Saturday, August 25, 2012
At the opening of her campaign office in the heavily Irish-American West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, Elizabeth Warren owned the crowd, as usual. This one included elementary-aged fans as well.
Before she arrived, breathless adults mumbled impatience. None was so direct as the kids from about four to nine years old. One little girl had chosen a flower from a vase to hand to her. That girl kept saying, "Elizabeth, where are you?"
Around the corner on the shoulders of his mother, an even younger boy managed to hold up a Warren-for-Senate placard. He called down, "I'm holding it where the whole world can see it!"
He was in the right spot, right on Spring Street. Dozens of Warren warriors were there with signs and buttons. In the middle though, on the asphalt with the supporters was one odd character in a party-shop Plains Indian headdress.
He wore a Tea Party Express tee-shirt and held up a hand-lettered sign asking how she could claim "Cherokee heritage when she has none?" A couple of folk asked what he was about and he went into a loud but non-threatening rant, speaking for Native Americans who surely would be angry because she was taking their benefits. As the line in Toy Story goes, "What a sad, strange little man."
Other than he though, this was a happy crowd. The theme of the office was women, in response to the many anti-women actions and speeches of Republicans running for office and already in office.
When Warren arrived, that little girl did get to hand over the flower. Warren, a grandmother, loved it. She makes it plain she enjoys her family role. She knelt down and chatted at length with the girl and her sister. Sometimes those who wait are rewarded.
Also waiting was WR's own Maura Hennigan (right). She was a long-time City Councilor and is Suffolk Clerk of Courts, Criminal Division. She's running for re-election but did not make a deal of that. She was there for Warren.
When she came up to me, she said, "We'll show them that West Roxbury is not Scott Brown Country." Later in introducing Warren for a stump speech, Hennigan noted that her neighborhood has a long history of electing women to public office. She gave a few examples including Marian Walsh as State Senator as well as herself in several offices.
When she was up, Warren spoke to the moment, including the women's issues. She did not return to the biographical pitch (Oklahoma, ragged edge of the middle class, and so forth).
She pointed to events of the past few weeks, like MO candidate for US Senate Todd Atkins' rape/pregnancy fiasco, Paul Ryan and Scott Brown votes harmful to women and families, and many similar news bits. On Brown, she noted that he "may sometimes say the right thing," adding, "Massachusetts voters want a Senator they can count on all the time."
Many of the folk in the room (disclaimer, including my wife) were about to canvass for her, most of them not for the first time. She ended with inspiration for them. She said she expected to win due to two factors. One was that the campaign and its supporters would continue speaking the truth about the GOP agenda and actions, and the other was that Warren supporters "don't believe things get down from the top down...but by all of us." She said, "I'm taking point...but it's not my race. It's our race."
Pix note: These snaps are Creative Commons. Use 'em if you want, just credit Mike Ball once first.