Why Scott Brown Should Be Very Afraid

Two weeks ago, a video of Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren blasting Wall Street for the economic crisis and calling for fair taxation of businesses went viral. The money quote:

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.”

Last night, at the first Democratic primary debate, she continued her barrage on Wall Street: “The people on Wall Street broke this country, and they did it one lousy mortgage at a time. It happened more than three years ago, and there has been no real accountability, and there has been no real effort to fix it. That’s why I want to run for the United States Senate.”

Warren’s no favorite of Wall Street or the Republican party, which blocked her nomination to helm the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this year. But instead of having her as a bureaucrat, the GOP now has to face her as an outright opponent. And until now, few Democrats have tapped into this populist, “Main Street” stream of rage. Maybe they’ve been too afraid of angering big business; maybe they’ve been afraid that they’d scare independents off. But as the leaderless Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Bostonto grow, it’s clear there’s bottled up anger not just in the Tea Party, but on the left as well. And it seems that Warren fancies herself as their grown-up political leader if not in name, then at least in voice.

Sen. Scott Brown isn’t going to be a pushover for Warren, provided she wins the Democratic primary. He’s a canny politician, which he proved in 2010 when he scored a major Republican victory by winning Ted Kennedy’s old seat. But his opponent then, attorney general Martha Coakley, bored even supporters with her lackluster campaign. Warren, on the other hand, isn’t afraid of firing up her supporters. It already seems to be working: A new poll shows that Warren’s in a statistical tie with Brown. Scott Brown ought to be very afraid.