It isn’t an uncommon thing to bury bad political news by releasing it at a certain time. For instance, the media always looks askance when some resignation or noxious report is released at 5 p.m. on a Friday, as most politicians are on their way home and most of the media is enjoying a glass of wine or three to end the working week.
More uncommon is burying news that you’re probably going to run for president. That’s something you want out there on a day where you’re going to be the top story. After all, why wouldn’t you want all the attention in the world on your incipient campaign?
In the case of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, she announced that she was going to be forming an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential run — which almost always ends in an actual run — mid-morning on New Year’s Eve in the middle of a government shutdown.
And you know what? That made perfect sense, in its own little way. President Donald Trump understood that much when he was asked about her chances of winning by Pete Hegseth on Fox News.
“She did very badly in proving that she was of Indian heritage,” Trump said. “That didn’t work out too well. I think you have more than she does and maybe I do, too. And I have nothing. So, you know, we’ll see how she does. I wish her well. I hope she does well. I’d love to run against her.”
“(Warren) says she’s in the fight all the way Mr. President. Do you really think she believes she can win?” Hegseth asked.
Pete Hegseth: Elizabeth Warren “says she’s in the fight all the way Mr. President, do you really think she believes she can win?”
President Donald Trump: “Well, that I don’t know. You’d have to ask her psychiatrist.” pic.twitter.com/sOzH6JZFrk
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 31, 2018
“Well, that I don’t know,” Trump shot back. “You’d have to ask her psychiatrist.”
Brutal? Sure. Untrue? Well…
Autumn of 2018 wasn’t particularly kind to Warren. As you might remember from roughly 324 news cycles ago, she had tried to put to rest claims that her putative Native American ancestry was self-invented — with the attendant assumption that it was done to advance her career — with a DNA test, and seemed very satisfied to announce she could be as little as 1/1024th Native American.
This worked so well she ended up having to apologize to Native American groups and finally admit that she was “not a person of color.”
That didn’t seem to help significantly, at least not in the short run. Early last month, The New York Times ran a piece describing the tensions the DNA test caused, not just within Warren’s base, but inside her inner circle as well.
“Three people close to senior members of Ms. Warren’s team, who were granted anonymity to speak freely on the issue, said they were ‘shocked’ and ‘rattled’ by the senator’s decision to take the DNA test, which they described as an unequivocal misstep that could have lasting consequences, even on 2020 staffing,” the piece revealed.
“One former adviser, who also asked not to be named, called it a ‘strategic failure’ that was ‘depressing and unforgettable.’
“Jennifer Epps-Addison, co-director for the Center for Popular Democracy, a group that has previously been supportive of Ms. Warren, said, ‘If she wants to be considered the leader of our party or the leader of the progressive movement, she needs a reconciliation.’
“’And that reconciliation should center Native voices and make sure that their stories of loss and theft of identity come front and center, not, you know, one white woman’s tale of understanding her DNA,’ Ms. Epps-Addison said.”
A recent CNN poll showed that wasn’t just the left tut-tutting “one white woman’s tale of understanding her DNA.”
The poll showed that Warren had dropped from fourth to seventh in the Democrat field in just two months, going from 8 percent support to just 3 percent.
I don’t know who advised her to bury this announcement on New Year’s Eve. Perhaps it was even her psychiatrist.
Whoever it was, however, didn’t make the wrong decision. I expect an official candidacy announcement to come on the Sunday before Memorial Day, 11 p.m. Eastern, live from the community center in Barrow, Alaska. No cameras allowed, please.
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