It has been noted and vilified, the move of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to silence Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was reading a letter written in 1986 by the late civil rights leader Coretta Scott King.
In the letter, Mrs. King, widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote that Sen. Jeff Sessions, then under consideration for a federal judgeship, had as a young man proved himself unable to move past his own racial prejudices. She wrote of him “using the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.”
So Sen. McConnell and his Republican colleagues declined to allow her to read that letter, which was previously read in the Senate 30 years ago, into the most recent debate. And they weren’t allowed to consider it … well, actually they were allowed to consider it. Four of Sen. Warren’s fellow senators, all males as it turned out, were allowed to read the letter during the debate.
If that seems odd, consider that of Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, only Sen. Sanders has run for president. There are progressives who like Sen. Brown a lot (myself included), but he hasn’t attracted a following that might boost him for the presidency.
But Sen. Warren considered a run in 2016, and became a favored candidate for 2020 just a few seconds after Hillary Clinton conceded to The Current President. I can’t see much doubt that Senate Republicans singled her out for special treatment because they also believe she will run for president in 2020. Better to start marginalizing her now than wait until later.
Such will be her world in the coming years, and supporters should be ready to join her in it. Republicans already game-planned how to run against Sen. Sanders: He’s a commie, you know, which is the same thing as a socialist, right? (Actually, it’s not; but the GOP voters don’t know that, and they probably don’t care.)
Silencing Sen. Warren’s reading of the letter was just their first salvo, and she stood up to them, which is something she will have to do every time they cheap-shot her this way. Otherwise, they’ll portray her as weak, and not “man” enough to be president.
Consider the recent election, and specifically consider BENGHAZI! Do you really think the GOP would have wasted so much time and money asking the same questions over and over and failing to find anything to pin on Hillary Clinton if she hadn’t been running for president?
They would have spent months, instead, telling us how Vice President Joe Biden wasn’t “serious” enough to be president. Or they would have used their time explaining how a Sanders presidency would deliver us to the Russian sphere of influence.
Of course, that last part appears to have happened anyway.
But you can now rest assured that the Republicans will spend a lot of time trying to tear down Sen. Warren. We need to join with her, and not allow that to happen.