West Regional Sweet Sixteen Matchup: Warren Vs. Johnson
#1 seed: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Born: June 22, 1949 (age: 63) — Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Background: Born in Oklahoma (and thus placed in the West Region), Senator Warren rose to public prominence as a Harvard Law professor and a consumer protection advocate. Warren was an early champion of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau eventually created by the Dodd-Frank Act, but her nomination to become head of the agency was essentially blocked by the GOP House leadership before it was ever considered — having someone in a position of regulatory power with a backbone could have upset multinational corporate dominance and interfered with their fundraising! Undeterred, Warren took her “star status” and challenged moderate GOP Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts, eventually winning in a contest that set fundraising records, but wasn’t all that close. Warren has hit the ground running as a Senator in 2013, leading the populist crusade against “rigged” financial reform and attempting to hold big banks accountable.
Former Party: None.
Strength: Holding big banks accountable. Simply put, Warren is a firebrand on the Senate Banking Committee. Need video evidence? This was last week:
Weakness: Too Liberal? You name a political issue, and Elizabeth Warren’s probably to the far left on it. That’s not a problem for her constituents in Massachusetts, but will it limit her chances to move on in the IVA Madness bracket? Only time will tell…
#4 seed: Former Gov. Gary Johnson (?-NM)
Born: January 1, 1953 (age: 60) — Minot, North Dakota.
Background: Before he was a well liked two term Governor of New Mexico, Johnson ran a hugely successful construction company, Big J Enterprises, which he started in 1976 shortly after finishing his studies at the University of New Mexico and grew into a multi million dollar corporation with over 1000 employees before he sold it in 1999. Johnson ran for Governor in 1994 against the wishes of the Republican establishment, campaigning to bring a “common sense business approach” to the office with a campaign slogan of “People before Politics.” Over his eight years in office, Johnson was famous for his use of line-item vetos, gaining the nickname “Governor Veto,” and was also lauded for leaving New Mexico with a budget surplus when he left office in 2002. As a 2012 presidential candidate, Johnson began his campaign competing for the GOP nomination, but decided in December 2011 to change his party affiliation to Libertarian — Johnson ended up winning almost 1% of the popular vote against Romney and Obama in 2012, the best third party showing in a presidential race since 2000.
Former Party: Republican (before 2011), Libertarian (since 2011).
Strength: Social liberalism and fiscal conservatism. Johnson takes both social liberalism and fiscal conservatism to the extreme, especially for a former Republican. In his 2012 campaign, he took liberal positions on marriage equality and abortion, military noninterventionism, and opposition of both internet censorship and the Patriot Act. Contrast that ideological bent with his conservative philosophy on the economy and taxation, which earned him “praise” from Slate’s Dave Weigel, calling Johnson “the original Tea Party candidate.”
Weakness: Not Ron Paul. Johnson’s ideology appealed most fervently to Ron Paul supporters, who’s base he hoped to capitalize on if Paul did not run for President in 2012. Paul did run for the GOP nomination, and then refused to consider a third-party bid, rendering any hopes Johnson or the Libertarian Party had of reaching 5% of the popular vote, their stated goal before the 2012 election. One wonders if a Paul-Johnson ticket could have gained 5% support nationwide in 2012…