To Veep or not to Veep?


The idea of Sen. Elizabeth Warren joining Hillary Clinton on the Democratic presidential ticket leaves me uneasy, as much as I would enjoy the show. Warren brings real progressive chops to a presidential campaign that could use it with the electorate in an anti-establishment mood. Plus, she brings a lot of her own star power. Warren proved yesterday in Ohio she can sure wow a crowd as Clinton cannot. And brother, can she get under Donald Trump’s skin. From the Guardian:

Warren laid into the presumptive GOP nominee, characterizing him with a now familiar line as a “small, insecure money-grubber who fights for no one but himself”.

“I’m here today because I’m with her,” she said, as Clinton stood by her side. “She doesn’t whine. She doesn’t run to Twitter to call her opponents fat pigs or dummies.

“Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States because she knows what it takes to beat a thin-skinned bully who is driven by greed and hate.”

And the crowd goes wild.

But Warren can play attack dog for Clinton without leaving the Senate, where since arriving she has been a thorn in the side of all the right people. She’s proven she doesn’t need a VP slot to have a platform. Besides the risk of a Clinton–Warren ticket becoming effectively a Warren-Clinton ticket, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie has reservations similar to mine:

In Warren’s case, the vice presidency could be valuable if she’s empowered to make crucial bureaucratic and regulatory decisions. It’s not hard to imagine a Vice President Warren who acts as a watchdog within the administration, pushing Clinton to find and hire aggressive regulators and reject Wall Street–sourced appointees. But this would be an unusual amount of freedom for a vice president not named Dick Cheney. Given the extent to which the modern vice president is something like a chief advocate—responsible for pressing, negotiating, and enforcing the president’s agenda—Warren could find herself bound to Clinton’s agenda and priorities, even when she disagrees, leaving her with less autonomy than she had in the Senate. In which case, progressives will have lost one of their most able and vocal champions with little in return.

There’s real symbolism in “Warren for vice president,” but it may hurt progressives in the long term to have her in a presidential administration versus in the Senate, where her advocacy has long and impressive reach. (The same, incidentally, goes for another vice presidential contender, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a strong progressive choice who would be replaced by a Republican if he left the Senate.)

Those were some strong signals yesterday in Cincinnati that Warren has the inside track. Whether Clinton has the nerve to form a two-women tag team against the Misogynist from Manhattan remains to be seen. But it won’t hurt my feelings if Elizabeth Warren stays right where she is.

(Cross-posed from Hullabaloo.)

Categories : Presidential Race

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