I was a student of Elizabeth Warren at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. I didn't know that Warren had or might have Native American heritage. I'm sure that few of my fellow students knew, and that those who might have known found the information interesting at best. Whatever Warren's heritage was, it didn't define her. What defined her was that she was a spectacular professor, literally the star of our school, and a master of the arcane financial laws that have a horrific impact on low-income families.
I hope that you, dear reader, have also wondered why anyone is talking about Warren's heritage. Given that it's been clearly demonstrated that she never got a job, or a benefit, or a bonus based on whatever her heritage might have been. Given that her heritage was never an issue or a matter of discussion ever before.
Well, the answer is painfully obvious: Scott Brown's campaign manager is a student, disciple, and virtual clone of Karl Rove. His name is Jim Barnett, and according to every report on him I've read, the more comparisons we can make between him and Rove, the happier Jim Barnett is.
Rove taught Barnett how to create a scandal where none exists. How to make an issue feel important that is not important. Rove taught Barnett to do anything to get people to vote against their best interests. That is how many Republicans, includes Rove's Bush, have won office -- by using underhanded tactics to force people to vote for politicians who do them great harm.
The low-income white South Carolinian men who voted Bush into the presidency because, for example, Karl Rove convinced them that John McCain had an African-American child, and that Al Gore supposedly claimed he had invented the Internet (both entire falsehoods), were among the first to lose their jobs during the Bush-created recession.
The low-income Ohioans who voted Bush into a second term because Karl Rove's surrogates convinced them that the decorated and thrice-wounded John Kerry had trumped up his actual acts of heroism, suffered worse than anyone through the subsequent four years.
And now, Rove's protégé, Jim Burnett, is trying to convince Massachusetts voters that a non-controversy is so important that they should vote against their better interests and re-elect a man to the Senate who voted against Elena Kagan's appointment to the Supreme Court, who voted to extend to the Bush tax cuts, who voted against the Buffett Rule, who voted against freezing student loans, who voted against ending oil subsidies -- and the list goes on.
Please, Massachusetts. Don't let the Roves and Burnetts of this world mislead you; please don't vote against your best interests, and the best interests of the rest of us. I'll tell you what I believe matters about Elizabeth Warren's heritage: It has created a true public servant that Massachusetts and this nation needs more than any other candidate running for the Senate in years.
The author was legislative Assistant and counsel to Senators John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Paul Wellstone.