Central Casting Tough Guys for Elizabeth Warren

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 13 2012 4:54 PM

Central Casting Tough Guys for Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren's U.S. Senate campaign has been defined by a stupid question: Can a Harvard professor who happens to be a lady overcome the politically advantageous machismo of Scott Brown? This new ad is your answer.

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The challenge of regular-guy-ifying a Democrat who's been framed as aloof has been with us for decades. (Brown likes to refer to his opponent as "Professor Warren," but usually skips the extra step of dumping pig's blood on her head.) Some of my favorite political ads are the ones Charles Guggenheim cut for George McGovern in 1972, in a failed attempt to make McGovern's retail politicking stills translate onscreen.

On the trail, I've found Warren to be a stellar retail campaigner. The professor-ization thing is pure gender politics. Best, I suppose, to shrug and compete on that turf.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.