This afternoon, Massachusetts Senator and presidential non-candidate Elizabeth Warren spoke to a crowd of 200 sweaty fans at the Strand book store in Manhattan. Everything she said was true, which is fairly remarkable, for a politician.
Wearing a teal green jacket ( Jacksonville Jaguars fan? Check this.- ed.) over a black pantsuit, Warren—who is both photogenic and teacherly at once, a favorite schoolmarm with an unlined face—read a bit from the new paperback version of her book, took audience questions, and dropped what is no doubt a condensed version of her stump speech on the appreciative crowd, many of whom took what may be the last plausible opportunity to wear their RUN WARREN RUN t-shirts. She said quite a few things that are absolutely correct.
She began with a light passage from her book about being an inept and harried young mother prone to starting kitchen fires with the unreliable toasters of the 1970s. She went on to say that decades later, there's no way that you could buy a toaster that had a one in five chance of burning your house down—but you could get a mortgage that had a one in five chance of pulling you underwater and taking your house with it. That's true.
She pointed out that after the Great Depression, America regulated Wall Street, built strong government consumer protections, and made vast investments in public infrastructure and research. This led to five decades of prosperity for the middle class. She said that we need to raise our public investments in infrastructure once again. That's true.
She warned that the financial institutions that were Too Big To Fail during the last financial crisis are significantly bigger and even more potentially dangerous to the public treasury when the next systemic economic crisis comes. "That can't be our goal as a people, to support the biggest financial institutions," she said. That's true.
After she made any particularly salient point, she'd do an awkward mom version of the Tiger Woods celebratory power uppercut, to the delight of the crowd. Elizabeth Warren is not some socialist firebrand. She talked about things like bringing down student loan interest rates, and investing in roads. Common sense things. She doesn't want a revolution. She wants a system that works for the majority of the people, instead of for a tiny minority. By the standards of the United States Senate, that makes her a god damn radical. She speaks the truth.