Paul L. Caron

Monday, August 26, 2019

NY Times: Calvin Johnson And The Education of Elizabeth Warren

Following up on Thursday's post, Is America Ready For a Professor President — Especially A Rich One?: New York Times, The Education of Elizabeth Warren:

Never one to shy away from a fight, Elizabeth Warren had found a new sparring partner. She had only recently started teaching at the University of Texas School of Law, but her colleague Calvin H. Johnson already knew her well enough to brace for a lively exchange as they commuted to work.

Indeed, on this morning in 1981, Ms. Warren again wanted to debate, this time arguing on the side of giant utilities over their customers.

Her position was “savagely anti-consumer,” Mr. Johnson recalled recently, adding that it wasn’t unusual for her to espouse similar pro-business views on technical legal issues.

Then something changed. He calls it Ms. Warren’s “road to Damascus” moment.

“She started flipping — ‘I’m pro-consumer,’” Mr. Johnson said.

That something, as Ms. Warren often tells the story, was her deepening academic research into consumer bankruptcy, its causes, and lenders’ efforts to restrict it. Through the 1980s, the work took her to courthouses across the country. There, she said in a recent interview, she found not only the dusty bankruptcy files she had gone looking for but heart-wrenching scenes she hadn’t imagined — average working Americans, tearful and humiliated, admitting they were failures. ...

Ms. Warren’s political awakening didn’t simply happen all at once. Her road to Damascus was a long one. But over several decades, she transformed from a largely pro-business and politically disengaged academic — a sort of default Republican — to a fierce consumer advocate and bankruptcy expert whose advice was sought on Capitol Hill, and then, finally, to a Democratic force on the Hill herself.

(Hat Tip: Alice Abreu, Gregg Polsky.)

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Warren is a great self-promoter, Now she's comparing herself to Jesus. Something tells me this won't end well.

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Aug 27, 2019 2:30:41 AM

@Mike L, what in the world are you talking about? First, it wasn't Jesus who converted on the road to Damascus; it was St. Paul. Second, it wasn't Warren who contributed the "Road to Damascus" allegory to the article -- it was a long-ago former colleague, Cal Johnson.

Posted by: Matt | Aug 28, 2019 9:29:33 AM

Whatever one thinks of Professor Warren, it was the apostle Paul who was on the road to Damascus.

Posted by: Render unto Caesar | Aug 28, 2019 11:23:19 AM