Boston Herald | Monday, November 21, 2011 | Op-Ed |

The ad is a virtual portrait in sepia. It starts with photos from the candidate’s youth and highlights her working class roots and commitment to regular folk. It then contrasts her hometown values — honesty, responsibility — with the immoral values of self-interested Wall Street bankers. The candidate says she stood up to Wall Street and held big banks accountable.

The new Elizabeth Warren ad? No, a Martha Coakley ad from her failed 2010 Senate campaign against Republican Scott Brown.

Just photo-shop in a picture of Warren, and you will practically duplicate the ad that Warren released last week in her attempt to unseat Brown in 2012.

The Warren ad attempts to soften the Harvard professor’s image as a liberal elitist by portraying her as a folksy gal from working class roots who grew up to combat corporate greed.

The populist message didn’t work for Martha in 2010, and I doubt very much that it will work for Liz in 2012.

That is because, despite the claims of both women to speak for the middle class, both Coakley and Warren present as people who view themselves as better than the average voter.

Coakley famously looked down her nose at Brown for standing in the cold for hours as he shook hands with voters outside the NHL’s Winter Classic at Fenway Park [map].

Warren is unlikely to repeat such a dreadful mistake. Retail politics matter — that much she has learned.

But, like Coakley, Warren is prone to verbal missteps that demonstrate a cluelessness about the Massachusetts electorate.

Thus, Warren recently stated that Western Massachusetts is “not as landlocked as some parts of the state.” (Tell that to the folks in Westfield.)

And she bragged that she was going to capture the Massachusetts “hick” vote. (Putting aside the elitist nature of that comment, a real Bostonian would, of course, know that here in Massachusetts we don’t have hicks, we have “townies”.)

Perhaps even more damaging, Warren has allowed her campaign to drape itself in star power and to take on that aura of inevitability that voters clearly despised in 2010.

The early favorite of national Democrats, Warren used her Washington support to muscle out homegrown Democratic contenders and to raise gobs of money from Hollywood nobility like Danny DeVito and Barbra Streisand.

Yet, her sole credential to become U.S. senator is her 30-year career as a law professor. She has never run a business (at least not a business with any employees); she has never served in the military; she has never been elected to public office; and she is not even from Massachusetts.

But, say her friends, she is on the Harvard faculty! Yippee.

So what has she done other than teach and write books?

Well, she helped the Obama administration waste more taxpayer money by creating a new government agency — one that (surprise!) she was conveniently well-suited to lead.

Martha Coakley and Elizabeth Warren

Martha Coakley and Elizabeth Warren

When she was passed over for the post she created for herself, it only made sense that Warren would challenge Brown. (It is not many who, having sampled the appetizer of Washington power, can resist the call to dinner.)

Yet Warren’s friends insist that she is not an out-of-touch elitist. Really? Isn’t a Harvard faculty member and FOB (Friend of Babs) the very definition of elitist?

No doubt about it — Liz Warren is a smart lady. But brains aren’t always a sign of good judgment. And an office at Harvard Law School doesn’t guarantee that she won’t make the same mistakes as the last failed Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate.

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