CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In the fall of 2008, two weeks after Election Day, Harry Reid picked up the phone and called Elizabeth Warren, a little-known law professor with a background in consumer advocacy. We want you to run the panel overseeing the Wall Street bailout, he told her.
“Are you sure?” Warren quizzed the Senate majority leader. She knew that, by Washington standards, she was an odd choice, someone not tucked squarely in the pocket of industry.
She took the job and broke every unwritten rule in Washington. Every time she did, her star rose with the progressive base. She publicly dressed down her own party’s treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, in a series of exchanges that went viral. She articulated and defended an unashamedly progressive worldview in a way few Democrats had been capable of doing.