Dances with Republicans: Elizabeth Warren in 2016?

From today’s “Post Politics” column in The Washington Post: “A new poll shows former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s (D) numbers hitting their lowest point in six years. … The Fox News poll, from Democratic pollster Anderson Robbins Research and GOP pollster Shaw & Company, shows Clinton’s favorable rating dropping to 49 percent, compared to 45 percent unfavorable. The last time her numbers were in that ballpark was during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary race. After she ended her campaign, her favorable/unfavorable split was 47/46.”

{mosads}Last time, it may be recalled, the Hillary Clinton campaign may be seen to have been done in by the Kennedy family. The New York Times had just officially endorsed Clinton in the primary and quickly thereafter, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President Kennedy, endorsed instead then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in the same newspaper.

Obama surged in the polls when Caroline’s Uncle Teddy (D-Mass.) in the Senate quickly came to her side. From then on it was all about Barack Obama. But it may have been the last fateful act in what Larry J. Sabato called “the Kennedy half century.”

There was without question back in 2007 an overwhelming desire for “somebody else”; somebody, in a word, who was not Hillary and as the poll shows today, the former secretary of State has not gained much traction since.

History teaches that when a movement’s avatar passes, the age soon with it. No new Kennedy to pull it out of the hat for a sudden contender this time. But “Fear Factor” may tell us something. No one darkens the heart of conservatives today more than Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D). It is to her advantage.

Liberals may not yet have fully warmed to her, but Warren is the rare individual who can maintain the status of a Harvard scholar and still conjure that “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” persona; an Oklahoma-reared grandmother who pulled herself up by her own bootstraps and knows how to bake a cake. She should be seen as a populist; one of us, one who intrinsically rises to her feet at a breathtaking 60-yard pass from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and a one-handed catch by Danny Amendola. And she could return Presidents Jackson and Jefferson to the Democrats, where they began and where they belong. Few others on the horizon have either the native and professional ability or the charming populist nature to do that.

She has just written a book titled A Fighting Chance, to come out next week, the timing of which suggests that it is at least in the back of her mind to run for president in 2016.

But it may be said that conservatives also see Warren as “not Hillary” and for them, it ruins everything. They have been planning on lazy days and an easy win against the Clinton Establishment with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). But they head now into 2016 with bile and venom. There go forth in ill faith, bringing frontal assault to the three poisons which they see as killing America: Benghazi, Obamacare and this tangled neurosis: Is Elizabeth Warren really part Indian?

Warren thus conjures the darkest shadow of the heart’s betrayal and as it did John Wayne in his classic, “The Searchers,” it drives them almost to the edge of madness: Did Warren, like 1st Lt. John J. Dunbar in “Dance With Wolves,” “[turn] Injun”?

This is the dominating conservative Washington Establishment talking. But Warren is not to worry. They despise President Eisenhower as well. 

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at

Tags Andrew Jackson Caroline Kennedy Dwight Eisenhower Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton Massachusetts Oklahoma Ted Kennedy Thomas Jefferson

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