Opinion Brief

Elizabeth Warren takes credit for Occupy Wall Street: Smart move?

Vying to defeat Sen. Scott Brown, the liberal hero says she's not just an OWS supporter, but one of its intellectual founders. Republicans pounce

While many Democratic politicians, and even a few Republicans, have tepidly embraced Occupy Wall Street, progressive icon Elizabeth Warren has gone further, taking some credit for inspiring the protest movement. "I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do," Warren, who's running to challenge Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) next year, tells Newsweek's Samuel Jacobs. And "Warren's boast isn't bluster," Jacobs notes, citing her decades of academic research on consumer debt and bankruptcy, along with the Wall Street–battling work she did setting up President Obama's consumer protection bureau. But is aligning herself with Occupy Wall Street really a winning electoral strategy for Warren?

Warren's claim will alienate voters: Warren is "probably right" in claiming that she laid the groundwork for Occupy Wall Street, says Tina Korbe in Hot Air. But that's hardly something to brag about. "Republicans have already begun to point out that, by tying herself to the Occupy Wall Street protests, Warren risks backlash from ordinary voters who decry the impolite manners and more extreme tactics of the protesters." As the Occupiers veer deeper into rowdy class warfare, those risks only grow."Elizabeth Warren: I provided the intellectual foundation for Occupy Wall Street"

This is a winning argument for Warren: Republicans plan to bring Warren down by painting her as one of the "99 percent," says David Dayen at Firedoglake. Well, "good luck with that!" Most Americans are fed up after 30 years of being "brutalized" by predatory banks, and Warren really was a pioneer in seeing that and explaining what went wrong. I doubt the GOP's normal "loony left"–blue collar "culture war game" will work this time, especially "in, er, Massachusetts.""Republicans attack Elizabeth Warren for favoring Occupy Wall Street..."

Smart or not, this battle has just begun: "Wow, this is going to be good," says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post. The early tussling over OWS in the country's highest-profile Senate race is just a preview of what's to come. "National Republicans are placing their bet" that cultural populism will beat Warren's economic populism among key working-class and independent voters — and Warren is "making the opposite bet." Who's right? Time will tell."It’s on: Republicans slam Elizabeth Warren for embracing Occupy Wall Street"

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