Warren supporters cannot be conservatives or libertarians. To the extent they can technically label themselves Republicans, I would heartily encourage them to get the heck out of the party and stop giving us a bad name.
I had Warren as a Contracts professor 1L year. Her constant in-your-face challenges on doctrine and case-law certainly led to her students reading the cases carefully, and to that extent she was an effective teacher. That is as far as any legitimate conservative or libertarian can seriously claim to support her.
Never mind Warren’s patronizing and anti-free market Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can also put aside her somewhat absurd claim to have “created the intellectual foundation” for the leftist Occupy Wall Street movement. Simply observe that Warren’s campaign platform consists of quotidian Democratic talking points bereft of intellectual rigor or boldness. Look upon the list and find not a glimmer of hope for advocates of limited government.
Among Warren’s stale ideas, one finds increased federal spending on local and state infrastructure programs, heightened government subsidies for favored companies in the energy market, and supporting an expansion of uncompetitive unions to further degrade American competitiveness. Given our weak economy, that last item seems particularly out of place, at least until one remembers that Warren has not yet secured the Democratic nomination and needs the support of unions to make it happen. “The best candidate money can’t buy,” indeed.
Let’s be candid: to the extent that self-described conservatives, libertarians, or “I think there are good ideas on both sides” types support Elizabeth Warren, they are neither conservatives nor libertarians. I hesitate to speculate what such people might actually be, but they are not interested in bringing the country back from the precipice of fiscal disaster.
Oh, alright, I will speculate a little about why ostensibly conservative or libertarian students would support Warren. Your professors will love you, cute left-wing girls might give you their phone number, and you might even hope to be considered the “reasonable” conservative by your explicitly Democratic friends. Such perks might be considered necessary to survive the Cimmerian political environment of Harvard Law. But don’t offer me a pro-Warren gasconade, as the Harvard Crimson does, claiming that such right-wing selling out is a matter of principle.
I would ask the simulacra of limited government advocates at Law School to respect those of us who really do want to reduce the role of the federal government, cut spending and increase the liberty of all Americans by openly embracing their true political identities: personality-driven moderates who want nothing more than to fit into the Harvard political ecosystem.
John Thorlin is a 3L. His column runs Thursdays.