Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The despicable state of the Warren-Brown race

By Zac Bears

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The Massachusetts Senate election for the seat held by Senator Scott Brown is becoming more vitriolic and contested every week. The debate held on September 20 between Senator Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren involved core issues of the campaign, including the environment, bipartisanship, and the economy, among many others. An unexpected issue, however, was race. Within the first ten minutes of the debate, Senator Brown attacked Mrs. Warren on her disputed Native American heritage.

Brown stated, “When she applied to Penn and Harvard, she checked the box claiming she was Native American, and, you know, clearly she’s not.”

The issue came up earlier in the election cycle, in June, when Senator Brown brought up her claims of Native American heritage when he was far ahead in the polls. However, Mrs. Warren gave a widely respected address at September’s DNC that gave her a statistically significant lead in the polls.

Senator Brown’s campaign has released an advertisement attacking Mrs. Warren’s heritage. The advertisement compiles TV news segments saying “Warren admitted to identifying herself as Native American to her employers… something now genealogists have said they have zero evidence of.” Mr. Brown’s stamp of approval comes at the beginning of the advertisement.

The Warren response advertisement features Mrs. Warren sitting in a chair speaking directly to the camera.

She states, “As a kid, I never asked my mom for documentation about our Native American heritage; what kid would? But I knew my father’s family didn’t like that she was part-Cherokee and part-Delaware… The people who hired me have all said they didnt even know about it… Scott Brown can keep attacking my family, but I’m going to keep fighting for yours.”

Mrs. Warren approved the message in the heart of her short monologue.

Mr. Brown appeals to the “good old boy” network and the existing anti-woman precedent set by the Massachusetts electorate. The Commonwealth has elected only two women to statewide office, State Auditor Suzanne Bump and Martha Coakley. Mrs. Coakley ran as an esteemed Attorney General that had recovered millions of dollars from Goldman Sachs after the subprime crisis, gained repayment of $610.625 million from irresponsible Big Dig contractors, and worked with Apple to make iTunes handicap accessible. Mr. Brown was a three-term state senator known by many as an expert in Veteran’s Affairs. In an election to replace Ted Kennedy, a Democratic Senator since 1962, in a state where no Republican Senator had been elected since 1972, Mrs. Coakley lost 52% to 47%.

Senator Brown’s voting record is clear; he has hundreds of “No” votes on ideas that many Massachusetts citizens support. He has voted against middle class tax cuts, against the campaign finance DISCLOSE Act, against the Paycheck Fairness Act for women twice, against extending low student loan interest rates, against establishing a minimum 30% tax rate for high-income earners, and against prohibiting detention of U.S. citizens without trial. He has voted against a payroll tax cut, the American Jobs Act, and health benefits for 9/11 first responders. Brown has also voted to reduce food stamp funding, extend the PATRIOT Act, and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Brown may be bipartisan relative to his Republican peers in the Senate, but this comes during a period of unmatched political polarization. Compromise from a Republican official leads to primary election challenges by extreme conservatives, unless he or she is from a traditionally Democratic state—like Brown and Senators Snowe and Collins from Maine.  This has happened to Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware, Senator Richard Lugar in Indiana, Senators Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch in Utah, and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst in Texas, just to name a few. Christine O’Donnell, who defeated Rep. Castle, lost to Democrat Chris Coons, and Richard Mourdock, who defeated Senator Lugar, looks positioned to lose to Democrat Joe Donnelly in Republican-dominated Indiana.

Mr. Brown has a clear stance on the issues facing the United States. He stands with the Republican Party on health care, the military, education, energy, taxes, fair pay, and campaign finance; he votes with his party in 70% of all votes.

Mrs. Warren chaired the oversight committee for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), also known as the bank bailout. Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air interviewed Warren in a program titled What Does $700 Billion Buy Taxpayers?” She is a middle-class bankruptcy expert, a co-author of books on the costs increasing the debt burden of American families, and co-authored the journal study Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy”. The study discovered that the cost of a medical emergency caused almost 50% of family bankruptcies; 75% of those families had health insurance. Warren also pushed for the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as part of the financial regulations passed in 2010. Republicans blocked her nomination to head the agency, but she served as its acting director for a year. The CFPBs core mission is “to give consumers the information they need to understand the terms of their agreements with financial companies.”

Elizabeth Warren’s family heritage is not the crux of her experience and does not indicate her qualification to be a United States Senator. Mrs. Warren has been a defender of the American family for decades, she was the only tenured professor at Harvard Law School educated at a public law school, and her economic work for the government has focused entirely on helping a great majority of Americans. Three September polls give Warren a lead of five or more points among likely voters, and the RealClearPolitics polling average gives her a lead of about two points.

Elizabeth Warren fights for the economic security of the average American. I’m voting for her because she defends college students not corporations; you should too.

Zac Bears is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]


11 Responses to “The despicable state of the Warren-Brown race”

  1. Scott Goering on October 3rd, 2012 2:05 am

    A genetic admixture test might shut bigot Brown up. A lot of people particularly African Americans
    think they have a degree of Native American ancestry, in most cases they are mistaken. If her mom told her that why would she doubt it. Is Brown calling her momma a liar.

  2. mike on October 3rd, 2012 9:43 am

    Both of them are clowns. I will say my fiance is somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 native American and shes never put it on any application.

  3. mason on October 3rd, 2012 1:12 pm

    I predict scott brown will win, he is a far better politician than warren in terms of running a campaign and appealing to independent voters.

  4. Kristin789 on October 4th, 2012 7:04 pm

    Please do not believe Scott Brown’s lies. His purpose is to avoid talking about his voting record which supports big oil, big banks and the 1%. Check his voting record.

    The official who hired Warren at Harvard has reported he knew nothing about her heritage, and it had no bearing on her being hired. Yet Scott Brown is making the ridiculous claim that her 1/32 Native American heritage gave her some preference, Note that someone applying for a professorship submits a resume. She does not fill out an application. Further, she was recruited because of her very impressive resume.

    I believe that Karl Rove is working behind the scenes to orchestrate these stories. This is Karl Rove’s technique–take a person’s biggest strength–Elizabeth’s Consumer Protection Act and her advocacy for the middle class — and throw little bits of mud all over her. See if something sticks. Karl tries to muddy the water–and better still, he tries to make white look like black. We know that Scott was seen talking to Rove the one day Scott was at the Republican Conference–apparently that was his most important reason to be there. Scott doesn’t want us to know how he votes. Mud slinging with Rove’s help is all he has. Elizabeth’s work to get the Consumer Protection Agency in place speaks much more to her character than these shady attempts by Karl Rove and the Brown campaign to re-invent her past.

  5. galinda on October 4th, 2012 8:36 pm

    well written. thanks for highlighting the senators voting record which should be the issue.

  6. Margaret Kennedy on October 4th, 2012 8:36 pm

    Liz Warren is to the left of President Obama and is out of touch with hard-working UMass students who do not want to carry the burden of the out of control high tax and high spending policies advanced by Warren. Liz Warren talks about “investments.” That is a code word for exorbitant government spending that will stifle the economy and ensure no economic growth. If you want go go home and lie in your childhood bedroom because you cannot get a job or afford a home, go ahead and vote for Liz. If you believe in economic empowerment and free thought, vote for Scott Brown. Political diversity is a good thing for Massachusetts. We already have one liberal senator and ten other liberal congressmen. It will be good for Massachusetts to have a Senator who can be b-partisan and speak for all of Massachusetts’ women and men.

  7. Ben on October 5th, 2012 5:27 am

    Oh, I get it. Elizabeth Warren isn’t racist for claiming victim status based on nonexistent American Indian heritage. Scott Brown is racist for pointing it out.

    Elizabeth Warren’s ancestors actually drove the Cherokees on their trail of tears, right out of North Carolina.

    And yes, her employers did know she was claiming to be an Indian, which is why they listed her proudly as a minority in their faculty directory. As Warren once said, she only claimed to be a Cherokee so she could be invited to the luncheons and meet interesting people. How could she be invited if they didn’t know?

    Elizabeth Warren was a bush league law professor until she decided to start gaming the affirmative action system. Anyone who supports AA should be mad as hell.

  8. Ben is wrong on October 6th, 2012 5:01 pm

    No Ben, he’s racist because he thinks he can tell somebody with American Indian heritage just by looking at them. AND he has NO evidence that she does not have the heritage she claims to have. You have no evidence whatsoever to support the claims you make. Saying the same lie over and over will not make it true, no matter what Senator Brown and Governor “I really quit after the first two years” Romney say.

  9. Kris on October 7th, 2012 12:51 pm

    Remember when Elizabeth Warren died for our sins and then Scott Brown caused the Holocaust? Good piece, very non partisan.

  10. Zac Bears on October 11th, 2012 8:42 am

    I do not think anyone is saying that Warren is analogous to Jesus and Brown is analogous to Hitler; however, I wrote this piece with the clear intention of supporting Mrs. Warren, and that is because she will be a better Senator for the Commonwealth, the Middle Class, and students across America.

  11. William Curtis Conner on November 2nd, 2012 6:51 pm

    The MSP and PSU unions have and are illegally (Mass State Law) running phone banks for Elizabeth Warren on campus. Any Union member that does not favor her is forced to contribute and the University has been forced to illegally support her run while she supports private education over public. In contrast, Brown is a strong supporter of Public education and probably right to work. So much for Union leadership backing our jobs over their interests!

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