Too Machiavellian by half?

Elizabeth Warren
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

So Elizabeth Warren starts quoting from a 30-year-old letter attacking Jeff Sessions on the Senate floor and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell uses a Senate rule to silence her and remove her from the debate on Sessions’s nomination. It was initially unclear what provoked the outrage that greeted his move—was it that Warren was being ordered by Senate procedure not to participate, or was it that the letter was by the late Coretta Scott King? Nonetheless, outrage there was. And Warren fueled it and abetted it and stoked it, as is her right and indeed entirely in her political interest.

To which Republicans and conservatives who view Warren either with distaste or fear or contempt responded in two ways. 1) They made reference to her ridiculous claim decades ago of Native American parentage, which is the inevitable go-to when trying to dismiss her. To which I say, why not. She lied and did something for which she deserves to be remembered scornfully, not that it matters to anyone but those who have already had a good laugh at the term Fauxcahontas. 2) They said this was a canny Machiavellian move by McConnell and other Republicans to help position Warren as a key Democratic leader and give her a leg up in 2020.

Now, if the second claim is true, I would only note that recent history offers a deafening cautionary note to anyone who believes he would be wise trying to play a role in helping an ideological and partisan rival emerge victorious atop the other party’s greasy pole because the rival would be the easiest of foes to beat. It could be true that this is what McConnell and others are thinking. If so, they should stop thinking it, as it is deeply stupid. There’s no way of knowing what might…