Wow. I thought Joe Biden was the one plagued by “senior moments” on the campaign trail. But maybe we should be keeping a closer eye on Elizabeth Warren.
The Massachusetts Senator seemed to lose track of the plot briefly during a campaign stop in Iowa on Friday night. When asked how she would wield executive power (rather than waiting for Congress to do something) as President, Warren responded by saying that she was the only one in the running “who’s actually been on the executive side.” Not only will that come as news to all the rest of the current frontrunners, but Warren seems to really be stretching the definition of having been on the executive side. (Washington Examiner)
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she was the only White House hopeful who has spent any time in the executive branch on government at an Iowa rally, seemingly forgetting about a number of her rivals.
The remarks came after an audience member asked her when she plans on using presidential authority for some of her policy agenda instead of relying on Congress.
“That’s a really good question. Let me remind you, I think, I’m the only one running for president whose actually been on the executive side,” Warren said Friday evening. “Remember, after the consumer agency was passed into law, Barack Obama, President Obama, asked me to set it up. So I set up a federal agency. We effectively went from two employees the day I walked in the door to about 1000 and spent a year getting it up and operational.”
It’s hard to know where to even begin with this one. First of all, “executive experience,” as typically understood in American politics, applies to a lot more than just the White House. (Otherwise, former presidents and vice presidents would be the only ones who have it.) The term applies to working in the executive branch of whichever level of government we’re discussing, as opposed to the legislative and judicial branches. It applies to Governors, city mayors, county executives and the like.
With that in mind, Sanders, Buttigieg and Bloomberg all have direct executive experience. And Biden was literally second in command at the federal level. Heck, even Amy Klobuchar was elected County Attorney back home (twice!) which is technically part of the county executive branch. But what about Warren herself? She’s won precisely two elections in her life, both of them for the Senate seat she currently holds, putting her firmly in the legislative branch. Her comments were obviously in reference to the CFPB, but that’s not really applicable. Keep in mind that President Obama tasked her with setting up the bureau, but he appointed her as an Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury.
Hers was more of a hired gun, contracting position, responsible for building the infrastructure. But at no time did she actually run the bureau or take responsibility for its operation. That job went to Richard Cordray because it had become obvious to everyone (including Barack Obama) that Warren could never be confirmed.
Not only was Warren selling all of her main competition short in terms of executive experience, but she was vastly pumping up her own resume. So was she temporarily confused about these basic facts of governance? Does she not actually understand how the system works? Or was it just a cheap shot at her opponents in the heat of the moment? As of yet, there doesn’t seem to be any sign that she’s walking the statement back. Perhaps some daring reporter will ask her about it before the impeachment trial starts.