Of all the possible takes Elizabeth Warren could have given about her catastrophic DNA test, this … is certainly one of them. In a debate with challenger Geoff Diehl last night, the incumbent senator claimed that she took her now infamous genetic study because American faith in government is “at an all-time low.”
What did she want to do — break the record by digging it deeper?
She was asked by a moderator why she had said, in March, that no DNA test was needed to prove she had some Native American heritage. She said she ultimately took the test, reporting the result last week that showed a relative six to 10 generations ago was Native American.
Ultimately, she said, she took a DNA test because she believes one way to rebuild trust in government is by posting her full family history online “so anybody can take a look. … I believe one way that we try to rebuild confidence is through transparency.”
L’etat, c’est Warren? “Government transparency” doesn’t mean genealogical charts of politicians. Warren got into this mess by refusing to admit what her DNA test made painfully clear — that she falsely claimed Native American identity in order to benefit from affirmative-action programs. When the issue first arose, Warren could have admitted that she thought her family lore was enough to qualify back in the day, while expressing regret for some delayed enlightenment. Had she done that, the issue would have died in 2012.
Instead, Warren kept digging the hole with talk of “high cheekbones” and a ludicrous story about her parents having to elope because her mother’s 1/32nd-at-most native ancestry made her unacceptable to her father’s family. The DNA test was a last, desperate shot at trying to cover for her affirmative-action claims, which blew up in her face when it became apparent that all of her previous claims were nonsense. The only transparent part of it was the desperation attendant to it.
Only a fool or a practiced prevaricator could claim that this has restored faith in government or in public officials. Diehl drove the point home in his response:
Diehl shot back that the issue “is not about Sen. Warren’s ancestry, it’s about integrity in my mind, and I don’t care whether you think you benefited or not from that claim, it’s the fact that you tried to benefit from that claim that I think bothers a lot of people and it’s something you haven’t been able to put to rest since the 2012 campaign,” when she first mentioned having Native American heritage that led President Donald Trump to start mocking her by calling her “Pocahontas.”
And as Diehl points out, there’s another transparency issue here. Warren didn’t need to address her claims to native ancestry in order to compete for her Senate seat in deep-blue Massachusetts. She needed it to clear the ground for a run at the presidency in 2020:
“I don’t care what percentage she claims to be Native American; I just care that I’m 100 percent for Massachusetts and will be working for the people of this state.”
Trump’s silent presence dominated the debate, with Diehl saying it’s “obvious” she doesn’t want to be senator, but rather, president. “She’s been campaigning in states that are more important to her than Massachusetts,” he said.
One would hope that such obvious and incompetent machinations would cost Warren at the ballot box. Alas, as one might expect in Massachusetts, Warren has a massive polling lead over Diehl, with leads between +22 and +36 so far this cycle. Of course, the last poll was taken in the first week of October, so it’s possible that the DNA debacle could still cost her some support. Diehl would need a miracle, though, to get within 15 points of Warren, so perhaps the only karmic retribution possible would be getting laughed out of the 2020 sweepstakes.