As Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren tries to unseat Republican incumbent Scott Brown, she’s opted to go on a talking tour this week….of MSNBC.

Warren appeared on Hardball June 13 and Morning Joe June 14, hammering the populist anti-business, pro-government spending themes contained in a new ad her campaign released on Monday, June 11.

Although campaign adviser  Hardball host Chris Matthews didn’t ask a single question of Warren about the controversy surrounding her heritage—is she part-Cherokee—Joe Scarborough did touch on it at the outset of his interview in a way that could have been scripted by her campaign:

Scarborough: So much has happened… most of it having to do with applications to law school. Can you believe how much your application process dominated the past month, month and a half of your political campaign up in Massachusetts?

Warren: No, I really can’t, especially at a time when J.P. Morgan Chase has loaded up on risk again…and (Americans’) net worth has dropped 38 percent in three years. There’s a lot going on out there in the world, a lot of stuff to talk about.

Scarborough: And yet everybody continues talking about whether you properly filled out your forms as Native American or not. Do you think you’ve gotten that behind you or not…what is the status, do you think people are sick and tired of hearing that?

Warren:…Actually most people were never very interested in it. And we got the facts out early on it. this This is how I grew up, Joe, this is my family. I’m not backing off of my family. It became clear that I didn’t get anything for law school application or for college or for any of the jobs I was hired for. Bottom line is: are we going to talk about issues, or are we going to talk about other things. Scott Brown doesn’t want to talk about the issues…

Am I the only one scratching her head over Scarborough’s misrepresentation of the controversy? He made it sound as if this was an angels-on-a-pinhead debate, whether she “filled out forms” properly—as if some undotted “i” or uncrossed “t” mistake on a form was being blown out of proportion.

No, Joe, that wasn’t the issue as I understood it. The issue was—did Elizabeth Warren use–or allow to be used–her alleged Native American ancestry to unfairly advance herself?

Why is that important? Well, for that, let’s go to the tape. The tape of the Hardball interview that occurred the night before her Morning Joe appearance (MSNBC embeds a 30 second ad preceding this clip).


While Warren was talking about the financial situation in that clip, here’s the money quote for me: “they get that the game is rigged.”

Yes, Elizabeth, the game is “rigged” when someone who grew up with none of the hardships of a minority gets to wrap herself in minority status at a critical point in her career.

No matter what Warren’s intentions were when she checked off the “Native American” box, she surely had to know that such a label would be used in some way to advance some agenda, or, to use her language, to “rig” some “game.”


Libby Sternberg is a novelist and, on her paternal grandfather’s side, is part Huguenot. Where are the Huguenot boxes on applications? Where, where, where?

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