Reuters reports that Elizabeth Warren is weighing whether to become Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Warren’s reasons make her a more attractive VP pick. (More)
“She is intrigued by the possibility”
While her thinking could evolve, Warren has concerns about joining a Clinton ticket, including the question of whether running two women would give the Democrats the best shot at defeating Republican Donald Trump, one source said.
Advisers to Warren, a fiery critic of Wall Street and a popular figure among progressive Democrats, have been in close contact with Clinton’s campaign team and the conversations have increased in frequency in recent weeks, the sources said. Warren has signaled to people close to her that she is intrigued by the possibility of being Clinton’s No. 2 but has not discussed the role with Clinton, 68, or anyone else from her campaign, the people said.
Warren is also committed to advancing her own political agenda, which they described as “more progressive” than Clinton’s more centrist positions. Warren fears that as vice president, or in a cabinet position, her voice could be less heard than it is in the U.S. Senate on her priority issues such as addressing income inequality, the sources said.
Both are legitimate concerns and they reflect Warren’s understanding that she would play a supporting role in the election and, if they win, the administration. The report gave no indication that Warren is might request conditions, commitments to specific policy items. Rather, Warren seems to be assessing whether she and Clinton would be compatible partners as-is.
In weighing a potential personal, business, or political partner, expecting to change the other person is rarely a good plan. Shared experience may help you fit better together, but in a healthy relationship that fitting works both ways. If you’re not compatible at the start, you’re not likely to try to fit yourself to the other person.
It’s also important to remember that fitting doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Each person’s other partners will also influence the relationship. President Obama and Vice President Biden have an exceptionally strong bond, in part, because their wives have also become close friends and working partners.
That might happen with Bill Clinton and Bruce Mann, Warren’s husband. But it might not, and in that case their husbands may ‘anchor’ Clinton and Warren in ways that limit their fitting-together. Similar dynamics will apply with long-time staff and other confidants.
That’s why it’s important for Warren to evaluate her relationship with Clinton as-is, and recognizing that is a positive sign. But Warren is a very intelligent and mature woman, so it’s hardly surprising that she’s weighing this decision well.
“According to four Senate sources familiar with Reid’s thinking”
The Huffington Post’s Zach Carter and Ryan Grim report that Harry Reid wants Clinton to choose Warren:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) believes Elizabeth Warren should be the running mate of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, according to four Senate sources familiar with Reid’s thinking.
Reid had initially been skeptical of the chatter around Warren, publicly warning that Democrats couldn’t afford to lose the seat the Massachusetts senator currently occupies. But The Boston Globe reported last week that he tasked attorney Marc Elias with studying how manageable the loss would be. Elias is, not coincidentally, the general counsel for Clinton’s campaign.
As Reid has examined the issue in recent weeks, he has grown confident the Democrats could hold onto Warren’s Senate seat and retake the upper chamber, according to sources. He also believes they could even put the House in play for Democrats, the sources said.
That’s an important consideration. Larry Sabato currently projects Republicans a 48-47 Senate edge with five races rated as toss-ups. Sabato also projects Democrats likely to gain only five House seats. A modest blue wave would retake the Senate, but we’ll need a blue tsunami to retake the House.
A January 2015 focus group in Colorado also found that Warren resonates well with moderate Republicans and independents, who described her as “smart,” “sincere,” “interesting,” “knowledgeable, intelligent,” and “capable.” A follow-up interview this year found those responses had not dimmed. If Warren would both spark progressives and sway more moderate Republicans to vote Democratic … that blue tsunami looks a lot more possible.
“Elizabeth Warren’s problem would be the same problem I’d have”
“I know Secretary Clinton pretty well,” Rendell said on 1210 WPHT Philadelphia radio. “I’m not an insider in the campaign but I know her pretty well. I think she will not pick somebody that she feels in her heart isn’t ready to be president or commander-in-chief and I think Elizabeth Warren is a wonderful, bright, passionate person, but with no experience in foreign affairs and not in any way, shape, or form ready to be commander-in-chief.”
Rendell, the chairman of the Philadelphia Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention, later called the station back to clarify that he didn’t mean to single Warren out.
“I didn’t want it to leave it hanging out there about Elizabeth Warren,” he said. “Elizabeth Warren’s problem would be the same problem I’d have. Let’s assume someone said consider Governor Rendell for vice president. I have no experience militarily, no experience in foreign affairs, and would be a difficult choice because if anything happened in week one and I became president, I would be lost.”
That’s not a convincing argument. Clinton has hands-on foreign policy experience, having served as Secretary of State, but she is the exception rather than the rule. Neither Clinton nor Obama had foreign policy experience in 2008, nor did any of this year’s four major GOP candidates … unless you count Donald Trump’s Miss Universe beauty pageants. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich had none at all. Yes, Joe Biden was former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But Warren’s voice of caution on military engagement would be, for progressives, a welcome counterpoint to Clinton’s perceived hawkishness.
All in all, Warren could be a critical ally as Clinton’s running mate, and as vice president. But they’re wise to weigh that carefully, and assess whether they will be comfortable as partners. If both decide they will be, I think the potential benefits far outweigh the risks.
Photo Credit – Clinton: AP File, Warren: Chitose Suzuki
Good day and good nuts