I said that I found her to be an implausible nominee because of her background as an academic at an elite eastern university (Harvard) and her total lack of experience in foreign policy and in matters of national security.
“The world is a very dangerous place,” I said. “The U.S. has enemies working night and day planning attacks on us. They want to inflict casualties in ways that would make 9/11 look mild. This is going to be a national security election. Warren has zero experience in that area, zero credibility as someone who could take on our enemies.”
I added, “She’s all but sworn an oath not to run. She has repeatedly denied any interest in running next year. How’s she going to get past those denials?”
My friend, per usual, was not impressed by my stab at punditry.
“What’s national security experience got to do with it?” he asked. “Obama had none and he got elected easily against a guy who was a war hero. That will not disqualify Warren. As for her repeatedly denying she will run, there’s a long history of people saying they wouldn’t be a candidate and then became candidates when circumstances supposedly changed or their thinking 'evolved.' There are lots ways she could explain her change of heart. She explains it once, with conviction, and moves on quicker than Belichick to Cincinnati.”
He added, “Warren’s candidacy against Hillary would get a tremendous boost from all the Dems on the left who are disenchanted with her and see her and Bill as extensions of Wall Street. Warren’s base in the party is highly motivated. They’re begging her to run. If she gives even a hint she’s thinking of doing it, they’ll go wild. Warren could catch a tremendous wave. She could lock up the nomination fairly early, giving her lots of time to raise money for the final.”
I am so suggestible that only my wife hiding the credit cards prevents me from buying every device sold for $19.95 on an infomercial. I was now captured by my friend’s logic.
I visualized the women Scott Brown loved to address as “Professor” raising her right hand on Jan. 20, 2017, at the Capitol, our first “Madame President.”
“OK,” I said. “Tell me more.”
He said, “In politics, as in life, it’s all about timing. You have a moment and you have to grab it. Obama is the best example in recent times. Less than two years in the Senate, almost a complete unknown when he started -- a blank slate really -- and he becomes this unstoppable candidate. It was his time, his moment in history. The stars were all lined up for Obama. He obviously knew his chance might never come again, so he went for it. Chris Christie is the worst example recently, but you have to think about Mario Cuomo, too. Christie had his moment back in 2011 when all the attention was on him. There was this buzz about him. He should have run because, you know what, I think he could have beat Romney for the nomination. And I think he could have run a better campaign than Romney did in the final. He would have been better at punching Obama in the nose. He would have connected better with people than Mr. Aloof, Obama. Now the excitement about Christie has faded. People aren’t really interested in him anymore. His moment has passed. I’m sure he’s kicking himself.”
I asked, “So what would you say to Elizabeth Warren if you bumped into her tomorrow at Logan?”
He said, “This is your moment. Better go for it.”
In 10th grade English, I had a nun, a Sister of St. Joseph, who loved Shakespeare. She had us memorize patches of dialogue from his most famous plays. I still remember the following from “Julius Caesar,” so I recited it to my friend, trying to sound intelligent and hoping to recover a bit from his demolition of my Warren-is-implausible argument.
“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads onto victory. Omitted, all the voyages of their life are bound in shallows and miseries.”
My friend said, “Shallows and miseries, yeah. Mario Cuomo no doubt became an expert on that. ”