The Washington Post’s Robert Costa has a great report from Iowa that undercuts its own headline: “Democrats suffering from Clinton fatigue say they’re ready for Warren.” Costa talks with 13 Democrats gathered at the Ames Public Library in support of Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts who has not expressed interest in running for president.
The story begins with some grousing about the dynastic aspect of Hillary Clinton running for president (“I’m utterly tired, tired of the Clintons”), but then it swerves into a poignant look at disenchantment with President Barack Obama. One 74-year-old recalls attending Obama rallies in 2008 and, “raising his arms in exasperation,” asks, “What happened?”
A 57-year-old botanist has the answer: “Should have done single-payer health care, should have done socialized medicine, should have taken on the banks.”
Should have “done” socialized medicine. The Clinton campaign must be praying that this naïvete is typical of the draft-Warren movement. If the typical supporter of another potential challenger from the left, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, also believes that Obama could have gotten something closer to single-payer health care through Congress, Clinton can rest easy about swatting away opposition in Iowa and New Hampshire. She may even plead for Vice President Joe Biden to run so she’ll get some halfway-challenging debate practice.
There is a defensible argument that Obama—a keen thinker, skilled orator, and someone with the inclination to work with members of the opposite party to build a consensus—would have better served the country by staying in the Senate for a couple of decades, building popular support for such ideas as universal health care and free community colleges, instead of further polarizing the country as president. But by the same reasoning, Warren and Sanders should stay put in the Senate.