KUDOS to freshman Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. Fresh off her highly publicized win over incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown; Warren is making a name for herself in Washington the right way. You may recall that Warren was the chief architect of the president’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. An outspoken critic of Wall Street banking practices, Warren’s nomination to head the protection bureau was blocked by Republicans. So Warren returned to Massachusetts where she vowed to continue the fight for banking fairness. Her victory over the popular Scott Brown returned her to Washington and garnered her a seat on the Senate Banking committee. Since returning to the capital Warren has maintained a low profile; declining interviews and shunning reporters who stalk the halls of congress looking for an unguarded quote. Last week Warren got the opportunity to question federal regulators on their oversight of the banking practices that led to the collapse of the economy. Warren asked each regulator the key question on the minds of millions of Americans: “When was the last time that you took a member of Wall Street to trail?” When dumbfounded regulators were unable to come up with an answer she said: “…There are district attorneys and US attorneys who are out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds. And taking them to trail in order to make an example, as they put it. I’m really concerned that too big to fail has become too big for trial. That just seems wrong to me.” Warren seems to have wisely learned from former New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton, in spite of her notoriety, understood that the way to get things done as a freshman senator was to give deference to seniority, keep your mouth shut publically while doing the grunt work behind the scenes. Clinton paid her dues and became a well respected and productive member of the world’s most elite club. When she finally found her voice people listened. Elizabeth Warren gets it.
RASBERRIES to freshman Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruze. In his first two months in office Cruze has demonstrated a bi-partisan ability to piss of both his Democratic opponents his Republican caucus. In short order he impugned the integrity and patriotism of the president’s nominee for Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel; was one of only three senators to vote against John Kerry for Secretary of State; spoke in opposition to the bi-partisan immigration reform blueprint sponsored by Republican darling, Marco Rubio; got into a pissing contest with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel over the mayor’s effort to have the city’s pension funds divest their investments in gun manufactures; and blasted the president’s gun reform proposals on the Sunday talk shows. The very first bill Cruze introduced was to “repeal every last word of Obamacare.”Republicans say he pontificates too much and listens too little. He even managed to tick off his states’ senior senator, Republican John Cornyn by refusing to back Cornyn for party whip. In a recent op-ed The New York Times referred to Cruze as the “GOPs Nasty Newcomer.” Perhaps Cruze has his sights set on a presidential run in 2016. His minority heritage and Harvard education might remind some of a certain junior senator from Illinois who spent but a minute in the chamber before making a successful presidential run. Maybe that’s the long term goal. But in the meantime Cruze shouldn’t expect any co-operation from his colleagues when he wants to get something done for his constituents back home in Texas. The senate has a long memory when it comes to those who attack their colleagues and dare to ignore long standing senate traditions. Paybacks are hell. Just ask chuck Hagel.
Elizabeth Warren read the memo…Ted Cruze did not. We’ll see which one makes the bigger impact.