Is this Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) jump the shark moment? She’s had many close calls already but her latest stunt, coming right before the Iowa caucuses kick off on Feb. 3, seems especially telling. Flagrantly pandering to the woke crowd – on a subject that is of great importance to few voters and off-putting to infinitely more – Warren vowed on Jan. 26 that if elected president, she would tap a 9-year-old transgender child to personally vet her Secretary of Education nominee.
“I’m going to have a Secretary of Education that this young trans person interviews on my behalf,” Warren declared at a forum in Cedar Rapids, IA, “and only if this person believes that our Secretary or Secretary of Education nominee is absolutely committed to creating a welcoming environment, a safe environment, and a full educational curriculum for everyone will that person actually be advanced to be Secretary of Education.”
Bringing Out Her Gillibrand
The declaration harkens back to a CNN co-hosted town hall in October in which the child, being shamelessly exploited as a political prop, asked Warren a question on national television. It is a moment moderate Dems would prefer had been long forgotten by now. Yet here was Warren, not only dredging it up again but emphasizing it. And in Iowa, of all places.
This is Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) territory. Gillibrand was frequently ridiculed throughout the first half of 2019 for her nonstop substance-deprived preening during a short-lived and disastrous bid for the Dem nomination. Whether dressing up with drag queens or holding a contest in which the winner got to drink whiskey with her, the Empire State senator appeared to be auditioning for a reality TV show rather than running for the highest elected office in the land. Before August had even ended, she was gone.
Warren’s channeling of the ghost of ludicrous rivals past at this late date is inexplicable on the surface but fully in keeping with her uneven personality on the campaign trail. She can be poised and focused on serious policy matters one moment and then drift into frivolous melodramatic posturing the next. All this was on display at the Jan. 14 Democratic debate in Des Moines, IA. Warren was strong out of the gate, scoring points with stout populist talking points on war and the economy in a clear attempt to outdo progressive lane rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). All was going well and then the mercurial Massachusetts senator proceeded to change gears with a notable lurch, lapsing into hackneyed female power braggadocio as policy heft melted away.
Arc of Irrationality
Her post-debate confrontation with Sanders, in which she feistily accused him of calling her a liar, came across as contrived and was easily fended off by the Vermont democratic socialist. Since that moment, Sanders has soared in polling in Iowa and New Hampshire as Warren has sagged. Her earnest slip away from seriousness had proven costly.
This is less a mistake and more a pattern. Warren seems to panic when things turn against her. We saw it with her calamitous decision to undergo a DNA test on her fictitious Native American history in the face of constant criticism on the subject. Instead of moving away from the controversy, she exacerbated it. Her pandering on transgender children as major White House advisers is another particularly ill-timed reflection of this political flaw.
Bernie has seized the progressive momentum away from her and this is how she responds. It oozes floundering weakness, showing potential voters that she really is on the ropes. Can Sanders administer a knockout blow to a wobbly Warren by winning decisively in Iowa and New Hampshire? All of a sudden this is not out of the question.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.