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Despite Elizabeth Warren’s Flubs, Democrats Still Have A Credible Candidate

Todd Domke says  Democratic Senate candidate Marisa DeFranco deserves respect, if not a second look by Democratic primary voters and the news media. (AP)
Todd Domke says Democratic Senate candidate Marisa DeFranco deserves respect, if not a second look by Democratic primary voters and the news media. (AP)

Scott Brown must be feeling optimistic. How could he not laugh when it was reported that Elizabeth Warren gave plagiarized recipes to the “Pow Wow Chow” cookbook? They were supposed to be “special recipes passed down through the Five Tribes families,” yet hers apparently came from a New York Times review of a fancy French restaurant.

Do these seem like Cherokee tribal recipes: “Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing” and “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat”? If so, I’d like to sell you a delicacy I call, “Chef Boyardee.”

But it doesn’t matter. Warren fans accept that she’s 1/32 Cherokee, based on “family lore,” and don’t care whether Harvard and UPenn gave her minority status in claiming faculty diversity.

And despite all this controversy, let’s keep in mind that Democrats have a bright, feisty, progressive, personable attorney who can take the fight to GOP Sen. Scott Brown: her name is Marisa DeFranco. She is running against Warren in the Democratic primary.

She hasn’t had much publicity since Warren was anointed by the Democratic establishment. Ironically, Warren was supposed to be champion for the little people, but it was political insiders in Washington and connected fundraisers who helped her get other candidates out of the race.

But DeFranco would not be intimidated. She would not concede. She’s running as an underdog. On her campaign website, this is how she describes her legal practice:

I work with immigrants, businesses both large and small, children in state custody, and survivors of violence. I have first-hand experience advocating for clients who are affected by federal law — fighting to uphold those laws that deliver justice.

And here’s what DeFranco said about the Warren controversy:

The problem for me is the campaign’s lack of ability to have a clear and consistent message about this issue. They didn’t get in front of it when it first broke. They had several different responses... We need a Democratic nominee who’s able to define herself first and foremost, before the Republican GOP machine comes after you and defines the candidate for her. I will not let Scott Brown define me.

I wouldn’t try to define DeFranco. She strikes me as a more genuine populist than Warren — or Brown, for that matter — but it’s probably arguable. However, less arguable is that she deserves respect, if not a second look by Democratic primary voters and the news media.

This program aired on May 23, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Todd Domke Twitter Republican Political Analyst
Todd Domke is a Republican political analyst for WBUR.

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