Sunday, October 21, 2012

Elizabeth Warren Rally – She's Fired Up and Ready to Go!

by Blueberry T

Imagine my surprise, a few days ago, to have a phone message from the mayor of Beverly, MA,  inviting me to a rally for Elizabeth Warren that he would be hosting.  Now, there is a backstory here that I won’t go into, but suffice it to say that I have known the mayor for a long time, and we haven’t always agreed on everything (OK, anything).  Although he introduced himself today as an independent, IMO he has often been more closely identified with Republican politics.  So, I was intrigued that he was hosting the event, and very happy to learn that he had endorsed Elizabeth Warren a few months ago.  (Kudos to him; I missed that!)

The rally was mobbed.  Standing room only.  I was very lucky to get a decent seat.  The atmosphere was very high energy; people were “fired up and ready to go.”  There was a band playing for what seemed a very long time before the rally finally got underway with blessedly short but effective speeches by the local state representative, the mayor and his counterpart from Newton, MA, Setti Warren, who kiddingly introduced himself as Elizabeth’s “cousin.”  (He is a former staffer/adviser to both Bill Clinton and John Kerry, and initially announced a run for Scott Brown’s Senate seat too, but dropped his bid last fall.)  Veterans played a prominent part in the event as a whole, as a group was on stage during all the speeches and service members/veterans’ issues were a key focus.    

John Tierney, the 8-term progressive Congressman from the Massachusetts 6th District, is the top House target of the GOP in the entire country.  He is running against a nationally-funded Tea Party favorite, Richard Tisei, who has strong name recognition because he ran for Lieutenant Governor two years ago.  Tierney is in big trouble, not because of his own record, but because his wife is embroiled in a family scandal.  He briefly alluded to the nationally-funded multi-million dollar smear campaign against him, but his spirited speech focused on how important this election is on issues that are so important to veterans, women, workers, and students.  Overall, he was upbeat, in keeping with the mood of the crowd.  (More credit to Mayor Scanlon, who also endorsed Tierney; could I have misjudged him?  Or, maybe he's changed...)  

The next speaker was former Senator Max Cleland of GeorgiaCleland is an American hero who lost both legs and one arm in a grenade blast in Vietnam.  He went on to serve as head of the Veterans Administration and Georgia Secretary of State prior to his election to the Senate in 1996.  In 2002, he was the target of one of the lowest and nastiest smear campaigns in history, questioning his patriotism (a prelude to what the Republicans did to John Kerry in 2004 and what they are trying to do to Tammy Duckworth today).  Sadly, the "swift-boating" smears succeeded in turning around a campaign that Cleland had been leading, and Georgia elected that paradigm of patriotism, Saxby Chambliss.  (It still pains me to type that, ten years later, because it was such a travesty.)  To his credit, Cleland has not let this bring him down to their level.  He gave a rousing speech about the importance of the election and introduced Elizabeth.

She was really fired up and ready to go!  She stressed that it is a really tight and important race, and that Scott Brown is promising his donors that reelecting him could help Republicans win a majority in the Senate.  She also reminded us that Brown is a favorite of Wall Street and could help weaken key laws like Dodd-Frank Act, which Mitt Romney has promised to repeal.  This law includes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that she set up.  She referred to CFPB as the little agency that could – it is only one year old but has already made a big difference in protecting Americans from financial scams and abuses, returning $50 billion to consumers in the first year.  She gave a lot of credit to Holly Petraeus for working with her to ensure that the Dodd-Frank Act would specifically protect service members and veterans, who are particularly vulnerable to credit scams.  Then she focused on Scott Brown’s record, listing his votes against bills that would have created jobs, rebuilt infrastructure and employed veterans.  She also listed three key votes against women’s interests:  equal pay; contraception coverage/the Blunt Amendment; and confirmation of Elena Kagan, a pro-choice, highly qualified woman, to the Supreme Court. 

She had a great line when telling about how she is weathering Brown’s nasty personal attacks, along the lines of: “After growing up in a house with three older brothers, I’m pretty tough and nothing like that is going to push me around.” 

Short and sweet!

UPDATE:  Our reader Older_Wiser pointed out this Daily Kos article about how Scott Brown's negative campaign is coming back to haunt him, and deservedly so.  And here is my earlier post on how Scott Brown is destroying his own "Mr. Nice Guy" brand and this post on Warren and Brown fundraisers this past spring.  

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