Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: A Fighting Chance

A Fighting Chance is Elizabeth Warren's account of her life, from her humble beginnings to becoming a Harvard Professor and then United States Senator. The cynical would consider this the start of her bid for the 2016 presidential nomination, much like The Audacity of Hope was for Obama.

Here's the thing: I'm an unabashed Elizabeth Warren fan, ever since she wrote The Two Income Trap with her daughter. I would support her nomination for presidency, and I certainly think that she's a far better choice than Clinton would be, and I voted for Clinton during the primaries in 2008.

The book's well-written, as you would expect from a Harvard Professor. My wife, who doesn't usually read books that I checkout from the library, picked it up and kept reading despite herself. Warren is funny, self-deprecating, intelligent, and very good at writing for a general audience. For instance, she mentions how she won the home economics prize in high school, but leaves out the process she went through to get tenure. The latter would have been more interesting to me, but much less interesting for the general public.

The book also covers her work on the TARP oversight panel as well as all the hidden games that went on with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. These were by far the most interesting parts of the book to me, exposing how bank lobbyists succeed in getting what's good for the financial industry passed by congress again and again, while ignoring the needs of people who aren't as well heeled. She estimates the amount of money the banks spent opposing first the CFPB, and then scuttling her appointment as the director at well over $500M, or half a billion. If it is true that you can best judge a person by the qualities of her enemies, then Elizabeth Warren is truly one of the best people you'll find anywhere.

The last third of the book is about her own run for senate, and while interesting, it's all relatively recent news, so you might already know it. In any case, it is fun to relive that election especially with Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" shenanigans. I definitely hope the GOP keep up the good work on that front this November.

Anyway, it's a surprisingly fun read, well written, humble, and very much worth your time. Elizabeth Warren for president!

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