerful — and causing trouble for the White House — but she’s won a spot in Senate leadership [and] changed the shape of congressional debates over financial regulation…
Good. Long may she continue.