Warren for Senate?

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  July 29, 2011

Charges of elitism have already started emanating from Republicans. Political analyst Joe Battenfeld wrote in the Boston Herald earlier this week about Elizabeth Warren's $1.7 million "mansard-roofed, clapboard-sided house within walking distance of Harvard University."

John Walsh, chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, argues that Warren's working-class Oklahoma upbringing, along with her track record fighting against big financial institutions, would serve her well if she runs.

Walsh also insists that any interest in Warren should be no reflection on the quality of the current candidates. "She's like a lot of our candidates," he says. "She's got a lot of upside."

Walsh has rankled a few feathers himself, by getting quoted saying that he would welcome Warren into the race. But it's easy to see why he's eager to engage reporters about the speculation, regardless of whether she runs or not — the focus on the race gives him a chance to talk about all of Brown's alleged failings that Warren, or another nominee, would try to exploit.

That attention may be the best thing to come from all the Warren hype, from the perspective of the state's Democratic insiders. The current lack of interest in the race has allowed Brown to get away with hedging on a debt-ceiling position, for example, or with declaring "symbolic" his vote last week on the harsh Republican "Cut, Cap, and Balance" bill. Democrats in the state may not be convinced that Warren is the one they've been waiting for, but they're happy to use the hype to spread word about Brown's weaknesses.

To read the Talking Politics blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. Follow David S. Bernstein on Twitter @dbernstein.

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