Does Elizabeth Warren Have a “Harvard Problem?”


Warren, the former chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel on TARP now running for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, may have a “Harvard Problem,” according to the Boston Globe. Warren is a professor at Harvard Law School, where she teaches contract, bankruptcy, and commercial law.

As Mary Carmichael writes:

Warren’s Harvard link could be an advantage… but her connection to the university could also hurt her. A Harvard line on a resume appeals to employers but plays less well with some voters.

“We’re going to hear the ‘Harvard elite’ thing over and over. That’s Scott Brown’s best play,’’ said Dan Cluchey, a third-year student organizing a “Students for Warren’’ club. “Of course, I think anyone who describes her that way is either being misleading or just hasn’t met her yet.’’

Opponents started to use Warren’s Harvard connection against her even before she declared she would run. The “CrazyKhazei’’ Twitter account, yanked in late August after a Scott Brown adviser was revealed as its author, painted her as a “typical Harvard elitist.’’ In early September, the school’s student newspaper, the Crimson, predicted Warren would have a “Harvard Problem.’’

Perhaps typical “typical Harvard elitist’’ would suggest that Warren, who earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and her law degree at Rutgers School of Law-Newark, is out of touch with voters.

Employment at Harvard can’t itself be much of a barrier to success, however, at least not in the Bay State. Harvard is the third largest employer in Massachusetts. Using this standard, Massachusetts itself is out of touch with voters. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer