I hear through sources within Elizabeth Warren’s circles that the Massachusetts Senator intends to run for president. Warren’s behavior is entirely consistent with this view.
She is pounding her core message — “the system is rigged” — as relentlessly as John Edwards pounded his “two Americas” theme when he ran twice for president. And she is distancing herself from President Obama — and, by extension, Hillary Clinton — by insisting that the economy, despite the president’s claims to the contrary, is not back on track as far as the “middle class” is concerned.
Warren sounded these themes most recently in a speech before the AFL-CIO this week. On the same day that Obama proclaimed “America’s resurgence is real; don’t let anybody tell you otherwise,” Warren told us just that. She insisted that despite declining unemployment, low inflation, and a strong stock market, “America’s middle class is in deep trouble.”
This is precisely what we would expect from a politician planning to run for the Democratic presidential nomination from the left. A Democrat not interested in running for president in 2016 would be less likely to denounce the economy that exists after six years of a Democratic presidency.
Moreover, Warren has consistently found ways ostentatiously to reinforce her image as the darling of her party’s left-wing base. For example, in the waning days of the lame-duck session, she opposed a spending bill that included a provision, a fairly innocuous technical correction in reality, that she insisted would weaken part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank legislation. She has also led the charge to block Antonio Weiss whom Obama nominated to a top position in the Treasury Department.
Warren plainly wants no enemies to the left, just as Ted Cruz wants none to right. And, like Cruz, she wants everyone to demonstrate this as publicly as possible. Few doubt that Cruz intends to run for president.
Just because Warren intends to run for president doesn’t mean she will. It’s conceivable that Hillary Clinton will preempt the field.
However, I doubt Clinton can accomplish this through fundraising (her specialty) alone. As the darling of the left, Warren should be able to raise enough money to compete, as Howard Dean did in 2004.
Thus, to preempt the field, Clinton probably must shine, if not dazzle. To date, she quite clearly has not.
Keep in mind too that Warren is 65 years old. That’s not the right age for a presidential aspirant to play the good soldier by deferring his or her run. If Warren aspires to be president, and I think there’s little doubt that she does, the time is now.