On a normal news day, when I’ve got immigration and ObamaCare and maybe the weekly “federal judge strikes down state’s gay-marriage ban” story to blog, there’s no way I’m dining on nonsense like this.
On a slow, post-holiday news day? Bring me the ketchup.
Obama has authorized his chief political adviser, Valerie Jarrett, to conduct a full-court press to convince Warren to throw her hat into the ring.
In the past several weeks, Jarrett has held a series of secret meetings with Warren. During these meetings, Jarrett has explained to Warren that Obama is worried that if Hillary succeeds him in the White House, she will undo many of his policies.
He believes that the populist Warren is the best person to convince the party faithful that Hillary is out of touch with poor Americans and the middle class. Warren, in his view, would carry on the Obama legacy after he leaves the White House…
“Both Valerie and Michelle Obama have convinced the president that Elizabeth Warren is his Mini-Me,” said a person who has discussed the issue with Jarrett.
That’s from Edward Klein, who, coincidentally, has a new book out right now featuring this very anecdote. (When he asked a Democratic operative for comment about Obama and Warren, the reply came back, “It’s all bullsh*t.”) First obvious question: When was the last time an incumbent president bypassed his own secretary of state — and VP, if Biden’s serious about running — to support a longshot ideologue in a primary? Second, more substantive obvious question: Which Obama policies would President Hillary “undo”? She might be more hawkish than him but no one thinks she’s going back into Afghanistan or, gasp, Iraq. She certainly wouldn’t repeal ObamaCare. And, for obvious reasons, she’s even more eager than lame-duck O is to pander to Latino voters, ensuring that she’d follow his expansionist lead on amnesty. Which other major Obama initiatives are there beyond those for her to conceivably threaten? The punchline here is that the Clintons are hunting around for a platform or “big idea” to run on and the most likely option is — ta da — Elizabeth Warren’s. Framing her candidacy as a quasi-populist crusade against income inequality helps Hillary in all sorts of ways: It’ll soothe the left in the primaries, mask the Clintons’ establishment stink, and give them a “serious” prefab narrative for the general election to distract from Hillary’s lack of distinction as a policymaker. (The real narrative of the campaign, of course, is “First! Woman! President!”, but Democrats will want to pretend they’re offering something more substantive than that.) Even if Obama preferred Warren’s agenda to Hillary’s non-agenda, what savvy pol wouldn’t prefer to have Warrenism incorporated into the Clinton brand at the top of the ticket rather than rolling the dice on Warren herself?
The silliest thing about this is that, of the two of them, Warren would be much more likely to run against Obama’s record than Hillary would. Hillary’s stuck with O’s foreign policy and, as a former cabinet member, can’t be too harsh in attacking him on domestic policy. Warren can attack him full force, though — that’s the whole reason the left’s eager for her to run. She can make the purist liberal critique of O’s centrist failures, starting with financial reform, that the Clintons can’t. For Obama to prefer Warren to Hillary, he’d have to be so disgusted at the meagerness of his own legacy that he’d want the next nominee to call him a failure rather than defend that legacy as a success worth building on. Ideologue though he is, does he strike you as the sort of guy whose ego would permit him to do that?
BuzzFeed has other excerpts from Klein’s book, my favorite of which involves Hillary allegedly calling O an MFer while sipping wine at a luncheon with Wellesley alumnae. Sounds legit. And speaking of books, apparently no one is reading Hillary’s. Because why would you? It’s a pre-campaign souvenir, something to be displayed on your shelf a la an “I Like Ike” button circa 1952, not something to be read.