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Sep 22 2011

Elizabeth Warren on Morning Joe

I feel sorry for Elizabeth Warren. Now that she is running for the US Senate in Massachusetts, she will have to deal with an endless stream of preening media personalities who delude themselves that they are journalists.

A prime example is Mark Halperin, who asks her what she would do about the military threat from China. My first reaction was, “What the hell? Why are you asking about something that is so far down the list of concerns?” But the smug expression on Halperin’s face answered my question. I recognized immediately the obnoxious student that all teachers have encountered who thinks up a question on an obscure topic because he thinks it will impress his peers if he can stump the teacher. There is, of course, no reason why Warren should have thought deeply about this particular issue since it is clearly not high on her list of priorities and, being a veteran college instructor, she knew exactly how to deal with such smart-alecks.

Similarly another so-called journalist Mike Barnicle framed his question with such a long preamble that one lost interest in it long before he got to the end. What these people want is to get face time on television, not inform and educate the viewer.

Watch Warren answer these questions well enough and with much greater patience than I would have been able to muster.

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3 comments

  1. 1
    Hunter

    Isn’t this the same man who called Obama “kind of a dick” and got suspended for it? You’ll have to forgive my childish remark but I suppose it takes one to know one.

  2. 2
    Richard Frost

    She did well here, but I was a little disappointed to see her pull her punches on the Consumer Protection Bureau. She knows better than anyone that the agency is nowhere near as powerful as it needed to be, and that Obama is not on the right side. She chooses to present the battle over the agency as a successful campaign, but this “victory” rings hollow. If, alternatively, she chose to portray it as symptomatic of the extent to which Washington has been bought, she would risk being labeled a “sour-grapes” candidate and the average voter might not understand the complexity of her expose.

    All of this makes me wish she was running as an independent. She has enough stature to pull it off, and would embody exactly the kind of person Madison wanted to see in government. I would assume she considered it and decided to appeal to Ted Kennedy’s formerly solid partisan base. Oh well. If she wins, she can always desert them later. One battle at a time….

    On the journalism issue, Halperin’s attempt at a “gotcha” question may be a bellwether. If you want to defeat an economics-based campaign, what are you going to do? You’ll play the national security card for all it’s worth, telling people that we live in a dangerous world and that the lady doesn’t have what it takes in that department. We can expect similar distractions on cultural issues – all the usual claptrap to move enough people at the margins away from what really matters.

    She’s obviously got plenty of fight in her, and I loved the “I hope you’re not telling me to give up before I’ve started” retort to one questioner. But she’s going to need some heavy-duty armor to survive what’s coming, especially after she locks up the primary.

  3. 3
    Mano

    Hunter,

    Thanks for reminder me about Halperin! It just confirms my impression of him as the prototypical annoying smart-aleck student.

    Richard,

    You are right, it will be interesting to see what gets thrown at her once the going gets earnest.

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