Warming up to Warren

By Lauren Vincent

The political airwaves have recently been harping mostly on one subject and one subject alone: the GOP Presidential candidates. Since none of this is particularly relevant to my decision making process – I don’t predict that my political views will do a complete 180 in the next few months and that I’ll suddenly feel an urge to vote red – I’ll focus on an election I actually care about, and that is the Massachusetts Senate race.

Courtesy thepoliticalcarnival.net
Courtesy thepoliticalcarnival.net

Like many Massachusetts Democrats, I was heartbroken in 2010 when the seat formerly held by the late Senator Kennedy was filled by – shiver – a Republican, Scott Brown. He and his pickup truck drove down to Washington to bring the change that Massachusetts citizens needed.

We didn’t really hear much from him. He voted with the Democrats on a great number of bills according to Project Vote Smart, such as the Reid Debt Ceiling bill, instead of its Republican counterpart proposed by Speaker John Boehner. He has spoken out against budget cuts in government, disillusioning his supporters in the Tea Party, but has also railed against raising taxes and voted against the American Jobs Act of 2011.

So, what exactly do you want to do about this problem we’re having, Mr. Brown? At a time when the entire country is in deep financial crisis, do you want to offer any solutions, or would you rather just pretend it doesn’t exist as you seem to have been doing all this time? And by the way, where exactly are you?

While the Democratic frontrunner Elizabeth Warren has been the buzz of local and even national media, Scott Brown seems nowhere to be seen on the political stage. Perhaps he thinks he has the race in the bag. But isn’t that the same mistake that his former opponent, Martha Coakley, made in 2010?

Maybe I’ve been avoiding the Boston Herald and Scott Brown’s website a little too much to see any of his handsome face popping up. It just seems that after running such a strong campaign a little over a year ago, a similar tactic would be on the Senator’s radar as the incumbent. All I’ve really heard from him recently is that he went to the “school of hard knocks” – the beautiful Tufts University campus – as opposed to Elizabeth Warren, who he claimed went to Harvard, where she teaches but did not attend as an undergraduate or graduate student.

The difference I think lies in the complexity of his opponent in comparison to Martha Coakley. While Coakley ran, rather arrogantly, on a generic “I’m a Democrat and that’s why you’ll vote for me” slant, Warren has forged an identity as a middle class defender and a hard-talking economist who knows exactly what she’s talking about. She went viral on YouTube when she said that “there is nobody … who got rich on his own.”

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along,” Warren stated at the event in Andover.

At a time where income inequality has been thrust into the topics of everyday conversation, Warren has hit precisely the right nerves. Nothing is working in Washington and people have literally taken to the streets. I believe there is a huge chance of Scott Brown staying momentous, if only for his having the incumbent advantage. But he is a smooth talker, and also knows which buttons to push.

There are two different sides to the coin when someone runs for office who is not a politician by profession. There is the very appeal of that, for many who don’t trust the political system, but there is also the worry that the candidate will not connect and get the voters they need on their side. To me, this doesn’t seem to be a problem with Warren. The timing of this financial crisis and her vast knowledge of the economic system – and many other officials’ lack of that knowledge – might just be perfect.

Lauren Vincent is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]