In her recently published memoir, Sen.
"Late in the evening, Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice," Warren writes. "I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access…. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don't criticize other insiders."
Warren decided to remain an outsider and went right on flaying then-Treasury Secretary
"The game is rigged," she said last week in one of the many television interviews she's done on her book tour. "The CEOs of the largest financial institutions still strut around Washington. Those big banks … break the law and nobody goes to jail. That's not a level playing field. That's not a fair system."
She's smart, eloquent, liberal and fiery. Her ferocity as a critic of Wall Street has made her a heroine to the Democratic left. A potential presidential candidate?
"I am not running for president," she says over and over.
"No, no, no, no, no," she told the
To avoid stirring any speculation, an aide said, she's not setting foot in New Hampshire, not even to campaign for her colleague Sen.
Of course, plenty of candidates have said they aren't running two years before the election, only to undergo a change of heart later on — Barack Obama among them. But people who know Warren say they take her at her word. Her chief fundraiser has reportedly told donors to forget it; she isn't running.
And she isn't doing some of the things a potential presidential candidate normally does. Her book reads like a campaign autobiography, but it's focused almost entirely on her crusade to rein in the big financial institutions; there's nothing in it about any of the other major issues a presidential candidate is expected to have thought about. She didn't ask for a seat on the
Instead, she's doing what most freshman senators do. She's proposing bills on her favorite issues — this week, one that would allow holders of student loans to refinance at lower interest rates; before that, one to require federal financial agencies to disclose more information about financial settlements.
She's trying to strike alliances with
And she's trying to revive a somewhat disused congressional tool — oversight hearings — to nudge or, in her case, shove regulators toward tougher enforcement of existing laws.
"They clearly have not been doing their jobs," she said. "There's a lot of law out there already. The key … is getting the regulators to pick up the law and use it."
Warren can already claim some results. After she publicly questioned the
And although Warren criticized
Could it be that Elizabeth Warren, the ultimate outsider, has decided to play the inside game too?
If Clinton runs for president and wins, Warren can logically be expected to do her best to pull the new administration in her direction — and a few friendly noises now, when the candidate needs them, could pay big dividends then.