Elizabeth Warren: Is she really President Obama's 2016 choice?

Elizabeth Warren would make a better guardian of the Obama legacy than Hillary Clinton. So runs the argument. But the mainstream media isn't buying it. Here are a few reasons why.

Stephan Savoia/AP/File
President Obama leans in to kiss Massachusetts senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren after she introduced him during a campaign fundraiser at Symphony Hall in Boston in 2012.

So President Obama is going to back Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the 2016 Democratic nomination, not ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton? That’s what a piece in The New York Post says Monday, in any case.

Author Ed Klein claims that Obama is worried that Mrs. Clinton, if she becomes president, would “undo and undermine” many of his (Obama’s) policies. Also, there’s no love lost between Obama and Bill Clinton, according to Mr. Klein.

Obama is keeping mum on this decision for now but will reveal it in the fullness of time, when it can do the most good, which will be sometime after the midterm elections, say sources quoted in this piece.

Big, if true. But most likely not true, so smaller. OK, almost certainly untrue, so tiny, but interesting to look at and check for flaws in logic.

Look, we are not going to get into a discussion about the accuracy of Klein’s larger body of work. That’s going on just fine without us. He’s got a book out at the moment called “Blood Feud," which takes as its thesis that the Clinton and Obama families hate each other. Some reviewers have noted that it is thinly sourced and contains wooden dialogue. The mainstream media have been reluctant to take it at face value.

Moving along, we’ll start with the obvious substantive question: If Obama dislikes Clinton so much, why did her make her secretary of State? That makes it look like he, you know, trusted her judgment or something.

And would Senator Warren really defend Obama’s legacy, more so than Clinton? That’s no given. As Adam Chandler notes at The Wire, Obama has mostly governed from the center of Democratic Party ideology, which is closer to where Clinton stands than Warren.

“This idea that a Clinton presidency would ‘undo and undermine’ the president’s policies just seems silly,” Mr. Chandler writes.

Plus, if anyone would really undo Obama’s legacy, it would be a Republican. All indications are that Elizabeth Warren would be a weaker general election candidate than Clinton. Keeping the White House in the hands of the same party for a third term will be a difficult task. You’d think Obama would back the person who makes that more likely.

But we’ll set all this aside. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Obama does want Warren, not Clinton, to succeed him.

Given that the president’s approval ratings are now underwater, it would make more sense for him to endorse the person he wants to lose, right? That’s what a clever and ruthless politician might do.

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