Mass Appeal: Elizabeth Warren for Keynote Speaker

Greg Sargent reports on Elizabeth Warren’s post at Blue Mass Group calling out Scott Brown on his opposition to the Buffet Rule. Warren’s argument, and the way she makes it, demonstrates why there is no better choice to give the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte than the woman who took on and beat Wall Street to establish the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau).

Contrast with Romney. Warren, from Romney’s home state, is authentic and resolute. Romney is… well, Mitt Romney (Version 29.5), the politician who has never seen a pair of flip-flops he didn’t want to try on. Warren comes from what she aptly calls “the rugged edge of the middle class.” Romney, to borrow a phrase from the late great Gov. Ann Richards (D-TX), was born on third base but acts like he hit a triple. Warren fights for a strong middle class. Romney feeds off of the destruction of the middle class. Warren wants to end K Street’s stranglehold on Capitol Hill. Romney wants to end Medicare. (You see where I’m going with this.)

Fired up and won over. Warren can energize the Democratic base while speaking directly to understandably frustrated working middle class voters on the fence. Mobilization + persuasion.

Spotlight on women candidates.  Along with Warren, there are other great Dem women running in key Senate races, like Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin and Mazie Hirono in Hawaii. It’s crucial that they are elected. Warren giving the keynote address will help draw attention to this trend.

Populism’s time, populism’s turn. Aside from memorable speeches from two strong Texas women, Ann Richards in 1988 and Barbara Jordan 1992, recent keynote choices have favored the conservaDem Dudes Caucus: Evan Bayh in 1996, Harold Ford in 2000, Mark Warner in 2008. A healthy dose of populism is long overdue.

Stadium name shutdown. Warren giving the keynote speech at the convention will go a long way toward stopping any media carping about the president giving his nomination acceptance speech at the Bank of America Stadium. “Lead Wall Street reformer Elizabeth Warren is giving the keynote speech at the convention. Next question.”

I anticipate two counter-arguments to Warren for Keynote.

1. Karl Rove will say things about her.

Rove and company will do this no matter who gives the speech. The question comes down to who can energize Democrats and appeal to those who are undecided and disaffected. The answer to that question is Elizabeth Warren. The positives far outweigh the negatives.

The other argument, from those who want to advance someone’s national ambitions, will likely be made in private.

2. Warren is a rising star. Putting her on such a platform in prime time will cause Democrats to see her as one of the faces of the party moving forward.

This argument gets it backwards. Newsflash: Rank-and-file Democrats already see Elizabeth Warren as one of the faces of the party moving forward. She generates a tremendous amount of energy because Democrats and progressives respond to her work and her message. The energy is already there. Let’s tap into it.

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