In the latest Rasmussen poll, Scott Brown is tied 45-45 with Elizabeth Warren. The voters don't seem to be buying Brown's brutal attacks on Warren, nor do they seem to be buying Brown himself.
I'm not surprised. I was born in Boston, and I have been full-time staff to Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy. I've also worked for Paul Wellstone, and my favorite professor was Elizabeth Warren. So I've been watching Scott Brown's aggressive campaign to discredit Elizabeth Warren with fascination.
Now, I get that Scott Brown is a former male model, and is loaded with charm. I also believe that he's a smart guy. But despite his active attempts to portray himself as a nice man, I have to say, I don't agree.
Attacking Elizabeth Warren for discussing her Native American heritage the very moment he is voting to freeze the ridiculously high loan interest rates of Massachusetts college students isn't nice.
Voting with the extreme right-wing Republican agenda over 75% of the time is not nice.
Voting to kill a massive middle class tax cut extension, while supporting the extension of the Bush tax cuts for millionaires, is not nice.
Voting for Mitt Romney's individual mandate in Massachusetts, then attacking Obama for extending that plan to the rest of the nation, is not nice.
Opposing an offshore wind farms that would greatly reduce Massachusetts' dependence on foreign oil is not nice.
Opposing an end to the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits gays from marrying, is not nice.
Actively supporting most of the NRA's extreme positions on gun rights, while supporting the ultimate in cruel and unusual punishment (the death penalty -- a policy soundly rejected by the State of Massachusetts), is not nice.
Plagiarizing Elizabeth Dole's "lessons I learned from childhood," on his own website instead of coming up with his own, is not just embarrassing -- it's not nice.
Signing Grover Norquist's infamous no-new-taxes-under-any-circumstances pledge, regardless of the harm that pledge has caused this economy and will cause to future economies, is not nice.
Trying to keep Boston's own Elena Kagan off the Supreme Court by claiming she lacked experience, is not nice.
And ruthlessly attacking Elizabeth Warren, who is perhaps the nation's greatest and most tireless consumer advocate, is not nice.
Elizabeth Warren was the professor who taught bankruptcy to me. Before I took her class, I wondered -- why on earth would a professor choose, as her main area of expertise, an issue as depressing and limited (and potentially profitless) as bankruptcy? It certain didn't seem to be a sexy issue. Not a lot of money representing the indigent.
But then I took her class. And saw how much she cared about low-income families. How much she cared to look into the policies that made people lose their jobs, or homes, or retirement incomes. How carefully and objectively she explored the frustratingly obscure rules that mostly only those facing the greatest challenges suffer through. How much of an advocate she was for single mothers, students saddled with incredible debt, and even -- yes -- wealthy individuals and corporations needing to restructure themselves in order to still be of service to their employees, stockholders, and communities.
I learned when I was 23 years old that when the chips are down, you want Elizabeth Warren in your corner. And as her career progressed, and she started coming to Washington to testify, and actually brought the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into existence, I realized what I hope the state of Massachusetts is starting to realize:
The earlier you have Elizabeth Warren in your corner, the better.
Oh. And spending your entire career being an advocate for those who need you most, and creating policies so that that people never reach that level of need in the first place? There's a word for that.
Elizabeth Warren is nice.
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