Matt Stoller has a piece that’s really worth reading up at Naked Capitalism. In it he looks at the comparative leadership styles of Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama. What’s particular important in this piece is the elevation of Warren as an individual who not only has strong beliefs, but believes her ideas are worth fighting for and if she leads on the issues she cares about, other people will agree with her and go along with this. She pretty much out-organized the entire power structure in Washington DC during the course of the Dodd-Frank debate and the inclusion of the CFPB as part of the legislation. This despite the fact that the banks were opposed, credit card agencies and pay day lenders were opposed, in different ways Dodd, Frank, and Obama were unsupportive. But Warren out organized them and won.
Obama has constructed a Presidency around the glory of radicalism through inaction, and has dominated our politics so thoroughly it’s hard to recall any other mechanisms of governance. Still, It is important to remember what real leadership can look like, which is why Elizabeth Warren can be a pivotal figure. After all, we may need real leaders one day.
Yes, we will. And the pessimism which one feels about the performance by Obama or any other Democratic elected official shouldn’t diminish ones ability to still believe in leadership. For me, if I didn’t still believe that it was possible for individuals to take strong positions and move people to not only support them but take action to ensure they are realized, I wouldn’t be able to still work the politics and activism. Elizabeth Warren is a reminder that there are people who will lead towards good things.
Whatever Warren decides to do next, I’m sure she will continue to be a fierce advocate for what she believes in.