(Big) Deal Or No (Big) Deal -- Warren's Clients

Scott Brown is pushing hard on Elizabeth Warren's work on behalf of Travelers Insurance and LTV Steel. She says that she was doing the work of angels; he says sez you; he also wants her to release a list of other corporations she did work for during her years at Harvard.

The political analysis on this is pretty interesting. There's potential for significant damage, because the charges go directly to the heart of her entire candidacy: her claim to be a fighter for the average consumer against the big, powerful financial interests. At the same time, that very image of hers makes it very difficult for voters to believe Brown's allegations, and makes them willing to believe her version.

But political analysis is not what (Big) Deal or No (Big) Deal is about -- this feature is for weighing in on whether voters should care about the controversy du jour.

I'm going to say it's a pretty big deal, meaning that it's something that voters would reasonably want to fully understand and evaluate for themselves in making their choice about the candidates.

They certainly deserve more than the Aw-c'mon-the-Globe-said-it's-OK shrug-off Warren gave the Travelers issue in the first debate, or the defense-through-spokesperson she's given to the LTV Steel story.

It's not that the explanations don't fly -- they seem perfectly reasonable, and I for one imagine that she took on the cases not for the money, but because she believed she could help steer the cases to what she deemed a just outcome.

But even so, it's not unreasonable for voters to wonder whether her judgment was sound -- whether she might have gotten used by the big, powerful financial interests in their pursuit of considerably less just outcomes. And if so, whether she learned from those experiences, or would continue to make them again in the future.

You can, after all, be sincere in your pursuit of justice, and yet not be very good at it. I'm not saying I think that's the case with Warren, but it's a perfectly reasonable question for voters, no?

My guess is that the campaign feels that the full explanations of Warren's involvement are too nuanced for most people, and that having her get into those explanations herself only elevates the controversy and distracts from the campaign conversations she wants to be having.

That's probably good political strategy, but not the right thing to do -- because this is, in my view, a pretty Big Deal.

But what do you think? (Big) Deal or No (Big) Deal?


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