Hillary Clinton, freshly minted as a presidential candidate, has now committed admiration of left-wing favorite Sen. Elizabeth Warren to writing for the "Time 100" list of the most influential people worldwide. By singing Warren's praises, Clinton can hope to reassure progressives that she is on their side, even as she has yet to lay out any Warren-like policy specifics.
Clinton writes that "it was always going to take a special kind of leader to pick up Ted Kennedy's mantle as senior senator from Massachusetts—champion of working families and scourge of special interests." Warren has done so, Clinton implies, through her work overseeing Wall Street, writing, "Elizabeth Warren never lets us forget that the work of taming Wall Street's irresponsible risk taking and reforming our financial system is far from finished."
Clinton also writes that Warren "never hesitates to hold powerful people's feet to the fire: bankers, lobbyists, senior government officials, and, yes, even presidential aspirants," hinting at some of Warren's implicit and explicit criticisms of her own political actions.
The short column may be seen as a small victory for progressives who are working to try and move Clinton to a more Warren-like direction. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee's Adam Green has previously said he liked that Clinton's campaign announcement echoed much of Warren's rhetoric and that the group has launched an initiative to make sure Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination propose big Warren-like ideas.
Clinton has previously given support to Warren, saying last year, "I love watching Elizabeth give it to those who deserve it." Still, for all of Clinton's talk about CEO pay and the deck being stacked against regular Americans, her policy positions are thin. The Time magazine seeming-endorsement of what Warren stands for will likely not satiate the Left until there are more nuanced policy details.
In addition, some of the folks Warren has been "giving it to" include Clinton allies, like Larry Summers, who served as treasury secretary during her husband's administration and with whom Warren occasionally clashed, as hinted in her memoir.
Those pining for a Warren candidacy are not going gently into the night, with Ready for Warren and Act.tv launching a video Thursday with numerous Warren supporters pleading for her to run for president. Last week, liberal pundit Bill Maher flat-out tried to bribe Warren to run for president, saying he would give her $1 million if she ran.
Warren still seems wholly uninterested in running. But her influence in the race is increasingly obvious.
Eric Garcia is a staff correspondent for National Journal. He previously was a transparency reporter for MarketWatch, where he reported on financial regulation issues. His work has also appeared in the Southern Political Report, Salon, the American Prospect and the New Republic. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and covered politics for its campus paper, the Daily Tar Heel.