Keller @ Large: Does Free Ride Help Or Hurt Elizabeth Warren?

BOSTON (CBS) – Have you ever watched or listened to the political pundits analyzing the news of the day like dogs with a bone and said to yourself:

‘Hey, that doesn’t look so hard. I bet I could do it just as well as them.’

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Well, here’s your chance to have at it.

Alan Khazei, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010 who sought the nomination again this time around, has dropped out of the race.

He was yet another casualty of the well-funded machine that is the Elizabeth Warren campaign, following Newton Mayor Setti Warren to the sidelines, and leaving only a handful of relatively obscure, underfunded candidates still in the hunt.

They are competing for the right to challenge well-funded incumbent Republican Scott Brown next year.

And here’s the question you, the pundit, have to weigh in on — does it hurt or help Warren that she now seems headed for only token competition in the Democratic primary, and can therefore focus almost all her time, energy and money on beating Brown?

On the one hand, history suggests that candidates, especially first-time candidates, benefit from the experience of winning a contested primary.

Would Barack Obama have been as accomplished a general election candidate in 2008 if he hadn’t survived his battle with Hillary Clinton and the rest?

How about Deval Patrick in 2006?

Like him or not, can it be denied that Mitt Romney is a better candidate now for his experience losing in 2008 and competing with a crowded field this time around?

On the other hand, Warren looks pretty sharp right out of the box.

No real primary means less risk of taking positions that might hurt her in the showdown with Brown, a la Martha Coakley in 2010.

Warren can essentially spend the next year raising tons of dough, watching her allies tear Brown apart, and preparing for the debates, while Brown has to actually try to show he can legislate.

OK, fellow pundits, go to it.

Is the free ride good news for Elizabeth Warren, or bad news?

The best spin below (in the comments section) gets a shout out.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

More from Jon Keller
  • roudydowdy

    I think it would usually be a wash for the reasons that you mentioned but in this contest I think it helps Professor Warren. She will still have to define her positions but there will be more contrast between her positions on issues and those of Senator Brown than there would be among her fellow Democrats. Sure, Brown’s campaign can focus on the opponent sooner but given the mood of our electorate here in Massachusetts and around the country and world It will be tough for the Republican to prove that he is on the side of the working class especially if he casts votes in the senate blocking jobs initiatives and protecting rich and mega-rich from tax increases. I think we’ll see what all these politicians and candidates are made of when the super committee comes up with their plan for more cuts in spending and more importantly revenue increases.

  • gramps

    If ‘Elizabeth Warren’ continues to do the best she can & continue’s to spout & follow her true beliefs…Scott Brown’s next re-election will be ‘2018’ unless he’s half way through his 1st term as President.


    She has yet to & is afraid to give a ‘sit down’ interview with any local media….

    • Jon Keller

      gramps…correction: Prof. Warren will be my in-studio guest on Sunday morning, Nov. 13 @ 8:30am on the WBZ Sunday news.

      • gramps

        Morning Jon,

        I must have missed that, unless today was the 1st time your interview with her was announced…


  • foamy

    You know Jon, it’s funny that you mentioned Barack Obama and Deval Patrick in reference to what’s going on with Elizabeth Warren. She is exactly what they were – people with zero experience that might qualify them for the job they are seeking, but smooth talkers who can get people to believe the nonsense they are spouting because those people, the voters, are disenfranchised by the status quo in government. She’s learning the game quickly though – having accepted a campaign donation from a lobbyist who lobbies on behalf of General Electric days after bashing GE for not paying any federal taxes.

  • jaygee

    I look at this race as one in which the Democratic candidate did not choose to run but was simply handpicked by those on high to run against Brown. I voted for Coakley in the last election but understood very early that she just wasn’t up to it and gave the election away. Ms. Warren is intelligent and probably quite capable to be a Senator but I doubt that I would vote for her since I don’t like the way she was chosen. It’s been a long time since I voted Repub. but I am more confident with him than her.

  • tsal

    It appears to me that having Khazei step out of the race will not deter him from challenging Warren. He has already issued a statement that, “If she is true to her words, she’ll join me in rejecting contributions from every single Political Action Committee and corporate lobbyist.”
    Warren will now be the sole focus of the GOP machine in its attempt to squelch the voice that scares them the most – one in favor of the people and not in favor of Washington politics and personal gain. She may not get it all right – few of us do; but in my opinion. she has far more right than the typical politician. I feel the close scrutiny will, in the long run, do her more harm simply because conservative voters seem to be hungry to find fault with anyone with a “D” beside his or her name regardless of what their stances on the issues are.

  • FireGuyFrank

    With little or no competition, Elizabeth Warren will find herself facing the same issue Ted Kennedy faced challenging then President Jimmy Carter. Recall Carter was weakened by bad economics and the Iran Hostage Crisis. Kennedy seemed to be running in an effort to keep a Democrat in the White House.

    Finally, when it was too late to salvage the nomination, Kennedy made perhaps his best speech ever at Georgetown University explaining why he had to be president.

    Had there been others in the field, perhaps Kennedy could have found that voice earlier.

    Warren will have to put forth a very good reason why she is running against Scott Brown. His record is not “typical” of a Republican. He is, afterall, from Massachusetts. If Warren is viewed as running just to put a Democrat in the seat, Brown wins again.

  • tsal

    Frank good comments and I like a good portion of what Brown stands for and admire his ability to cross the aisle but am not convinced it is on any big issues which may make it more for show. He has signed the petition not to raise taxes which I believe puts him in bed with the GOP and doesn’t allow him to think outside the box and has supported cuts to the average person while also supporting tax credits and loopholes for the wealthy. In my mind that is the defining factor. How Warren fares remains to be see and as Brown is a relative newcomer – although we know a bit more about him – I’d say the same thing about him.

  • Mark

    This is all being orchestrated from the very top so that they can concentrate their efforts & money against Scott Brown instead of against each other.

  • Myrna Tichenor

    ‘Hey, that doesn’t look so hard. I bet I could do it just as well as them.’

    Jon, oh, Jon! Would you say “I bet I could do it just as well as THEM can do it?”

    • Jon Keller

      Absolutely right Myrna, my apologies and thanks for the correction!

  • Elizabeth Warren Clarifies ‘Occupy’ Protest Remarks « CBS Boston

    […] Keller @ Large: Does Free Ride Help Or Hurt Elizabeth Warren? […]

  • massman

    I don’t think this helps Ms. Warren. She was going to win anyways, but watching Ms. Warren debate, and additional exposure, is only going to help her. With that being said, I don’t really think it will be that big a deal because who is really watching now anyways? It is the issues, and who Senator Brown and Ms. Warren represent, which will determine our next Senator. I’m personally looking forward to their debates. It would really be interesting to hear a valid reason related to the issues, as to why you’d throw support to either candidate.

    • tsal

      Hi Massman – What surprises me are the comments that this was orchestrated. Certainly Browns campaign was so I find the comment odd but suspect I know where it is coming from.. I’m not as sure that those in Washington on the left are as fond of Warren as everyone believes. She’s spoken openly about what the problems are on all sides. She recognizes the economic disparity where Brown clearly does not. She is not a career politician. That is something the people have called for in many instances. It will become necessary for the GOP to tie her to Washington.politics and it seems the voters may be buying it. She will also have to be more careful not to get caught up in politics as usual and stick close to her ideals. Not an easy task for anyone in the public eye.

  • mikey

    Warren, the Washington, D.C. “anointed one” going to the head of the class without being legitimately contested hurts Warren I believe. It reeks of elitism and I expect that it will be a turnoff for a large segment of the electorate.

    • tsal

      or Setti and Alan realized she represents exactly what they represent and feel she might be better positioned to get the job done. I always had the sense Setti didn’t want to run as much as he felt he should run. And yes, I understand I might get criticized by some on for saying that but it was always the sense I had with him. He would have had my vote.

    • Nab71

      Isn’t it amazing that the same party that complained about national money supporting Scott Brown in his election has now decided to pull out all stops to impose Elizabeth Warren as a candidate. The Do as I say party.

      The Democrats don’t realize that many Baystaters find it refreshing to have another voice rather than 12 officials in Washington repeating the same mantra.
      Brown represents all of his constituents much more than any Democrat does. He has to in a Democratic state. To do that he will anger Democrats sometimes, Republicans some times and independents sometimes. I’d rather that than someone who is simply following orders.

      I think this will backfire on the Democrats

      • tsal

        Hi Nab – as I’ve said I like Scott Brown But you might want to think twice about Brown not following orders. Both parties have their agendas and when one member of the party tries to move from that agenda, they get slapped and put back in place. Brown claims to be middle of the road and can be in some instances but on the big issues he is not – he lets his party dictate We are seeing it regularly with the GOP presidential candidates. I think it’s a bit of party blindness – and we all have it – if we think that things run differently on either side.

  • Marilyn

    This is off-topic, but I am personally offended by your choice of picture of Elizabeth Warren to headline this article. This is the second time I’ve seen this pic on your website. Surely you can find something more balanced and actually representative of Ms Warren in your photo archives!

    • mikey

      A picture’s worth a thousand words.

    • gramps

      “Liz’ is 62 years old & with ’62’, you get ‘wrinkles’!


    • tsal

      Marilyn the pictures of Brown are not any better – I wonder if BZ has access legally to only so many pictures. Either way not sure what a person looks like matters.

    • Jon Keller

      Marilyn…what exactly is your objection to this picture?

      • Stanley11

        Jon, I am offended that you started your story with the word “Have”. For you to come right out with a 4-letter word is just shameful…..LOL

  • BostonIrish

    I vote Scott Brown. Why another democrat? Keep it middle of the road in office.

  • emom

    None are qualifies, WE ARE DOOMED either way. But what I find discouraging, is that only those that are WEALTHY will run for any office of government, It seems any that have far less funds end up out of the race , WHY is that, are they there merely to campaign for one of the others, we have seen that too, Either way, is it only the rich that can (which that is unbelievable ) or are willing, none are experienced, so why cant we get someone that has experience.
    Is there no graduate from some business school that can handle the books for this country,,, IS THERE.. Don’t trust any of the candidates

  • falcon8211

    I think everyone is missing the whole point of this whole charade. If you take a look at all of Prof. Warren’s gaffes since announcing, it seems as if they’re setting her up to fail. Meanwhile, Gov. Patrick continues to spin the state employment and economic picture to make himself look good. I’m predicting he’ll announce his candidacy for the US Senate by the end of the year. And remember this, he has more campaign money than anyone else from either party combined.

    • gramps

      You’re only half right….Patrick is shooting much higher than the Senate.

      Deval is like a farmer sewing seeds….He’s been either ‘for’ or ‘against’ any law, program, idea or opinion that will enhance or can’t be used against him in his quest to be called ‘Mr. President’!…..By 2016 the country’s demographic pendulum will be swinging to his liking. In the mean time he’ll do nothing to alienate ‘ANY’ ethnic or downtrooden group.

      He’s ‘good buddies’ with Obama, yet refused to take a position in DC…WHY?

      Cause he didn’t & doesn’t want to be associated with any miss steps of Obama’s administration…..Could possibly be used against him in his 2016 campaign.

      So until then, he’ll sit back & take notes on Obama’ mishaps & compile a ‘Do’s & Dont’s’ list……Push for ‘Free or reduced Tuition’ for illegal’s…..No ‘ID’s at the voting booth…..Look the other way when ‘EBT cards are used for ‘vacations to Vegas & Hawaii’….&….Be against programs like ‘Secure Communities’ & protect those ‘ID’less voters for his 2016 run…


      • falcon8211

        And in order to shoot higher he’s taking the same route as Obama. Don’t forget, Obama was only in his first term in the Senate when he ran for President. That means millions more in campaign $$. So depending on the scenario, I guess we’re both half right.

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