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Member since: Tue May 13, 2008, 03:07 AM
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Dick Cheney's 'QUEEN OF TORTURE'

The Senate torture report revealed the women at the forefront of the CIA's operation, who inflicted pain, lied to Congress and sent US operatives on a wild goose chase in Montana.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a lot to say on Meet The Press last Sunday about his love affair with torture as he responded to the newly released Senate Torture Report, but the New Yorker's Jane Mayer dug deeper into the report along with NBC News and found a very scary women at the heart of it all and who she dubbed:

The Unidentified Queen of Torture

The NBC News investigative reporter Matthew Cole has pieced together a remarkable story revealing that a single senior officer, who is still in a position of high authority over counterterrorism at the C.I.A.—a woman who he does not name—appears to have been asource of years’ worth of terrible judgment, with tragic consequences for the United States. Her story runs through the entire report. She dropped the ball when the C.I.A. was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks; she gleefully participated in torture sessions afterward; she misinterpreted intelligence in such a way that it sent the C.I.A. on an absurd chase for Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana. And then she falsely told congressional overseers that the torture worked.


She's no stranger to movie audiences around the world as she was the inspiration for Zero Dark Thirty's heroine. The movie painted her as a Bin Laden expert and the only person dogged enough to find him, but that is more fiction than anything else as we now learn. As her blood lust for torture grew, she sent U.S. operatives on a wild goose chase in Montana to find African American Muslim AQ terrorists that was nothing more than confirmed lies told by KSM so she would stop torturing him. You have to read this to believe it.

As NBC recounts, this egregious chapter was apparently only the first in a long tale, in which the same C.I.A. official became a driving force in the use of waterboarding and other sadistic interrogation techniques that were later described by President Obama as “torture.” She personally partook in the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the architect of the 9/11 attacks, at a black site in Poland. According to the Senate report, she sent a bubbly cable back to C.I.A. headquarters in 2003, anticipating the pain they planned to inflict on K.S.M. in an attempt to get him to confirm a report from another detainee, about a plot to use African-American Muslims training in Afghanistan for future terrorist attacks. “i love the Black American Muslim at AQ camps in Afghanuistan (sic). … Mukie (K.S.M.) is going to be hatin’ life on this one,” she wrote, according to the report. But, as NBC notes, she misconstrued the intelligence gathered from the other detainee. Somehow, the C.I.A. mistakenly believed that African-American Muslim terrorists were already in the United States.

The intelligence officials evidently pressed K.S.M. so hard to confirm this, under such physical duress, that he eventually did, even though it was false—leading U.S. officials on a wild-goose chase for black Muslim Al Qaeda operatives in Montana. According to the report, the same woman oversaw the extraction of this false lead, as well as the months-long rendition and gruesome interrogation of another detainee whose detention was a case of mistaken identity. Later, in 2007, she accompanied then C.I.A. director Michael Hayden to brief Congress, where she insisted forcefully that the torture program had been a tremendous and indispensable success.


Oh, yea. torture works real well. Instead of locking her up in jail as a war criminal herself, she earned a promotion to the rank of General.

Instead, however, she has been promoted to the rank of a general in the military, most recently working as the head of the C.I.A.’s global-jihad unit. In that perch, she oversees the targeting of terror suspects around the world.

This is horrifying on some many levels and explains many things for which Dick Cheney and all his torture apologists would gladly do all over again.


Greenwald: CHENEY SHOULD BE IN PRISON, Not On 'Meet The Press'

In Sunday's interview with host Chuck Todd, Cheney claimed that CIA torture "worked" and announced he would "do it again in a minute" if given the opportunity.

Greenwald is right. The refusal of Obama to prosecute our Iraq war criminals is the original sin of his administration:

"The reason why Dick Cheney is able to go on 'Meet The Press' instead of being where he should be—which is in the dock at The Hague or in a federal prison—is because President Obama and his administration made the decision not to prosecute any of the people who implemented this torture regime despite the fact that it was illegal and criminal," Greenwald said in an interview with HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski.

In Sunday's interview with host Chuck Todd, Cheney claimed that CIA torture "worked" and announced he would "do it again in a minute" if given the opportunity.

As human rights advocates and international law experts have renewed their call for prosecutions against former Bush administration officials who ordered the CIA to torture detained terrorism suspects in the aftermath of 9/11, Greenwald said that whether tortured "worked" is irrelevant—"nobody should be interested in that"—and argued that much of the blame for the fact that Cheney still has the liberty to go on national television and brag about violating domestic and international laws should be placed at the feet of President Obama.

"When you send the signal, as the Obama administration did, that torture is not a crime that ought to be punished, it's just a policy dispute that you argue about on Sunday shows, of course it emboldens torturers like Dick Cheney to go around and say, 'What I did was absolutely right,'" Greenwald said.



OH REALLY?- Marco Rubio Says HE DOESN'T CARE If He Doesn’t Speak For Most CUBAN-AMERICANS

Waaaaaaaaaa..........I don't care if Cubans disagree with me........who asked for their opinion?.......................

Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, is hopping mad at the Obama administration’s move toward normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba, and he says he doesn’t care who disagrees with him — even if they’re Cuban-Americans. When it was pointed out to Rubio yesterday that two-thirds of Cuban-Americans support diplomatic relations with Cuba, he responded with this:

"...I don’t care if the polls say that 99 percent of people believe we should normalize relations in Cuba. I don’t care if 99 percent of people in polls disagree with my position. This is my position, and I feel passionately about it..."

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post has more:

"...Rubio’s emotional — and at times inaccurate — response to the policy change shows why Obama’s move to normalize ties to Cuba after more than half a century is both good policy and good politics. It’s good policy because it jettisons a vestigial policy that has stopped serving a useful purpose, and because it is a gutsy move by Obama that demonstrates strong leadership and will help revive him from lame-duck status. It’s good politics because it will reveal that the Cuban American old guard, whose position Rubio represents, no longer speaks for most Cuban Americans...."



Bill Moyers To John MacArthur: 'Do You Think SHE (Hillary Clinton) IS INEVITABLE?


You chided The New York Times recently for promoting the inevitability of Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the next democratic candidate for president. Do you think she’s inevitable?


I hope not. I would, just as a citizen, not just, forget about my political opinions, I’m opposed to stasis in politics.




You know, the absolute freezing of political discourse, where you have the same people running for office over and over again. I mean, we’re talking, really, right now about a Clinton-Bush rematch, Hilary Clinton against Jeb Bush. So just as a civic matter, you would want there to be some competition in the primaries. But people saying that she’s inevitable becomes a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy. If you keep saying it, well, I guess it does become inevitable.

And then you’ve got Clintonism redux. You’ve got Clintonism. You’ve got free trade. You’ve got Wall-Street-friendly Democrats. You’ve got this unholy alliance between the Chicago Democratic machine and the eastern banking crowd, which has been funding these campaigns. You got all these people pushing them up and rewarding them for their bad behavior. I still, I cannot believe that Obama would appoint Larry Summers to his cabinet, that he would ask his advice about anything.



'CR OMNIBUS' VOTE: Good Dems, Bad Dems, Dems Who Are In-Between

The Senate spending vote reveals the insurgents, the corporatists, and those straddling the middle. Can we get the straddlers off the fence? Lists and phone numbers below.

I've written about the possibility of an "Open Rebellion Caucus" (my playful name) forming in the Senate — a group of progressive senators strong enough and willing enough to openly defy their corporate-friendly Clintonian leaders. Clintonian leaders frequently espouse anti-progressive policies, like cutting benefits to Social Security and punishing the poor by "ending welfare," for example. Those "leaders" include both President Obama and former President Clinton, high-ranking members of their administrations, and most Democrats in Congress, including those in leadership positions — Steny Hoyer in the House (next in line for Pelosi's position) or Chuck Schumer in the Senate (next in line for Reid's), to name just two. For years, real progressives have been frustrated by these men and women. They've also been shamed, bullied, blackmailed, and in some cases bought off by their "leaders." Their losses, their fear, their attempts to advance more human policies have become just "part of the game," and we've been watching the results since Al From, Bill Clinton and the DLC. It's been a good game for bipartisan government "by the money" — they've scored win after win — but a terrible game for the rest of us. And mainly, the game's been stable. A United Party Is a Complicit Party How have progressive office-holders (most but not all) been complicit in government "by the money"? In two ways. First, many progressives have given their votes (reluctantly perhaps) to policies that benefit mainly the rich — Wall Street bailouts, gutting of the regulatory structure of the state, support for Monsanto when no one was looking, and so on. And second, they've given ground cover (unknowingly perhaps) to the Democratic ("evil, but less so") Party as a whole. How? Because the pro-corporate Democratic party can always point to its (often hated) progressive wing and say, "See, we're the party with a conscience. Our evil really is lesser. Listen to the speeches of these fine progressives — you know, the ones we ignore." And progressives, in the name of party unity, have mostly held their tongues when it counted (for example, during the 2013 filibuster "debate" when they hid the names of their own anti-reform elders), mostly soldiered on, content to pick away at the edges of corporate rule, to win a few crumbs from the floor at the corporate feast. And they've traded away their principles, often, for those wins. Which makes them complicit in the first way I mentioned.

Open Rebellion Means Breaking the Chains of Complicity

But now there's a birth, a start, of a new group of progressive office-holder, a group that won't be party-loyal when the party sides against the people, that won't hold its party-loyal tongue, that will openly criticize and fight the other enemy of pro-citizen government — corporate Democrats. The calculus is simple — progressives are mostly losing anyway, and they're also losing their "souls," or at least obscuring their anti-corporate "brand," with critical pro-corporate votes. By voting in party unity with corporate-friendly "leaders," they're giving voters a reason to look elsewhere than the Democratic party. If progressives are going to lose anyway, they might as well lose fighting the real enemy, the bipartisan corporate state, and be seen doing it. At least they'll give the people someone to rally around. There's no question that the people are looking for someone to rally around. It's a tough road to go down, though, fighting one's own party leaders. What to choose? Party unity when the party demands it (and the perqs that go with that compliance), or progressive principles and life as an outcast if you hold to them? Choosing the latter takes extraordinary courage (remember Dennis Kucinich's plane ride?). Thus there are three groups of Democrats in office today:

1 - Money-bought and corporate-friendly. Bad to the core on most money issues; frequently deeply corrupt as well. The many.

2 - Progressives willing to say publicly to their leaders, "Enough is enough." The insurgents. The very few.

3 - "Progressives" who triangulate between their principles and their loyalty to party (or their fear, their calculation, or their own careers). The in-betweens, the torn, or those who appear to be torn.

This is about those three groups. They're starting to sort themselves. They're starting to self-identify. And one group may be starting to grow.

What Did the Continuing Resolution Show Us?

As I've often written, when it comes to votes in the House or Senate, you can only trust the sincerity of people who vote with the winner when the outcome is uncertain. In situations where the outcome is not in doubt, votes for either side may be sincere, or they may be just "for show," for "the district," or a form of what Howie Klein below calls preening. We got a perfect example of that in the Senate recently on the so-called "CRomnibus" bill — the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government, which also contains the "omnibus" appropriations for all of its agencies. (That bill passed in both the House and Senate, by the way, so the government is funded through the end of its fiscal year, October 1, 2015.) There were many many reasons to vote against this abomination (there are at least ten at the link), but Elizabeth Warren and others made several impassioned pleas to kill it over a "Citibank rider" that would have put taxpayers back on the hook for derivatives-gambling losses. Warren was especially strong and caustic, as in&feature=youtu.be" target="_blank"> this floor speech. In the Senate and in the caucus, it was Warren who led the charge, who forcefully urged rejection of the "CRomnibus" bill. Since Steny Hoyer and almost everyone in House leadership except Nancy Pelosi supported the bill, and since both Barack Obama and Joe Biden whipped for its passage, she put herself squarely in the insurgency, in open and public rebellion against her leaders. As it played out in the Senate, those three groups revealed themselves, partly in caucus meetings and partly in their votes. Let's consider just the votes here, and leave the caucus discussion for another time. There were two votes on the bill, two chances to kill it. One group tried to kill the bill every chance they got. One group supported the bill every chance they got. And one group voted against the bill only after it was sure to pass. As usual, three groups of Democrats. And because Warren created such a sharp bright line with her charismatic, principled intra-party challenge, the self-sorting into those groups was both revealing and perhaps a harbinger. Let's look at the names.

Where Was the Merkley Crowd During the Cloture Vote?

The Continuing Resolution/Omnibus Spending bill came for a vote in the Senate on Saturday, December 14. First it had to survive a cloture vote to bring it to the floor, then a floor vote on the bill itself. From a valuable Howie Klein analysis (my emphasis and paragraphing):

First there was a cloture bill. The Democrats who were really serious about blocking Schumer's Wall Street bailout voted against cloture. They were ready to filibuster for real. There were only 5 plus Bernie : Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Joe Manchin, Claire McCaskill. And, of course a bunch of crackpot Republicans who actually want to shut down the government. The total there was 77-19.

What happened to Jeff Merkely, Tammy Baldwin, Brian Schatz, Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed ?

Then there was the vote on the bill itself. Klein again:

Once the filibuster was broken and it was impossible to really stop the thing from passing, senators could posture and preen on the final bill-- and they did. Corporate whores like Bob Menendez (NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Cory Booker (NJ), Maria Cantwell (WA), Ed Markey (MA) and Carl Levin (MI) scurried across the aisle to safely pose as liberals. Tom Harkin (IA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Barbara Boxer (CA) too. It passed 56-40.


Let's break out these lists. In bold are the Democratic No votes on cloture, votes to kill the bill by keeping it off the floor:



Cash For Clinton: Worth More Than You Think

This is a spoiler alert for Clinton allies who ought to issue a spoiler alert every time they speak in public; the "perpetual growth" formula is dinosaur economics. We don't want to hear about it anymore. We all know Hillary is running. Although rumor has it she would rather wait "as late as possible" before officially announcing her candidacy, we already know. Clinton allies have made sure of it for years now. And as far back as March, they were making an enormous cost projection for paying their own campaign-aid salaries:

"...the entire Clinton effort — including all the current super PAC ­projects and an actual campaign — will cost a cool $1.7 billion in total. That back-of-the-envelope calculation is based on observation that in each presidential campaign the victor ends up spending about 150% of what the winner spent four years before...."


I repeat: the perpetual growth formula is a dinosaur. It's got a nickname: bubble economics. When is it going to end? No really, when does this exponentially-expanding money-in-politics bubble going to explode in our faces? If you push bubble economics down the American public's throat, something is going to pop. And I don't mean that in a "boy, does that billion dollar sign shine! That really makes your campaign pop" kinda way. I mean that Americans might just pop you in the nose if you ask us for campaign contributions based on bubble-number crunching. Old news for many, I know... Until the donation requests start flooding our mail and inboxes. We all know the twitter storm is gathering. The already-spoiled spoiler alert for Clinton allies is this: Nothing says "let them eat cake" in a campaign more clearly then telling us we need to contribute to a perpetual growth machine bubble in order to get to the White House.

Don't you know the name of Hillary Clinton is already a household word? even in the White House. That familiarity is already worth more than you think. Rather than spending 150% of your time and effort raising your gabillion, you might want to focus on some clarifications of your message. At a time when most Americans are struggling so much that it seems like the 1930s have been resurrected, when people all over the place are angrilly muttering about the 1%, you're going to casually assume a bubble approach to the question of Ms. Clinton's campaign and its 150% afforability will rally us all behind you? It's going to be harder than you think to get that money if you're going to be that laissez faire about "perpetual growth." Two things: First, the message needs to make a clear, strong human connection between HRH (Her Royal Hillary) and the plebes down on Main Street. Not Wall Street, but Main Street. That's going to take a good deal of your time and effort to achieve; you can't just buy it.

Second, rather than telling us how Hillary is emphatically NOT Barack Obama, your time would be better spent letting us know how and why she is not Bill Clinton. Now that is a big challenge. But if you don't do that, your fundraising twitter storm will become no more than another dot com bubble. I'd really like to see you do it. I'd like to see you run an awesome and informative though thrifty campaign that makes at least an attempt to get the money out of politics while juggling our nation's love/hate relationship with the Clintons into an act that's fit for Main Street. Not Wall Street, MAIN STREET. And I would love to see Bill Clinton back in the White House, not because I am pining away for the good old dot com bubble days, but because I would love to see him assume a very fitting role. Bill Clinton as our nation's first First Lady with an Adam's Apple? Priceless. There's a good deal of work ahead of you. Stop issuing spoiled spoiler alerts and get cracking! Remember: Keep your eye on the prize.



Conservatives Grudgingly Praise Warren, Pelosi For Opposing 'Wall Street Giveaway'

WASHINGTON -- Some conservatives have acknowledged that they have ideologically more in common than they would like to admit with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) after the progressive senator led the charge against a provision in the $1.1 trillion government funding bill that weakens regulations on financial institutions. The spending bill, which the Senate passed Saturday, included a Citigroup-written measure that would gut the Dodd-Frank Act's restrictions on banks that want to trade in the kinds of derivatives that sparked the financial crisis of 2008. The measure would allow the institutions access to taxpayer-backed insurance. In a speech from the Senate floor, Warren called on her colleagues to oppose what she called a "Wall Street giveaway" that could cause another financial disaster. "Opposition to government bailouts of Wall Street is not a liberal or a conservative issue," Warren said. The current law -- the one about to be repealed -- was put in place years ago, because after the 2008 financial collapse, people of all political persuasions were disgusted at the prospect of ever again having to use taxpayer dollars to rescue big banks from their own bad decisions." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also urged her caucus to vote against any funding deal that included language allowing banks to subsidize risky derivatives trading. Though Warren and Pelosi's camps ultimately failed to wrest the provision from of the bill, their frustrations may be tinged with a certain amount of amusement over who's praising them in the wake of their fight. A number of conservative bloggers have recognized the Democrats' efforts, though they have couched their approval with caveats about how they support holding banks accountable, rather than increasing regulation.

not linking to republican sites:

"So help me God, I have no way to refute the basic point that the Democrats are making about the CRomnibus fight right now. In fact, I might even go so far as to say they are right," Red State's Leon Wolf wrote last week.

"Regardless of whether this is, in fact a boondoggle to Wall Street or not, it is fatally easy for the Democrats to portray it as such," Wolf continued. "When people hear 'roll back a part of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 that limits the ability of big banks to trade certain financial instruments known as swaps -- contracts that allow the banks to hedge their risks or to speculate' (I literally copied and pasted this description because again, my brain refuses to make itself care about the particulars) what they hear is 'blah blah blah allows Wall Street to speculate.' And what they know is, this is not what Republicans were sent to Washington to do."


"The end times are upon us," Dustin Siggins wrote at Hot Air. "I find myself in agreement with not just Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)."


At Townhall.com, Right Wing News' John Hawkins wrote, "I was even forced to agree with NANCY PELOSI and ELIZABETH WARREN (vomit) about the GOP’s omnibus bill decision to make it easier for big banks to gamble with derivatives and the sleazy campaign finance reform that was designed to undercut activist groups."


Some bloggers even said they could envision themselves voting for Warren were she to run for president in 2016 -- a possibility she has repeatedly denied.

"I hope that Sen. Warren will run for president in 2016 to force a national conversation on the Washington-Wall Street power nexus," The American Conservative's Rod Dreher wrote. "Hillary Clinton won’t talk about it. You know that no Republican presidential candidate will talk about it (with the possible -- possible -- exception of Rand Paul). We all need to be talking about it. A populist who talks like Elizabeth Warren and really means it is a Democrat a conservative like me would consider voting for, despite her social liberalism."




Elizabeth Warren Would MAKE A GOOD PRESIDENT, Carl Levin Says

Senator Elizabeth Warren is one of several potential standard-bearers for the Democratic Party, which would benefit from a competitive presidential primary, retiring Senator Carl Levin said Tuesday.

"Sure she would make a good president," the Michigan Democrat said at a Bloomberg News breakfast. "She's got a lot of fire in the area of consumer protection."

Levin also listed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying that she feels "in her gut" the impact of the country's widening income gap and the importance of addressing it.

Levin said Democrats need to talk more about their efforts to protect the middle class, and he acknowledged that doing so could turn off some of the Wall Street and Silicon Valley donors who are giving record amounts to fund political campaigns.

"This is the New Deal, the fair deal, the square deal," Levin said. "I believe as a party we have to let it come out and not worry about the impact of campaign contributions. We can't worry about that."

Levin didn't seek another term and is set to be replaced by Democratic Representative Gary Peters. He demurred on recommending that Massachusetts' Warren get into the race. "I'm not going to advise anyone to run when I'm not running," he said.


David Axelrod: ELIZABETH WARREN Trying To ‘LEVERAGE’ Clinton

Former Obama adviser David Axelrod said Tuesday that he believes Sen. Elizabeth Warren is keeping a high profile to try to exert “maximum leverage” on Hillary Clinton’s positions for the 2016 presidential contest.

“I think Elizabeth’s very sincere about her concerns about what’s happening in the American economy and Hillary hasn’t said yet what exactly her program will be, what she’s running on,” Axelrod said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I think Elizabeth knows she’s got maximum leverage by still being in the conversation.”

When asked if there was a possibility for an opening for Warren to run, Axelrod responded,

“I suppose.”

“My suspicion is that what she’s doing is trying to influence how Hillary frames her candidacy and the issues she focuses on,” he said.

Axelrod added that Clinton runs the risk of facing similar pitfalls in 2008 by being overly cautious to define herself and her platform.

You hear ‘Ready For Hillary’— It’s like, ready for what?” Axelrod said, noting that as a candidate in 2008, Clinton was very effective in reaching the American people, but only after the New Hampshire primary when “her back was to the wall, she through caution to the wind.”

“And now Hillary’s task is to define what it is that she’s running for and running about and what would the future look like under another President Clinton,” he said. “And I suspect that what she’s taking her time working through now, but she has to answer that question.?”


WHY ISN'T Elizabeth Warren Running for President?

"....something to toy with over your second cocktail at the office Christmas party, nothing more. But the larger question can’t be dismissed, and that question is no longer: Is Elizabeth Warren running for President? In Democratic circles, the terms of the debate have changed. Increasingly, the question is: Why isn’t Elizabeth Warren running for President?..."

It is early afternoon on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, and this piece of news analysis has just hit the wires:

"....Last night, in the Iowa caucus, which began the 2016 Democratic primaries, Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, came close to defeating Hillary Clinton, the party’s front-runner. Ultimately, Clinton prevailed. But O’Malley, who spent a lot of time in Iowa and ran a vigorous campaign seeking to tie his opponent to Wall Street, came within three percentage points of victory.

What happens now? Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show from a diner in New Hampshire, where he had flown in the pre-dawn hours, O’Malley said that he was already preparing for the Granite State primary, which takes place on February 9th, a week from today. “This race is wide open,” O’Malley said. “The Democratic Party wants a progressive alternative. America wants a progressive alternative.”

Most analysts still think that Clinton will win in New Hampshire, where she is well ahead in the opinion polls, and cement the nomination with primary victories in the Carolinas and in Michigan. But there is another possibility looming. After Clinton’s struggles in Iowa, a number of progressive groups are reviving their calls for Senator Elizabeth Warren to enter the contest. Ready for Warren, a group that has been urging a Warren candidacy since 2014, posted an appeal to the senator on its Web site that read simply, “THIS IS THE TIME.”

Repeated calls to Warren’s office weren’t answered, but some observers are speculating that she might be about to turn the 2016 race on its head, possibly by entering next week’s primary in New Hampshire as a write-in candidate. “This could be a version of 1968,” Norman Ornstein, a political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said. “You’d have Elizabeth Warren, as a late entrant, playing the role of Robert Kennedy.....”


Is this scenario (or something resembling it) a fanciful one? Sure. Is it demented? After what we’ve seen in Washington this past week, not quite. Right now, the Democratic Party has three leaders: President Obama, who is term-limited; Clinton, the establishment successor-in-waiting; and Warren, whose role is difficult to define, but also increasingly difficult to ignore. Of the three, there’s no doubt who is conveying the most consistent message and generating the most enthusiasm among liberal activists: it’s Warren, with her populist crusade against Wall Street and moneyed interests.


On Saturday, Politico’s Katie Glueck posted a story with the headline “Elizabeth Warren Is Catching Fire,” which detailed the excitement about a possible Warren candidacy among attendees at last week’s RootsCamp, a gathering of more than two thousand progressive activists, in Washington, that coincided with the showdown over the spending bill. “This is Elizabeth Warren’s moment,” Ben Wikler, the Washington director for MoveOn, said at a “Draft Warren” panel. As she has done for months, Warren insists that she isn’t a candidate. “I am not running for President,” she said repeatedly on Monday, in an interview with National Public Radio’s Steve Inskeep, adding at one point: “You want me to put an exclamation point at the end?” But when Inskeep pressed her to change tenses and say that she would never enter the race, she declined.


To Warren’s supporters, her careful language is a source of encouragement. Even if she were entertaining the possibility of entering the race at some point, then biding her time and leaving the door slightly ajar would be a wise strategy. If she jumped in now, or anytime soon, she would immediately be subjected to enormous scrutiny. With a Clinton-versus-Warren primary contest in the offing, surrogates for the Clinton campaign would suggest that Warren is too inexperienced, too narrowly focussed, and too hostile to business to become President. Questions about her Native American family lineage would be exhumed. In short, all hell would break loose. In saying that she’s not running, Warren can continue to use her prominent position in the Senate to promote the causes she believes in. She can also wait to see if Clinton falters. If that doesn’t happen, Warren can eventually fall in line with the party establishment and help elect the first female President. But if Clinton does stumble badly, in Iowa or before, Warren would still have an opportunity to step in. With her name recognition and army of supporters nationwide, many of them young and tech-savvy, she could quickly raise money and put together an improvised campaign operation.

In the spring of 1968, that’s what Robert Kennedy did. In the New Hampshire Democratic primary, on March 12th, Eugene McCarthy, the liberal, anti-war senator from Minnesota, stunned Lyndon B. Johnson, taking forty-two per cent of the vote to the President’s forty-nine per cent. This shocking result prompted Kennedy to enter the race and Johnson to drop out. By early June, when Kennedy won the California primary, he seemed to be on his way to the nomination. (He was assassinated the day after that primary.)



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