90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Mass. Senate

Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren campaigning in Medford, Mass., Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

I have a dream about America — and about its leaders — which I inherited from our founders.

My dream is that the people we elect will be men and women of substance whose life experiences have made them strong, compassionate, courageous and wise. This should be especially true for United States senators who, given the luxury of a six-year term, can use that time and privilege to champion their constituents’ — and their country’s — long-term interests.

In this age of electoral flimflam, there are not many candidates who measure up to this vision and who are willing, as Edward Kennedy used to say, “to take on the great challenges of the day.” But fortunately here in Massachusetts, we have such a candidate in Elizabeth Warren.

Elizabeth Warren has all three of the vital qualities we need in a U.S. senator: conviction, foresight and tenacity.

Her life experiences forged her convictions. Molded by the challenges of her childhood, she has never lost sight of what parents need to provide for their sons and daughters. Since her days as a schoolteacher and young mother, she has never forgotten the difficulties faced by so many families to find work and financial security. Rising to the top of a profession dominated by men, she knows in her bones why everyone’s skills must be recognized and rewarded. All those experiences have given her a mixture of personal warmth, enduring compassion and steely conviction essential to bold public service.

The second vital gift for a leader is the ability to look into the future and take notice of problems before they become crises. Elizabeth Warren saw earlier than anyone that middle class families were bending and buckling under the strain of shrinking incomes, expanding debt and rising bankruptcies. She looked into the distance and saw that the American dream itself was at risk. She was outraged that in addition to all the structural problems and inequalities in our economy, many banks, insurance firms, and credit card companies were building financial booby-traps of small print to harm average consumers. And she sounded the alarm — relentlessly, compellingly, and, in the end successfully. As a U.S. senator, she would know how to protect the American people

The third attribute of a strong public advocate is the willingness to take on opposition, no matter how fierce it may become. After the banking industry all but wrecked the American economy and was then rescued by taxpayer dollars, it was Elizabeth Warren who chased down those who had received bail-outs and made them explain their failures. In her determination to protect American families from complex forms of theft, she conceived and helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The lobbyists for the financial industry did everything they could to block her ideas, attack her reputation and overturn her achievements. A weaker person might have given up in the face of such powerful and determined opposition. But Warren persisted, and with the help of President Obama she created a powerful force for consumers that protects millions from the schemes the financial industry continues to try to sneak by the American people.

Warren’s personal vision and political courage align brilliantly with the tradition of national leadership which senators and governors from Massachusetts have offered for nearly 250 years. And these qualities contrast deeply with what we have learned about Scott Brown, a man whose career testifies to the triumph of style over substance in American politics.

The images he has relied on (the barn coat, the pick-up truck) and the tactics he has used (the insulting Native American critique) are designed to distract us from the harsh truth that he has blocked health care reform, undermined the reality of climate change and advocated without shame for the financial interests of big business. Far from an engine of leadership, he has been the caboose of the senate.

On what issue has he offered visionary solutions? In what manner has he challenged the right wing forces that are undermining the middle class? On what question has he shown conviction, tenacity, and foresight? The sad answer is: none.

Whoever wins on November 6 will serve at least until January 2019 — and perhaps far longer. A vote for Scott Brown means handing control of the Senate — its committees, its votes, its approval of nominees — to a party that would drag us back. A vote for Elizabeth Warren is a vote for the future, as well as an endorsement of that dream of public leadership which is the greatest gift of our past.

Related:

Tags: Election 2012, Mass. Senate

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the writer and do not in any way reflect the views of WBUR management or its employees.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • kbeau

    Great reasons to send Warren to the Senate! Thanks for articulating so well what everyone needs to know about her.

  • Pingback: Why I Am Voting For Scott Brown | Cognoscenti

  • Adriana Cohen

    As a mother of 5, Sen. Scott Brown has earned my vote. Not only has he proven to be an outstanding Senator so far and a leader on so many good pieces of legislation, but he’s also bipartisan, which is a critical skill a politician needs to possess in order to be effective in Washington. Scott Brown is a bridge builder, not a rock thrower. It is my hope he gets another 6 years. America and MA will be better off for it.

    • Sinclair2

      He will vote for a new Supreme Court Justice identical to Antonin Scalia. I can’t imagine any woman voting for Brown unless they have religeous beliefs driven by the teachings of the Vatican.

      • Adriana Cohen

        Hi Sinclair. I disagree with your views. Scott Brown, like myself is Pro Choice. So he’s not going to be voting to repeal Roe V. Wade. I think the liberal “machine” and biased media has used so many scare tactics that people like you actually believe such nonsense. The “War on Women” is just a cheap fundraising tool so the “machine” can rally it’s base to donate to their campaign coffers and go to the polls. I’m as socially liberal as they come and I’m voting for Brown.

        • http://www.facebook.com/benedict.holland.39 Benedict Holland

          I don’t see how the “war on women” can be a fundraising tool. Brown might be a lot of things but looking at his voting record on women’s rights and health care he appears to be fiercely partisan and more in line with Indiana than with MA. The thing is, you can say anything you want but when it comes down to substance I get nothing from Brown except tomahawk chops and saying one thing and voting another.

        • Sinclair2

          Hello Adriana, (nice name :)
          My thinking has not been influenced by any thought machine. My concerns about Brown go back to when he gay-bashed former Senator Cheryl Jacques and called her wierd for her same sex partnership. He stalled on “don’t ask, don’t tell” until his vote did not have any influence. He quickly said Scalia was his favorite justice and we know where he stands as he votes in unison with Clarence Thomas. He associates himself with the two fine ladies from Maine (Collins & Snow) who are pro-choice and who we all know will never vote for a justice who is “pro-life”. Brown’s “pro-choice” stance is not to be trusted when it comes to the Supreme Court. His stand against Elena Kagan was enough proof for me. Kagan had more legal experience in one month than Brown has had in a lifetime.

        • jefe68

          Socially liberal as the come? If you vote for Brown that’s hardly the case. He represents his party, period. When it comes to social issues he’s going to tow the line and it’s a hard line at that. You are aware that the GOP platform on abortion is to repeal Roe V. Wade. That is their agenda and make no mistake about it.

    • Kirsten

      Show me one bridge. You’re parroting his false claims to bipartisanship. Do you defend his signing of the Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge? That’s a glaringly political, partisan act.

    • Stop Sketchy Bainful Minions

      HogWash. Scott Brown is a standing member of the most obstructionist opposition party in the history of the Senate (other than the civil war). If he is so ‘centrist’ then he should be a man and leave Mitch Mcconell’s job blocking anti-science ‘moran’ junta. Against evidence (see the UK) he subscribes to bankrupt, trickle-down economics and has participated in sabotaging the economy in order for the Republicans to gain power. Party before country is not a prescription for leadership. It is craven and stupid. Unless you and your children are millionaires and bankers you are voting against your interest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tess.pope Tess Alexandra Pope

    Yes! Thank you Bob Massie!

  • http://everydayscholar.tumblr.com/ Adam Mandeville

    Compared to the article supporting Scott Brown, there are truly substantive reasons to vote for Elizabeth Warren here. Voting 55% of the time with your party, as is touted by Scott Brown and his supporters, means nothing if those votes are not what people actually want. I do see Warren as strictly partisan, but I think it’s what the Democratic Party and Massachusetts residents want. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an example of how issues that are supported by most citizens have become partisan in the last few years. The bureau promotes fiscal responsibility, has already been a great investment, takes power out of the hands of lobbyists, and tries to level the economic playing field. Everyone supports these issues, and yet Democrats have to struggle to pass these pieces of legislation. So, as ugly as it may sound, I’d rather have someone who votes with the Democratic party and helps pass legislation that I and a majority of citizens want, rather than a “bipartisan” senator with scant creativity or daring to help people.

    • JoelN

      Maybe the article supporting Brown wasn’t heavy on detail, but I would not exactly say this article gave “substantive” reasons here. Pretty much the same feel-good fluff, as a matter of fact.

      • http://everydayscholar.tumblr.com/ Adam Mandeville

        She can point to more achievements for middle-class Americans from her time prior to her campaign victory than Scott Brown can from his senate career. I agree that it is light, but only from the fact that she hasn’t had a career in politics, though Scott Brown should mention some of his actual achievements if he had any. Also, this piece mentions personal details, which she stayed away from due to Brown’s attack on her family; yes, it’s “feel-good,” but not often told.

  • Pingback: Why I Am Voting For Barack Obama | Cognoscenti

  • Lisa

    Thank you Adriana Cohen for seeing through the Democrat campaign rhetoric. More people need to do so.

    • Sinclair2

      Actually Lisa, more people need to do their own research or at least keep up with the candidates because of the barrage of propaganda. I have, especially with Brown, and I can tell you it’s all there. See my comments above to Adrianna. Emily Rooney once asked Gail Huff how their marriage held together with two careers. Huff said we never discuss politics.

  • Pingback: Why I Am Voting For Mitt Romney | Cognoscenti

  • Bill Tse

    I too am excited for our first native american senator. she can continue to “sound the alarm” and take action by voting to redistribute needed wealth. onward

  • JoelN

    One of Sen. Brown’s first actions as a Senator was to work towards passing legislation that banned congressional insider trading. That’s a pretty gutsy agenda for a junior senator elected in a special election, when their traditional party role is to shut up, be quiet, and hope to get some cherry sub-committee appointment. And that’s also a pretty good challenge (albeit admittedly a symbolic one, as reforming Congressional bylaws does not make a huge difference in our average day-to-day) to the forces (be they right or left, which this author failed to mention in favor of toeing the leftist partisan line) undermining the middle class. He worked hard to help the fishing industry, a basically blue collar industry in this state, which is something that this writer would probably ecstatically describe as a “visionary conviction” of Sen. Elect Warren’s, while he would likely decry some environmental consequence of fishing in the state and blame Brown for supporting the degradation of the environment. I get supporting a candidate. I did some phone-banking for Scott Brown, but I was neither naive enough nor so punch drunk to have such an overly-romantic vision of of the man or what he could do in the Senate, as this author apparently does for Sen. Elect Warren. Just felt he had already done a good job representing the state and would continue to do so, while also being willing to compromise for the health of the nation as a whole. To boot, we already have a center-left Senator, and felt that our delegation could use at least one center-right voice who could bring a voice of reason and compromise to our hyper-partisan federal cohort. O well, what’s done is done.

TOP