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Elizabeth Warren’s “potatoe” moment

Elizabeth Warren’s “potatoe” moment

Today seems to be a turning point in the Elizabeth Warren-Cherokee story.  Her shifting and implausible explanations have made her a laughing-stock, never good for any candidate.  Warren has lost the argument, and her credibility.

Her story about why she listed herself as a minority on a faculty directory — to meet other Native Americans — has become her “potatoe” moment.

Two pieces of proof today:  Her supporters have amplified the sexism-card she played into the “birther” and race cards, and a fairly level-headed political analyst not prone to partisan hyperbole calls her a liar.

Proof No. 1:  A supportive law professor from Syracuse University, who says he is Native American, comes to Warren’s defense in The NY Times by playing the “birther” and race cards, Elizabeth Warren’s Birther Moment:

This tactic is straight from the Republican cookbook of fake controversy. First, you need a rarefied elected office typically occupied by a certain breed of privileged men. Both the Presidency and the Senate fit this bill. Second, add a bit of interracial intrigue. It could be Kenyan economists eloping with Midwestern anthropologists, or white frontiersmen pairing with indigenous women. Third, throw in some suspicion about their qualifications and ambitions. Last but not least, demand documentation of ancestry and be dissatisfied upon its receipt. Voila! You have a genuine birther movement.

The Republican approach to race is to feign that it is irrelevant — until it becomes politically advantageous to bring it up. Birthers question Obama’s state of origin (and implicitly his multiracial heritage) in efforts to disqualify him from the presidency. They characterize him as “other.” For Warren, Massachusetts Republicans place doubts on her racial claims to portray her as an opportunistic academic seeking special treatment. In both birther camps, opponents look to ancestral origins as the smoking gun, and ride the ambiguity for the duration.

Ironically, by the end of the professor’s piece, he actually has made the argument as to why Warren’s conduct is relevant to her credibility as a Senate candidate:

Native faculty are familiar with “box checkers”: those students and faculty who become Native for the temporary moment of admissions or employment. As soon as the application is mailed or the interview completed, the candidate returns to life as usual. The Cherokee Princess Grandmother served her purpose, and her memory is revived at convenient times.

Proof No. 2.  Larry Sabato is not prone to partisan flame-throwing, but even he has had enough, via Joe Battenfeld in The Boston Herald (emphasis mine):

Some national political experts had much stronger words for Warren’s conflicting explanations about why she listed herself as a minority in university directories.

“This takes her biography into a bizarre dimension,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “It has derailed the effort to define Warren in a voter-friendly way.”

Sabato also said that Warren’s claim that she didn’t list herself as a minority to gain an employment advantage is not believable.

This is what happens when candidates don’t tell the truth,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious she was using (the minority listing) for career advancement.”

I’m not saying Warren will lose the election.  It is Massachusetts after all.  But she’s lost her credibility, and her seriousness as a candidate.


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Alternative head…

“Collectivists Unable To Counter Brutal Racial Attack On Warren; Reality Wins”


“Minorities and children hardest hit”

    Neo in reply to Ragspierre. | May 4, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    What’s so odd is that Republicans are saying that this isn’t a race issue .. that Elizabeth Warren took on the mantle of race for her own benefit.

    I’m a bit surprised by the Syracuse Native as I have a memory of a Japanese-American co-worker who exclaimed one day that he really hated “eggs.” I said “eggs” ? He told me that “eggs” were White on the outside but Yellow on the inside and that he hated people who wanted to be Yellow but were trapped in their White bodies.

    I would have thought that the Syracuse Native wouldn’t want everybody to be Native because then it would mean nothing.

      Ragspierre in reply to Neo. | May 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      Most Conservatives (all, in fact) I know don’t give a fig about a person’s race.

      It is a non-factor.

      But for the Collective, it is a PRIMARY consideration…the FIRST thing they use to start sorting people into victim groups.

      Conservatives see individuals, not groups, because we think that rights and potential are INDIVIDUALLY vested.

Frank Scarn | May 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

In addition to being held to account for masquerading as a blond-haired, blue-eyed, paled-skin native American Cherokee (“fake but accurate” to quote the Democrat’s fellow Democrat “journalist” (so-called) Dan Rather), Granny Warren should also be held to account for being a fraudulent “researcher” with an agenda.

Elizabeth Warren and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Utterly Misleading Bankruptcy Study

Cassandra Lite | May 4, 2012 at 11:21 am

The Syracuse law professor’s defense, such as it was, of Warren doesn’t speak well of the legal education available at Syracuse. Having read it now twice, I have no idea what point he’s trying to make, other than he doesn’t like Republicans when they tell the truth about a Democratic candidate who has apparently gamed her way into a prestigious job that usually only goes to graduates of HLS.

Wouldn’t the fact that Warren herself unchecked the minority-status box after she got the job prove conclusively that it was a scam all along? How come no one at HLS ever asked her about that before tenure was granted? Or did she uncheck after tenure?

Come to think of it, she’d make a fine U.S. Senator.

I hope that once she is put out of business, we can shift focus away from the MA Senate race. We can’t afford to allow a dingbat like Fauxcahontas int the Senate but let’s not forget that Scott Brown is not worthy our support. He holds the Tea Party in disdain.

    Ragspierre in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

    “I maintain that the heart of both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street is the same.”—Pasadena Phil

    I am STILL trying to figure out what you hold the TEA Party in, Fillie.

    Either that statement means you, too, hold the TEA Party in disdain…


    You think a lot of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

    A simple, non-attacking answer is all I’m looking for here.

    Tell us all what kind of “conservative” you are.

    Cassandra Lite in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 4, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    As of this moment, you have 5 dislikes against 2 likes for stating what is as true as Prof. Jacobson’s posts about Liz Warren.

    My friends, just because Brown’s re-election would save us from a disaster doesn’t mean he’s a savior.

      Estragon in reply to Cassandra Lite. | May 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      I must have missed where someone called Brown a “savior.” Could you please point that out?

      Instead, most believe, as did Buckley, that the intelligent course for a conservative is to vote for the most conservative candidate who has a real chance of winning.

      IOW, never allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

Wow. That Syracuse guy is so off base…

“For Warren, Massachusetts Republicans place doubts on her racial claims to portray her as an opportunistic academic seeking special treatment. In both birther camps, opponents look to ancestral origins as the smoking gun, and ride the ambiguity for the duration.”

First, it’s not ancestry that’s important. At all. It’s using an unverified and very distant claim of ancestry for ADVANCEMENT. It’s disingenuous at best and fraudulent at worst! It speaks to someone unfit for office.

Second, there’s no ambiguity to ride. It’s very clear what she did. She should apologize and say it was the folly of youth or something. And preferably drop out of the race…

And as to Scott Brown, he is the best republican we can get here in Mass, a moderate who will go conservative in most important ways (gun control, card-check, amenesty, healthcare, etc;) and disappoint in many others (including tepid support of the Tea party, as stated). The fact is, it is FAR BETTER than the alternative, so I wish him luck.

alan markus | May 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

Maybe this is an Obama Campaign “Potatoe” Moment?

‘Julia’ Becomes Vehicle for Obama’s Messaging

Obama Campaign: Women Are Helpless

Darth Chocolate | May 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

I *always* check “native American. I was born in this country, so that makes me a native.

Frank Scarn | May 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

It was Democrats, Democrats, Democrats who invited Affirmative Action and Group Identity into every crevice of society. AA/GI are inherently wrong and immoral. Past discrimination cannot be rectified by new forms of discrimination.

There is a solution however. Someone, within living memory of some of the readers of these pages, once offered good and enduring advice. “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Judge, assess, each person on his/her strengths and weaknesses, as an individual. Between the two major political parties, only the GOP encourages this approach.

Granny Warren would have been wise to follow this advice. In the end, she is learning that she is being judged by her character.

Midwest Rhino | May 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

“Native faculty are familiar with “box checkers””

Radical Muslim jihadists used “box cutters” in their attacks, but perhaps the “box checkers” are more dangerous. “Post racial” Obama and the Democrats divide everyone into categories, and reward accordingly. Check a preferred race box AND a preferred gender card, and you move ahead three spaces.

President Uniter and the Warren’s and Fluke’s of the left, have perhaps pulled two or three too many Aces out of their sleeves.

This was almost a non-issue for me. There are more substantive things to complain about in this world. But…

Frank Scarn, I’d just like to mention that it is possible to have blonde hair and blue eyes and still be an Aboriginal American (as opposed to Native for Darth Chocolate). I have blonde hair, fair skin, and blue eyes while my sister (same parents: Cherokee Dad, German/Irish Mom) has the dark hair, dark skin, and brown eyes. (By the way, Mom also had dark hair, dark brown eyes, but a middlin’ skin color. I was a big surprise to everybody.)

It isn’t easy being a mixed race sometimes. Sometimes they don’t give you the proper boxes to check! *grin* Given a choice between White, Hispanic, and Black, what’s an Aboriginal to do? My dad died when I was 3 so in my youth I checked White if I wasn’t given an Other or Native American box. I have no idea what my sister did. Sometimes, resenting the whole question, I refused to check the boxes. Even though my dad was obviously dark skinned with black hair and brown eyes, I have seen a military form where he was checked as white: there appeared to be only two options at the time: black or white. Then there is the question of whether my tribe would accept me, or given that I was primarily raised by my mother, should they accept me? If I die and become bones, what would a forensic anthropologist call me? Because I’m mixed, do I need a paper of some sort to prove it? Why should I need to prove it in a supposedly ‘post racial’ society?

Families trying to avoid government interference (think Trail of Tears) don’t always want people to know all. The government did try to make us disappear into urban settings at one time; taking land away from tribes and relocating families. Some found their way back, some didn’t.

She may or may not be Cherokee. She may or may not be able to prove it. I disapprove of racial quotas regardless. She may have been opportunistic, too, but how to prove that beyond a doubt?

what is a Kenyan economists?

maybe he meant keynesian economists and his racism showed through?

Denigrating individual dignity is no laughing matter. Exploiting an inherently discriminatory law is a contributor to progressive corruption.

If Mallaird is typical of the intellect at Syracuse Law, they should just shut it down. We have too many ill-trained lawyers out here already.

Some members say that tribes should be composed only of members with high degrees of Indian blood. Others say it should be geographically based. And some others say citizenship should be based on history and culture, regardless of blood or residence. In my personal opinion, it’s whether you have a fry bread chef-lady as a relative. (In my family, I’m that “lady.”)

Yes, “some . . . say . . . ” but the tribes DO have rules. And one might expect a law professor to at least show some deference to the rules and the process which defined them. Unless, of course, one was gullible enough to waste one’s money on Syracuse Law.

This jerk attempts to make it a Republican problem that Warren lied about her heritage to gain an employment advantage. As with most leftists, the only crime he recognizes is not having the proper leftist ideology, but having it is a defense against all other charges.

JackRussellTerrierist | May 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Lack of credibility and ethics in one of their own hasn’t mattered to Democrats in forty years, especially in the blue states.

This is a big yawn to them, “Move along folks, nothing to see here.”

What can she do now but escalate? I’ll bet madame #OccupyCherokeeNation goes transgender.

stevewhitemd | May 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I’m an academic physician. For a number of years I ran a fellowship program, in which we train young physicians for specialty practice and research. These ‘fellows’ (beyond residents) are superb, work hard, and end up (almost all of them) doing very well in life. Our fellowship is a ‘first-tier’ program in our specialty, so it is extremely competitive.

Now of course we comply and have always complied with all federal and state laws, and university statutes and directives, concerning diversity, affirmative action, etc. Because of that, as the fellowship director reviewing the 300-odd applications (for three slots), I always knew the ethnic background, race, gender, etc of each and every applicant.

I’m a conservative. I believe in judging individuals, not groups or classes. Of course I’m going to obey the law and the university as well, so of course I’m going to ensure we review most carefully qualified minorities. So part of my job was to note qualified minorities in the applicant pool and make sure they received appropriate, careful consideration, and they did.

I tell you all that to say this: of course Prof. Warren checked the ‘Native American’ box to get ahead. That is why it was there. That’s the purpose.

I have no argument with affirmative action: given our country’s history of slavery, segregation and discrimination it is right and proper to make amends as best we can. I’m sensitive to the issue of how helping someone up the ladder may end up blocking someone else, and I don’t have a good answer how to fix that. But I agree we need to help.

What incenses me most then about the good Prof. Warren: by lying (and that’s just what she did, she LIED) she took advantage of a system that was meant to help people who really were disadvantaged. She blocked some other worthy person, minority or not, so that she, blonde hair and blue eyes, could get ahead. She gamed it, and if she’d just kept her ambitions in check she would have gotten away with it.

I don’t expect anyone to call her to account publicly to answer for her misdeed. She’s done everything she can, and her supporters likewise, to deflect and avoid responsibility. They do so because inside they get it: it was wrong for her to use AA to get ahead. They can’t admit it without destroying her, and they can’t deny it without destroying AA, so they have to dissemble and hope we get tired and go away.

I’m an academic. To see another academic do this makes me very angry.

    stevewhitemd in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Correction (I type too fast!): I don’t expect anyone to call her to account publicly

    Should read, “I don’t expect anyone in the media or in academics to call her to account publicly…”

    My mistake.

    Andy in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    If there were no check boxes, you would treat everyone the same. But there are, so you don’t. This is why Clarence Thomas has the 15 cent sticker on his diploma.

    Geeze, if the same crap is going on in the medical world…

The Syracuse fellow is missing the point. Republicans (or conservatives) haven’t questioned Warren’s qualifications because she is Native American. Instead, we’ve questioned her integrity because she obviously lied about (or, at best, grossly exaggerated) her Native ethnicity in order to get herself hired for a job at Harvard Law that, with her Rutgers law degree, she probably would not have been considered for otherwise.

It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up — and in this case, it’s a very ham-fisted cover-up at that. Warren claims she wasn’t trying to get Affirmative Action points added to her application by claiming to be a Native, she just hoped to get an invitation to a luncheon with others like her — because there were bound to be many Native American law professors reviewing her Harvard teaching application, right? It’s a ludicrous lie, and everybody knows it (just like Anthony Weiner’s story about his “hacked” Twitter account, or John Edwards’ denial that he fathered his aide’s baby). And why are these devious Dims such poor liars anyway? You’d think they’d be much better at it, considering all the practice they get.

And BTW, Mr. Syracuse Professor, Obama’s (married with kids back in Africa) Kenyan dad didn’t elope with a “midwestern anthropologist.” He seduced and impregnated a teenage student living in Hawaii. (The truth is not quite as romantic as you’d like, is it?)

If there were no boxes to check and everyone was treated equal by government institutions, she would not be in this situation.

If I am ever called to task for listing myself as a transgender, black, latino, lezbian, I will come clean and say I did it to curry favor with the government and admit that I am just a white male who couldn’t cut it in a government controlled world biased towards #Julia

I do wear a hoodie from time to time and often have coffee breath, does that not count for any level of victimhood status?

[…] I run my own consulting firm, using several science degrees that I did not need affirmative action to achieve […]