How do you say “chicken out” in Cherokee?
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, still campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination despite an embarrassing fourth-place showing in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, was offered a golden chance to take on the race’s front-runner during a campaign stop in Colorado.
She didn’t just take a pass on the opportunity to slam Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, she openly dodged the question in order to attack former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – a contender who hasn’t even been on a ballot yet.
Here is the video of Warren pivoting from this @jessbidgood question on whether Bernie Sanders is a risky nominee to talk about Bloomberg.
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) February 24, 2020
“Senator, you’ve been calling Michael Bloomberg a risky nominee,” a reporter asked. “Do you think that Bernie Sanders would be a risky nominee?”
Note the wording of that question – “Do YOU think that BERNIE SANDERS would be a risky nominee?”
There wasn’t a lot of ambiguity there, but Warren chose to answer a separate question entirely.
“I think that Michael Bloomberg is the riskiest candidate,” she said.
When another reporter interjected that the question was, in fact, about Sanders, Warren simply said “I heard you” and pressed on.
“I think that Michael Bloomberg is the riskiest candidate standing on that stage,” she said, in an apparent reference to Wednesday’s debate in Las Vegas. “Because of his history of hiding his taxes. His history of harassment of women. And his history of defending racist colleagues. I think I am the least risky candidate to stand on that debate stage…
“I think it’s clear right now that the Democratic Party wants to see a progressive, and I’m a progressive.”
Really. Well, Warren might have heard that there’s another “progressive” in the race – a “progressive” named Sanders. (He was the one the question was about, in fact.)
He’s so progressive that he’s opposed to the whole capitalist system that helped build the United States and is urging full-blown, collectivist socialism on a country that was founded on the idea of individual liberty.
It’s entirely possible, of course, that Warren doesn’t think that’s a risky idea at all. It could well be that she’s put that Harvard Law brain to work and decided that a country enjoying a humming economy and low unemployment is willing to go all in on a government and economic system that has filled the world with misery.
It could also be that after three straight primary-season losses, with her prospects of winning the nomination disappearing by the day, Warren has decided the best she can hope for out of the 2020 campaign is a prospective No. 2 slot as Sanders’ vice president pick.
And since answering the reporter’s question in Colorado by criticizing Sanders would be a sure way to scotch that – she simply chickened out.
That, at least, was the interpretation of a fair number of social media users.
Warren isn’t running to win, she is running to get a higher profile. If she was running to win, she would be going after her biggest competition, Bernie… not some dude that’s not even on the ballot.
— lauralouisiana (@llauralouisiana) February 24, 2020
Another example she’s a weak leader. She can’t answer anything about the socialist.
— victoria (@victoriaacas) February 24, 2020
Well, she did publicly accuse @BernieSanders of being a sexist liar, but in heart of hearts she probably realizes that she’s lost the nomination. There is no path for her moving forward.
But the VP a lot? Let the groveling begin! She’s “not” above it.
— Safe Spaces Podcast (@real_safespaces) February 24, 2020
No one grows up wanting to be vice president, and no woman with a self-regard like Warren could probably see herself easily in the role, but given that the alternative is ignominy, it might not look too bad.
And to apply a mercilessly actuarial approach to the question, let’s face it, anyone who was vice president in the administration of Bernie Sanders — a 78-year-old who has already survived one serious heart attack on the campaign trail – has a better than usual chance of calling the shots in the Oval Office someday.
And this one made an excellent point:
She looked like Sanders attack dog when going after Bloomberg. Maybe she is vying for the VP slot.
— JoAnne Menard (@Jamen131) February 24, 2020
The traditional role of a vice presidential candidate in American campaigns has evolved into acting as the “attack dog” to let the presidential nominee – as much as possible — remain grandly above the fray.
Considering that one of the candidates running in November is President Donald Trump – a man with a demonstrated willingness to join the fray with relish – and the Democratic front-runner at this point is Sanders – another guy not exactly known as a shrinking violet – it’s doubtful that the “attack dog” mode will be in play.
Still, Warren’s biting commentary made it clear if anyone doubted that she would suit the bill admirably.
It’s not surprising that Warren went on the attack in Colorado – a failing candidate has little to lose by lashing out. But it’s generally considered more productive to attack the front-runner in the race.
The Massachusetts senator, who’s probably best known for her deceitful career of passing herself off as having Cherokee ancestors, then ludicrously failing in her attempt to prove it with a DNA test, was handed a free pass to take on the man currently rolling over all opponents in the Democratic field.
Warren not only bypassed that opportunity to hit Sanders, she openly dismissed it with a condescending “I heard you” before continuing her jeremiad against Bloomberg.
Warren and her dwindling supporters might try to pass it off as an attack on a man she considers a threat to progressive principles, but the rest of the world is likely to see it in a different way entirely:
She had a chance to hit Sanders and she chickened out.
A vice presidential slot could be at stake.
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