First, this bears repeating: Elizabeth Warren was trumpeted by Obama and the political left as the absolute best person to police practices in the financial services industry. She was the ‘cop on the beat’ to ensure banks were completely transparent in their affairs and made all the proper and full disclosures to consumers. But, she can’t even keep her own bio straight.
Since the news of Warren’s claim to Native American ancestry first broke a month ago, the political world has been on a roller coaster of changing stories and dissembling explanations. Warren’s initial response was that she was completely unaware that Harvard had listed her as a “minority” law professor until she read the first news report. It would take a complete post to review every twist and turn in Warren’s story. Simply read the excellent work of Michael Patrick Leahy for the best record of the burgeoning political soap opera.
The scandal has taken a huge toll on the Warren candidacy, and her campaign is in desperate survival mode ahead of this weekend’s state Democrat convention. So, we are assured, Warren is ready to “come clean” with the absolutely true, final explanation for her actions. First up, her initial response was not true:
Even if we take her at her word, this statement raises a few questions. She claims she only told the two schools about her heritage after she was hired. But, since she was listed in a directory of minority law professors, Harvard would have presumably known about it before she had to tell them. Indeed, when she spent a year as a visiting professor, the school reported that it had a Native American law professor on its faculty. For the next two years, when she returned to the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard no longer reported that fact. So, they absolutely knew of her claims to be Native American.
It is also curious in light of the its “part of who I am” statement that Warren stopped registering herself as Native American after she won tenure at Harvard. Especially in light of the fact that at one of her first teaching jobs at the University of Texas, she registered herself as Caucasian. So, for those keeping score at home, Warren was Caucasian, before she was Native American, before she was Caucasian again.
Ok, so she has some identity issues. But, then, today we get this howler of a story:
So, the whole Native American ancestry was something of an existential touchstone for Warren. It had a pretty profound affect on her family’s life. Her parents were married in the face of racial objections from her father’s family and she intimates there was on-going tension between the families when she was growing up. This wasn’t simply “family lore” talked about, perhaps, over holidays but a real and tangible thing that presumably had an impact on how Warren was raised. In her voluminous portfolio of writing, has she ever written about this? Because it sounds like kind of a big deal. Racial animosity between your grandparents would sear into a child’s memory.
And yet, she has a hard time recalling when she did or didn’t claim Native American heritage. She “can’t deny my heritage”, but vacillates between listing herself as Caucasian or Native American. Is this remotely plausible to anyone?
The Warren campaign is in serious trouble. Every time Warren tries to address this issue, she raises still more questions. As Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) said today, it’s been “water torture” watching the scandal unfold. Warren’s recent interviews suggest the show is just getting started.