So. Elizabeth Warren. I guess I should noodle out loud about what I think of her. This is all pretty vague and unformed, but here goes:
- First things first: she’s obviously a solid progressive who would support progressive goals like universal health care and so forth. However, we’re going to have a lot of candidates who fit that mold this year.
- I like the FDRish way she defends capitalism and just wants to save it from itself.
- I’m not so thrilled—yet—with her foreign policy. She sits on the Armed Services Committee as an obvious way to shore up her military cred, but her big speech recently on foreign policy fell flat for me. She tried to make it all about applying her progressive domestic values to foreign affairs, but that just doesn’t cut it. At some point, she’s going to have to take some firm stands on real foreign policy issues that aren’t just extensions of progressive domestic values. What does she think of China? Russia? North Korea? Israel? Yemen? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Free trade? NATO? Nuclear modernization? Ohio class submarines? Cyberwarfare? Etc.
- She gave a speech a while back about shoring up private pensions: 401(k)s, IRAs, and so forth. I liked it. Portable pensions are obviously here to stay, and it’s better to talk about how to make them better than it is to moon forever about the loss of old-school company pensions—which weren’t all that great anyway.
- I’m not sold at all on her idea of the government manufacturing generic drugs. Governments should do the kinds of things they’re good at, and this is definitely not one of them. What’s more, if you really are a capitalist at heart, you should consider direct control of manufacturing as a last resort after you’ve tried everything else. The fact that Warren is proposing it as a first-best solution does not leave me with the warm fuzzies about her judgment.
- Let’s face it: her handling of the whole Pocahontas/native heritage affair was pretty ham handed. As an issue, it doesn’t matter that much. But as an indicator of how well she handles difficult situations, it might not bode well.
- She has very little political experience. But I don’t know if that even matters anymore.
Overall, Warren still strikes me as a bit shallow, a candidate with one big issue and not too much else. But she has plenty of time to fix that.