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It was Elizabeth Warren’s intent and attempt that matter

It was Elizabeth Warren’s intent and attempt that matter

There is an active effort by Elizabeth Warren’s campaign to distract from the real issue regarding Warren’s claim of Native American status during the mid-80s to mid-90s, when she was moving from one law school to another up the food chain until she reached Harvard Law School in 1994, at which point she stopped self-identifying as Native American.

The Warren campaign has sought to make the issue whether Warren received preference based on her status, something they deny.  Several people involved in her hiring at various law schools vouch that her Native American status played no role.  As reported by The New York Times:

On Monday night, officials involved in her hiring at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas and the University of Houston Law Center all said that she was hired because she was an outstanding teacher, and that her lineage was either not discussed or not a factor.

Fine.  It played no role, or if it did, it never will be proven.  But that’s not the issue.

Given that until two days ago Warren relied soley on family “lore” for the claim, and even now all there is is a possibility of a great-great-great grandmother who was Cherokee, the issue is why Warren claimed the status at all.

What did she hope to gain?  Prof. David Bernstein, quoted in The Boston Herald, explains:

“In the old days before the Internet, you’d pull out the AALS directory and look up people. There are schools that if they were looking for a minority faculty member, would go to that list and might say, ‘I didn’t know Elizabeth Warren was a minority,’ ” said George Mason University Law professor David Bernstein, a former chairman of the American Association of Law Schools.

“Nowadays, if you hear about a candidate who might be available, you just do a Google search and find a resume online,” Bernstein added….

“That appendix strikes me as obviously allowing people to announce themselves as being members of minority groups in case people are looking for such members for whatever reason,” Bernstein said.

Why would Elizabeth Warren, who never suffered an ounce of discrimination on the basis of her alleged Native American status, whose parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents also suffered no such discrimination, feel justified in claiming such status, which she must have known would accrue to her benefit even if such benefit were not provable?

Something doesn’t add up here.

Update:  I think Joel Achenbach at WaPo finds the issue and uses the same term (game the system) I used last night:

It so happens we’ve discussed this a lot in my household in recent years, as my girls have applied for college. They have, according to family lore, Native American ancestry. This goes back to the 1800s, when my mother’s forebears were pioneers on the frontier in the upper midwest. Supposedly we have Potawatami kin. But it’s sketchy. We’ve never documented it….

Could my kids have tried to list themselves off as Native American? Maybe, but it would’ve been wrong, a gaming of the system in hopes of getting a marginal advantage they didn’t need to begin with (they got into great schools — one is at Oberlin, another at Michigan — the upper midwest!). They’re white, and belong to a sprawling tribe of affluent kids in Northwest Washington and have had every advantage in the world except perhaps being forced to wait for the bus when Dad won’t give them a ride somewhere.


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the issue is integrity.

she claimed a status she had no certainty or right to.

it’s like people who falsely get handicapped tags for their cars.

    Anchovy in reply to drozz. | May 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Like integrity is some kind of requirement for a Democrat Senator?

    _Ted Kennedy’s Ghost

Ragspierre | May 2, 2012 at 9:58 am


PAAA–Leeeeeese. Warren LIED.

She did it for a REASON.

There is a gradient…an advantage…to being a VICTIM CLASS member.

E-FLUCKING-SPECIALLY in law schools.

I don’t think the “why” of very complicated. The reason Warren did this boils down to the fact that she’s a shameless, gold-digging phony. She spent enough time in academia to know that minority status (especially being black or Native American) made you “special” in the eyes of university faculty and administrators, and she was cynical enough to calculate that having even a bit of Cherokee DNA somewhere in her bloodline would mean she’d never get busted for outright fraud. (She certainly would have recognized that the pencil-neck elites at places like Harvard don’t exactly spend their free time policing the credentials of their fellow denizens within the Ivory Tower.)

radiofreeca | May 2, 2012 at 10:34 am

I feel sorry for NAs – they now have to someone like Warren claiming to be one of them – it’s like how Austrians must feel every time someone brings up that Hitler was Austrian, not German.

Frank Scarn | May 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

Behavior reveals character.

It really doesn’t matter as long as it is legal. Sure it shows Warren to be a dishonest liberal (I repeat myself sorry), but was/is it against the law to do so?

If it isn’t against the law, I say we all just start marking minority status on every document we get. As a person of English and Mexican decent, I’ve always marked down Caucasian on all my forms….now I think I’ll put a check mark on at least 4 boxes. If you can claim 1/54th…I’m sure that means everyone can claim something right? Make a mockery of the system…

VetHusbandFather | May 2, 2012 at 11:03 am

Two important things to take away from this in my opinion.

1) Warren is a dishonest person who tried to take advantage of the system. If liberals had even an ounce of respect for their party they’d want a new candidate after this. Instead they’ll brush it aside and give her a pass.

2) This is just another example of why we race shouldn’t even be a question. Race in the United States is becoming a very muddled thing. Let’s get over it and stop counting at all.

Midwest Rhino | May 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

Beyond the minority hiring preference Warren may have casually sought, there is also a social preference, and a level of immunity from attack on Native American issues (since she is one … step back, Billy Jack :)). Warren was no longer just another socialite … not just a woman activist … she also wore a Native American merit badge.

“Say it loud I’m red I’m proud”. Good for you Lizzy .. how brave for you “endure” your victim status in the halls of academia … at least till you reached a level where people might question it.

stevewhitemd | May 2, 2012 at 11:22 am

Here’s what I don’t get: did she think this wouldn’t come up in her Senate campaign?

She very likely remembered using her ‘minority’ status as 1/xxx Native American back almost thirty years ago when it was useful for her to do so in academic law. She very likely remembered that she was listed in the AALS books as a minority, that she was described by Harvard as a minority, and that she had been billed elsewhere as a minority.

Did she think that the Brown campaign would NOT know this?

Or did she think that in politics, as in academia, she could skate by? That friends would make this go away as they did at Harvard?

For that matter, she’s been involved in Washington politics for quite a while. She’s been testifying, advising, and working with Democrats. She was discussed to chair the new Consumer Finance Protection Agency (or whatever). Obama wanted to appoint her and was dissuaded only by Pub opposition.

Did the Obama team know about this? Did they look? Did they not say to her, “Elizabeth, this might be a problem for you, you’d better address it before you run for the Senate”?

Or did she, and they, and the other Democrats think that they could get by with this, and that their friends and colleagues in the MSM would let them get by?

I know, I know, it’s a rhetorical question.

John Kerry demonstrated to Democrats in 2004 that if you have a skeleton in your closet, it WILL come out. Other politicians in both parties since have also discovered, to their shame, that past assertions and claims CAN be found, even the ones they thought were safely buried. The internet is amazing, sure enough, and there are plenty of people on both sides of the divide will to do the opposition research for free. Obama is the only one who has managed to deflect the various questions about his past, and Ms. Warren should have understood that he was the exception, not the rule.

So how is it that Ms. Warren thought this wouldn’t become an issue in her Senate campaign?

    Ragspierre in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 2, 2012 at 11:46 am

    The overweening arrogance of the Collectivist mind-set, doc.

    You see it over and over, and pretty much every day.

    Look at her reaction when caught up in her lie…she goes to “woman victim-class” as a back-up.

    The Onion cannot make this crap up (there is a law by someone about this, but I forget the name…being cursed that way).

      persecutor in reply to Ragspierre. | May 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      Rags, so long as her intentions are “honorable”, the Alinsky rules allow her to lie about many things.

      She never suffered discrimination over her “heritage”, but she read Wounded Knee and that’s all she needs to be able to “feel for her people.”

        Ragspierre in reply to persecutor. | May 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm

        Wul, kuhl…

        Then I’m Tahitian (I read “Hawaii”), a Jewish female (“The Diary of Anne Frank”), and an extra-terrestrial (“Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Universe”).


    tazz in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I think she did think she could get away with it. The media covers up for democrats everywhere.
    – When a democrat gets arrested, the media if it mentions it at all, leaves out their political identity.
    – The media covered up an affair they knew about for a vice presidential candidate who was a democrat: Edwards
    – The media refuses to print anything negative about Obama
    – The media is still covering up what they know about Obama’s past. And attacks anyone looking into his past.
    …and so and so on …if you are a democrat.
    She know the media would cover it up.

    What she didn’t count on, and it is the same thing tripping up democrats all over the country, is the NEW media is filming them, researching them, and exposing them.

It’s neither intent nor attempt that matter. It is that “affirmative action”, class preference, and other policies which denigrate individual dignity resurrect a bad precedent. It is a selective rule of law which promotes corruption. That Warren would exploit this corruption is not surprising. The same is done in other societies where discrimination is legal and people seek leverage to advance their personal welfare. Most people will constrain their efforts to legalistic and associative maneuvering — “soft” revolutions.

    stevewhitemd in reply to n.n. | May 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Well, intent does matter in that she knowingly went forward with (what appears to me to be) a scam. Those listings in the AALS Directory didn’t appear by magic. Harvard very likely did not know of her Cherokee background just by looking at her — someone had to tell them.

    Intent does matter — Prof. Warren fully intended to take advantage of the system. That’s precisely the point.

    The larger point also matters. We have created over the past two generations a system that allows this. We allowed a good and decent idea, that of redressing the terrible past wrongs of slavery, segregation and discrimination against minorities, to morph into the affirmative action program of today, a program that is used by elites, apparatchiks, glad-handers and beak-wetters to take care of themselves and theirs.

    Ms. Warren was indoctrinated into this system. More than just indoctrinated, really: she bought into it and came to see herself as ‘entitled’. It allowed her to get ahead, and the thought that by doing so she prevented another good, qualified person (a minority) from getting that position at Harvard never occurred to her. She was an elite; she was entitled; she took it.

    She fully intended to do it. Intent does matter.

      MaDr in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      “Intent does matter.”

      Whether this was attempted robbery or robbery, like in the criminal justice system, the penalty should be roughly the same.

      Milhouse in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      No, the idea was not “good and decent”.

      persecutor in reply to stevewhitemd. | May 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      For Harvard, she was a two bagger–a woman and a minority! Now if she were a dwarf lesbian single mother raising her children as vegans, she’d be an inside the park home run!

        Ragspierre in reply to persecutor. | May 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm

        “For Harvard, she was a two bagger…”

        Boy, I’m REALLY glad you clarified that.

        You were headed for a deep, dark ditch…

Having all of the advantages of being a pedigreed WASP wasn’t enough. She had to lie to steal an opportunity that was specifically set aside for a Native American. Reverse affirmative action sailing under false colors.

I wonder if the WS Occupiers are now checking their backgrounds so as determine minority victim status.

If they do there’s probably going to be a line at Henry Louis Gates’ door. Somebody should tell him.

LukeHandCool | May 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I think she was just taking that family “lore” and adding a little splash of the literary technique of “compression” in the news today which Obama used in “Dreams From my Father.”

S’funny, but when I got my last and present job, I was 39 years old. The recruiter/hirer told me that I was a member of a minority, i.e., older white male. Who knew?

Y’think they make these up as they go along?