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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's on!

You can believe Deval Patrick when he says he' s not running for Senate.

Elizabeth Warren offered unmistakable signs she's interested in taking on Scott Brown. And by enlisting top operatives Doug Rubin and Kyle Sullivan she has loudly signaled Patrick means what he says about staying out.

Warren came out strong from the gate, stressing her middle class family roots, ready for the GOP attack that success can only be marked as a captain of industry or Wall Street and not as a college faculty member, least of all at Harvard. Funny how the GOP accuses Democrats of playing class warfare when they excel at the tactic.

Growing up, every decision for my family involved a careful calculation about how we could pay for it — a visit to the doctor, a tank of gas to drive to my grandparents’ house, a new pair of school shoes.

My Aunt Bert cut everyone’s hair, my Aunt Bee bought my Easter dress every year, and my brother David paid for his school clothes with money from his paper route. There were plenty of ups and downs. When my father had a heart attack, the store where he worked changed his job and cut his pay. We lost our car, and my mother went to work answering phones at Sears so we could make the mortgage payments.

My parents worked hard all their lives. My three older brothers carved out their own futures—one was career air force, one worked heavy construction, and one started his own business. I went to college on a scholarship, got married, and started teaching in an elementary school. But I never shook off the worry: did we have enough money to cover basic expenses, enough money to help our parents retire, enough money to build secure futures for our children?

Warren's Blue Mass Group debut recognizes the strength of the Democratic primary is to raise the temperature among Democratic activists who have been hashing out the odds of this race -- and the chances of its myriad faceless candidates for months.

None of the Democrats -- Setti Warren, Alan Khazei, Tom Conroy, et al. -- have the stellar name recognition. And to a large extent, neither does Warren, although her championing of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau made her a household name among national Democrats and a regular guest of Jon Stewart and Bill Maher.

One thing is clear: a Warren-Brown match-up would be a doozy of a discussion about the role of banks and the financial industry in the fall of our nation's economy. Brown has racked in big bucks from the industry at whose feet Warren is not shy about laying blame.

The first thing Warren needs to do is raise her visibility among progressive voters who don't wallow in the blogs. And in hiring Rubin and Sullivan, who helped get an obscure black corporate lawyer from Harvard who possessed a great family story elected governor twice is a good way to start.

Things may start to be fun again -- until the Super Committee enrages us all.

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