When you lose an election – particularly when you lose really badly – there is often a shakeup in leadership so some new blood can have a chance get things back on track. For Democrats, one of the more complicated personalities to fit into the mix would be liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren. Yet, to pacify a disgruntled Democrat base, it looks like that’s precisely what Harry Reid is going to do.
Senate Democrats want to enlist a progressive firebrand as a member of their leadership: Elizabeth Warren.
The incoming Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, is engaged in private talks with the Massachusetts freshman to create a special leadership post for the former Harvard professor, according to several people familiar with the matter. It’s unclear exactly what the new job would entail — but luring the populist liberal into leadership could inject fresh blood into a team reeling from significant midterm election losses.
The concept of creating a special position is most likely a fancy translation of, “none of us plan on stepping down, but we need to find something to do with her.” This ties into questions of whether or not the Democrats in the Senate still want Harry Reid hanging around. Harry has already said he has no plans to step down as Minority Leader in January, but there have been rumblings of replacing him with Chuck Schumer or even Warren herself. By creating a seat for her at the big table, Reid may be looking to defuse the uprising and keep the base happy while hanging on to his own power.
One alternate theory has it that Warren may be given the slightly less prestigious position of leading the Democrats’ Policy Committee, now coming up for grabs since it was held by the recently defeated Mark Begich. That may be seen as too much of a back room role by Warren’s more fervent supporters, however.
The other person who is no doubt watching this finagling with great interest is Hillary Clinton. She’s already feeling the pressure of Warren coming up behind her on the Left with plenty of support from the hard core liberal base. For her part, Warren is in the catbird’s seat here, since she can keep smiling and talking about how much she respects and supports Clinton (who is then forced to treat her just as nicely) while an unpaid army of cheerleaders keep showing up on television pushing her to run for the Democrat nomination. Now, if she is hoisted up into a serious upper chamber leadership role, (for no apparent reason, since she’s a freshman with virtually zero experience) it swings the camera lens on her all the more and keeps people asking if Hillary isn’t yesterday’s news while Warren is the fresh face of the party.