“A gifted storyteller” is how the Times described her in today’s editorial, with the utmost delicacy.

She’s a prolific “storyteller,” we can agree on that much. Whether the subject is her ancestry, or how she plans to pay for Medicare for All, or what Bernie Sanders said to her about women candidates being able to defeat Trump, at any given moment odds are good that a “story” is being told.

Relish the sight of a politician in a rare moment of complete self-unawareness.

Michael Brendan Dougherty assessed Warren’s “storytelling” ability in a recent piece for National Review:

Everything about Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, is a staged lie in service of her ambition. Her backstory, famously, is fake. During a time when elite universities like Harvard were under incredible pressure to hire non-white faculty to their law schools, Elizabeth Warren registered as a Cherokee. Eventually she concocted an almost-certainly-false story about anti–Native American prejudice from her father’s parents. Warren plagiarized her contribution to a book of Native American home recipes, Pow Wow Chow, from a French cookbook. Harvard bragged about its hiring of Warren and advertised her as an addition to its diversity, though reporting in recent years has attempted to obscure whether this was a help to her.

Warren’s political persona is entirely false. She claims to be a populist, but her form of social democracy is a kind of class warfare for millionaires and affluent liberals against billionaires and the petit bourgeois entrepreneurs who vote Republican. Her student-debt and free-college plans are absolute boons to the doctors, lawyers, and academics — the affluent wage-earners — who are her chief constituency. Meanwhile, her tax reforms go after not only billionaires but the small entrepreneurs: the guys who own a car wash, or a garbage-disposal service, and tend to vote Republican. Her consumer-protection reforms have hampered and destroyed local banks, and rewarded the bad-actor mega-banks she claims daily to oppose.

“I expect the prestige media to do everything in its power to drag this dead candidacy over the line in Iowa,” he added, writing a few days before the New York Times (co-)endorsed her for president. I’m less sure than he is that her candidacy is dead. New from Iowa:

If Biden wins Iowa and then New Hampshire, Warren will indeed be dead — as will everyone else in the field. The race will effectively be over. But she’s in second place in this poll, just as she was in the Des Moines Register’s poll of Iowa earlier this month, well within striking distance. She’s third at the moment in the RCP average in New Hampshire but just six points back of the frontrunner, Bernie Sanders. If she surprises in Iowa, it’s perfectly plausible that she’ll catch a bounce and soar to a win in New Hampshire too.

Which, if your only rooting interest in this primary is maximum chaos within the Democratic Party, might be the best possible outcome. If Biden wins IA and NH, the race is done. If Bernie wins both, the left will unite behind Sanders and the Democratic establishment will have a collective panic attack, an enjoyable outcome but not quite maximum chaos. If Warren wins both, then the party splinters — the Biden centrists will freak that she’s too radical for suburbanites but the Berniebros will freak that their champion has been thwarted by a lesser progressive, a “snake” who was willing to lie about him in order to damage him to boot. It’s not even clear that Bernie fans would begin to peel off towards Warren in the interest of consolidating the progressive bloc after her victories. We might end up with a three-way race beyond Super Tuesday, with Sanders refusing to give up on The Cause.

Here they are today side by side at an MLK Day event. Exit question: Has the rift been healed?