Depressingly, I have to agree with Ben Domenech here*:
Even if [Elizabeth Warren] ultimately runs, I’m far more skeptical about Warren’s ability to actually beat the Hillary machine, in part because of the differences and similarities between the last inspiring progressive Senator who stole Hillary’s rightful place on the throne. The Obama nomination came out of nowhere – the explosion of an organic internet-driven fundraising challenger to the Clinton machine fueled in part by dramatic hopes for history-making achievement combined with a thriving cult of personality – and is unlikely to be replicated with Warren, who has nowhere near that kind of appeal nor the apparent ambition to go after the party establishment directly. That’s how she’s different.
But consider how she’s the same: for those Democrats on the fence between the two frames [Noam] Scheiber describes [in his TNR piece here] (and I think there are a lot of them), the lesson of Obama’s presidency may turn out to put them off upstarts for a cycle or two. Forget ideology: doesn’t Obama’s eight years serve as a cautionary tale for the left of what happens when you put so much faith in an inspiring speaker without much experience in actually running things? The nation is certainly disappointed by the failure of Obama’s dramatic, uplifting rhetoric to come to fruition in his policies: on the economy, health care, and more, Obama’s failed to meet their expectations (indeed, the one area Obama is most popular is in the arena of national security, where his acceptance of Bush era approaches to policy and endless drone war has wiped away any memory of the candidate whose rise depended, above all, on being right about Iraq).
…although, honestly, I don’t think that Hillary can necessarily beat, say, Joe Biden in the 2016 primaries. The woman is fundamentally dull. Which, to be pretty obnoxiously blunt about it, is something that you can say about Elizabeth Warren, too. At this point in the 2008 election cycle Hillary was the front-runner, sure – but Barack Obama was this fresh new guy that had made a speech in 2004 that everybody thought was great and healing and bipartisan and the rest of that gauzy, feel-good stuff. Elizabeth Warren does not have that reputation. Elizabeth Warren has the reputation of being a scold. That will serve her wonderfully wither regard to liberals, and apparently Massachusetts voters. It will not serve her as well when it comes to the other 80% of the population.
But that’s assuming that the woman makes it out of the 2016 primaries, the actual mechanics of which being something that Scheiber never exactly described. And for good reason: Clinton will probably have the money, and Biden will probably have the staff. Where is Warren going to get the engine she needs to win the nomination?
*Judging from Ben’s title – “I Wish Elizabeth Warren Was The Democratic Party’s Future, But She Isn’t” – he’s kind of depressed about her not getting the nod, too.