Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Senator Elizabeth Warren faced off against her opponents, Republican State Representative Geoff Diehl and Independent entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai in a debate last night. Warren holds a very comfortable lead in the race and is expected to easily win reelection.
The fascinating segment of the debate centered around Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry. She released DNA results last week showing that she is anywhere from 1/512 to 1/1024 Native American. This move was widely criticized and derided on both sides of the aisle.
For obvious reasons, the candidates were questioned about this issue during the debate.
The relevant portion of the video comes at 31:30:
Moderator: Do you think that Senator Warren’s Native American heritage impacts her ability to represent Massachusetts in Washington?
Diehl: You know, it’s not about Senator Warren’s ancestry. It’s about integrity in my mind and I don’t care whether or not you think you benefitted from that claim. It’s the fact that you tried to benefit from that claim that I think bothers a lot of people and it’s something that you have been unable to put to rest since the 2012 campaign. I do not care what percentage of Native American she claims to be. I just care that I am 100% for the people of Massachusetts and will be working for the people of this state. And that’s all I have to say on that issue.
Warren: You know, one of the things I see now is that confidence in government is at an all-time low and I believe one way we try to rebuild confidence is through transparency, so I’ve really made an effort over the past several months. I’ve put ten years of my tax returns online. Anybody can see them. I have put things about my family history online.
I have put my employment record online and yeah, ultimately I took a DNA test because I am an open book and it’s all out there, it’s on the internet, anybody can take a look. Because at the end of the day, this isn’t about me. This is about what’s happening to working families all across this commonwealth. Look, I’m not somebody who ever ran for office before, but I’ll tell you why I ran. I’m a kid who wanted to be a public school teacher and by the time I graduated from high school, we didn’t have the money for a college application much less for me to actually go to college. A lot of twists and turns in my story, but my big chance was a commuter college that cost $50 a semester and it opened a million doors for me. I am the daughter of someone who ended up as a janitor and I got to be a professor and a United States senator. Those opportunities are disappearing for other kids. I’m in this fight for them.
Her story is a compelling and impressive one. She worked hard and she achieved much.
And frankly, who can blame a young woman from rural Oklahoma for checking a box on a college application form to increase her chances for acceptance. The odds were stacked against her and she did what many have done before her to reach her goals.
The issue is her handling of the situation.
She could have simply come clean a long time ago by saying something like this: Look, I was young. I wanted to make something of myself. My father was a janitor and we were poor, so I claimed Native American heritage to give myself an advantage.
Most Americans would have understood that. And most would have respected her for her honesty and for having the courage and persistence necessary to overcome the formidable obstacles in her path.
Instead, Warren doubled down and inexplicably provided a DNA test indicating that she was 1/1024th Native American. Even the Nazis had a far more stringent requirement for determining a person’s ancestry. If an individual had one Jewish grandparent, he or she was considered to be of Jewish heritage. Warren’s pride took over and she wouldn’t allow herself to admit she’d lied. As a result, she has become the subject of ridicule. And this issue will always follow her.