Dana Milbank Live: Elizabeth Warren's winning formula

Oct 28, 2011

Dana Milbank Live is your weekly opportunity for a give and take with Dana centering on the latest political news in Washington and his recent columns.

Good afternoon, readers.

Let's talk about Elizabeth Warren, the supercommittee, Rick Perry's re-birther, Herman Cain's Dada campaign, and anything else on your minds.

It has come out that Marc Rubio used RNC contributions for personal expenses. Shouldn't this be damanging for him? Has this new revelation caused him to reject the possibility of becoming VP nominee?I intend to vote Republican this time, but this revelation bothers me about him. It's not ethical, and we need ethical men/women in the White House.

This is another item, like the little mixup over his parents and Castro, that will make the eventual nominee think again before choosing Rubio for the ticket.  The guy clearly wasn't vetted adequately by the press or by his opponents, perhaps because he came on strong fairly late.   There's a lot of concern out there that there are more such Rubio gems.

You vanquished Sarah Palin, and now you have turned the "Hermanator " into not only a top tier candidate, but the front runner. What's next? Middle East Peace Plan?

Just let me get through Tom Toles's halloween party, first.  It's tomorrow night.  Any guesses about my costume?   Only hint is I have recently learned I wear a size 12 ladies shoe.

You really got over the Sarah Palin thing! Orlando Jones tweets that she must be killed, and nary a peep from you. I guess he should have mentioned the word "crosshairs" to be newsworthy.

Okay, I will boycott Orlando Jones.  But I don't know how you will be able to tell, because I haven't mentioned his name in the last 43 years.

How did your high school reunion go? Did your wife get to scope out your old girlfriends and vice versa? What was your spiel about what you do for work? What do you do for work?

Lot of Jack Daniels, lot of fabulous Long Island accents.   Saw a half dozen people I really wanted to be in touch with, so it was a success.   No old girlfriends in attendance, alas.  Occasionally somebody would say, "I saw you on TV," and I would reply with the stock answer, "America's Most Wanted?"   The oddest, most Herman Cainesque moment of the night was when one old friend, now a funeral director, criticized a column I wrote years ago making fun of the national funeral directors association.   

Can Scott Brown use his obvious advantage in racy pictures to dull Warren's rock star glitter? And wouldn't the GOP be better off with her in the Senate than out of it?

She would definitely help Republican fundraising if she makes it to the Senate.  On the Cosmo question, call me crazy, but I think Scott Brown was overstating it a bit when he said "thank God" Warren didn't take her clothes off to fund her law school education.   She looks pretty darn good for 62, and if it weren't for the Oklahoma twang she'd have a pretty good patrician, L.L. Bean yankee thing going on.   Still, I suspect it would be sensible to spend at least a small part of Brown's warchest on boudoir photography.

I'm starting to wonder if the GOP presidential hopefuls are really undead. Every time I think one of them is out of the race, they pop back up again. Michele Bachman's staff disolves... still showing up at debates. Newt Gingrich has a campaign launch that went about as well as the first date between the Titanic and an iceberg, falls off the face of the earth and is still running around. Jon Huntsman is broke... still not out of the race. Rick Perry is up and down in the polls like a yo-yo, Herman Cain is trying out new and exciting ways to look completely unqualified for the position, and Mitt Romney is the guy everyone loves to hate. Shouldn't we expect to see some of this crew just going away and staying away? What did they use on Tim Pawlenty? Stake to the heart? Garlic? Holy Water? Deep Fried Cheese Curds from the Minnesota state fair? Why won't these guys die?

You forgot Santorum.  He is the only one left who has not had his surge yet, and I'm betting it comes in the next couple of weeks.  After that, Gary Johnson.

Does the looming fall back plan of drastically cutting the defense budget help the Super Commitee side proposing some tax increases...?

I think the only thing that would help the supercommittee come up with tax increases is if President Obama's death panels ordered lobotomies for all six Republicans.

Sexy blonde, leaning against a door and smoking. "Call me. You know the number: 9-9-9."

It would be a substantial improvement.

You have to go as Sarah Palin, though i think she wears a 9 shoe.

Such intimate detail can mean only one thing: Joe McGuiness is on the chat today.

How do we know that Marco Rubio's parents weren't politically left-wing Fidelistas? After all, it was Fulgencio Batista's right-wing regime from which they fled a few years earlier, and Marco's mother even returned to Cuba after Castro came to power. Surely this information won't play well for Marco among the Batista-supporting, Castro-fleeing Cuban-American exile community (and their descendants).

In the spirit of the birther movement, I think you should run with that theory without further checking.

Is the answer to the Democrats' collective woes that they just need to run political rock stars for office? How soon until they run actual rock stars? I hear Springsteen is polling as good as Christie for the governor's race in NJ.

That would be so boss.

you seemed effusive in your praise of Elizabeth Warren but isn't she in some ways a plaster saint? She's never run for anything and the only one she really got tough with was Tim Geithner, which doesn't seem like a fair fight. Thanks.

She seemed pretty tough when I watched her testify on the Hill.   I think it's to her advantage that she's a first-time candidate, and there's no doubting her populist shpiel is longstanding and genuine.  Can't be sure if she can sustain a killer instinct through the campaign, but she seems to have the potential. 

Are you making some subtle hints about the shelf life of the Cainiac? Thanks. Go Pointillism!

Far more sophisticated a question than this chat deserves.   I can say, with Elizabeth Warren-like certainty, that I created the Herman Cain campaign, and as the creator of the Herman Cain campaign I feel confident in saying its days are numbered. 

Thanks for noting my chat question about Rubio and the birthers in your column. But as Q said to 007 when he joked about the exploding seat in Goldfinger, I never joke about politics. At least most of the time. But to beat a dead horse, I mean, Rubio, again, as a Floridian who follows politics down here, I can tell you that the Republican base and the teahadists do not care about Rubio's issues. They don't care when his parents came over. They don't care if he's not a US citizen. They don't care about his expense accounts. Rubio hates Obama. That's all that matters. I mean, we elected as governor a man who stole $1.7 BILLION from Medicare, in a state full of seniors. But Scott hated Obama, game over. The Cuban community will vote heavily for Rubio. As long as no photos surface of Rubio in bed with Fidel, he'll get their votes. Period. And they are a big swing vote. Rubio thus could deliver Florida to a GOP ticket that has him as the VP candidate. Unless you know of some reasonable scenario under which the GOP could win the White House without Florida, that's why I think Rubio is a lock to be the Republican VP candidate.

Thank you -- for the column idea.  I dropped what I was doing for the Sunday column and did that instead.   So, for those who believe these chats are pointless, there is now proof that my chat participants write my columns.  (Although, come to think of it, this may confirm that the chats are pointless. . .)

Who is scarier- Bachmann or Palin?

Neither one is my halloween costume.   Santorum, whose rise in the polls is imminent, is far scarier.  That exaggerated, howdy doody smile is definitely the type worn by chainsaw killers. 

I just spat up my coke...so you must think Barbara Bush is a hotty all your LI friends are disowning you...

Barbara Bush is not hot?   

Did you really just suggest Santorum surge?

Yes. Google Santorum. I think you'll agree.

LIke Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwartenegger, Fred Thompson?

Yeah but the Dems haven't had many celebs.  John Glenn?  Bill Bradley? Heath Shuler?  Herb Kohl?  Maybe Al Franken...

Did you know that's the emergency phone number in Great Britain, just like our "9-1-1"?

Remember when they put lighted signs on the top of all DC cabs saying "Call 9-1-1"?   I think it was so the cabbies could put on the light if they were getting carjacked, but the lights were always illuminated, so people I'm sure assumed that is how you call a cab in DC. 

If Santorum doesn't, er, surge in the next couple of weeks, I recommend he release a 9-1-1 plan.


I'm afraid you're missing the pointilism.

How are you NOT going to get into trouble dressing in drag for Halloween? Someone is going to get bent out of shape...

I suspect there is a double entendre in that question somewhere.

Hint 2:  I have already disclosed my costume intentions to the French embassy.

She keeps reminding us of what Democrats are supposed to stand for. Unlike the current crop of Democrats, since Ted Kennedy died.

Yeah, that's what I was saying.   I typically have more sympathy for the moderate, New Democratic sliver of the party, but after the pre-2008 abuses and the post-2008 corporate arrogance, it's difficult to resist the populist impulse. 


Wait, you could wear a witches costume and go as Christine O'Donnell.

That is so 2010.  Think, think, think! 

I don't even know why they are, so you can hardly call them celebrities.

Don't tell me you're one of those coastal elites who doesn't shop at Kohls.   And Shuler did some work with a spheroid.  But, yes, the point is the Democrats need some starpower.

Calista Gingrich? With tons o' bling wrapped around your neck, arms and fingers?

No, but I do have lots of bling.  I'd tell you what my size 12 shoes say, but this is a family friendly chat.

Dana, Will you parade your costume on Hardball or any othe MSNBC shows on Monday?

Let me run that by the ombudsman...

Cuban abstract, anyway.

Now this is getting surreal.

Christine LaGarde?

Getting warmer.

Carla Bruni? You??

Well, the likeness is undeniable...but, no.

The GOP also had Senator George Murphy (old-time song-and-dance man), Fred Gandy (Gopher from "Loveboat") and Olympian Bob Mathias. Besides the Dems you already mentioned, they also had Tom McMillan (and movie star Helen Gahagan Douglas ran for the Senate from California in 1950 against Nixon).


I miss Sonny Bono.

I like him, but he'll never get a chance, will he? Is it the comedy thing?

I am not being Al Franken for halloween.  But I think he does wear a size 12 ladies' shoe.

Will the IMF be needing you on Monday?

Mmmmm. Interesting. 

But you'll have to wait until next week. 

Thanks for chatting -- it has left a deep Impressionism on me. 


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Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank reviews the political theater of the nation's capital in his editorial-page column. His most recent book is "Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America;" his other books are "Homo Politicus" (Doubleday, 2008) and "Smashmouth" (Basic Books, 2001). Milbank joined The Post as a political reporter in 2000 and wrote the "Washington Sketch" column for nearly six years. He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter. • Dana Milbank Bio & Archive
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