Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chatting Up Elizabeth Warren

We had a good time with Elizabeth Warren on Left Ahead yesterday. That's odd in that we asked and she addressed nasty issues — unemployment, crumbling bridges, economic morass.

Go to enough debate-like events and speak to enough pols, then you surely will gravitate to those who seem like the best ones to share a meal or drink with. She's in that class, at once funny and insightful. She doesn't speak in clichés, doesn't constantly circle back to repeat herself, and doesn't go for generalities.

Her 40-minute show was one of our better one. I've been shilling it and shall put a player here too.

My comments on Left Ahead follow as teasers.

With a charming blend of confidence and self-effacement, U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren handled all the three of us could throw her way in a half hour. Listen with the player below or download and play for the whole show.
We tried to cover some areas we had not seen her run through in her many recent appearances on news shows and debate-like events. We did concentrate on economic issues and her seven priorities for rebuilding the American middle class.
She can be colorful and trotted out a few metaphors she uses in stump speeches. “The house is on fire,” she said of the U.S. economy and its effect on the lower and middle classes. She presented a variety of solutions. That is a clear distinction between her and other Dem and GOP candidates for next year’s election. She defines herself as “a straight-up-the-middle gal,” and makes strong proposals.
Listen in as she answers in the affirmative when asked whether we needed an NRA/WPA-style effort to restart the economy. She explained how setting unemployed American, both in construction and the education and municipal sectors, to work immediately can create cash flow to inspire business rebulding and expansion, as well as repairing our crumbling infrastructure.
Asked bluntly whether she saw herself as a new version of the lion of the Senate as the driven Edward Kennedy was, she almost repliled yes. She spoke of meeting Ted meaningfully for the first time and getting a commitment from him to propel major legislation, on top of his already massive commitments. She said that was an inspiration for her and she tries to live it.
She was never short of humor either. For one example, asked about being derided by opponents for being from Oklahoma and on the other hand spending the past 17 years teaching at Harvard, she said, “I’m a new category, an elite hick.”
Warren sees possibities for important legislation passing, even with the existing filibuster potential and GOP blocking. Listen in as she defines how she got her consumer finance legislation enacted over dire predictions of failure. She describes being clear on the message, describing the issues, and getting a lot of people to go with it. “When people get engaged, yes, the Senate can move,” she told us.
Short-term, she also sees tough challenges as well as such potential. For one, she describes he current effort to roll back health-care gains passed recently. That would include overturning prohibitions on pre-existing conditions and coverage for students under 26 on parents’ plan and annual wellness checks (physicals) for seniors.
Warren was plain that her deciding to run was not for the glory or power of being in the Senate. “I’m running because there are things I want to change.”

By the bye, I've also tried to invite other candidates for the seat, including Alan Khazei. His campaign has not yet responded to email or voice mail requests. Of course, his folk are under no obligation to yet another blogger/podcaster set. However, it is refreshing that Warren and another not-all-that-young woman candidate have.

Suzanne Lee, running for Boston City Council from District 2 was on and likewise held forth well. She also has very savvy with online use, including an excellent website and social media handling. We are not at a point where net presence makes or breaks elections, but we're getting there. Including such in a campaign speaks well of candidates' smarts, or at least those of their minions.

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