Where in the World Is Elizabeth Warren?

After Elizabeth Warren's hard-fought race for Senate, the most expensive in the nation's history, many supporters had high hopes for her early days in office. But after her dramatic win against incumbent Scott Brown, Warren has shied away from the limelight. In the early days of the new session of Congress, her presence in the national spotlight has faded, leaving some to speculate about possible reasons for her absence.

During the campaign, Warren was known for her fierce stump speeches criticizing the Republican Party for its ties to big money—Warren has been a staunch advocate for financial reform and regulation in her tenure as a Harvard Law professor.

But she has not maintained the barrage of impassioned (opponents say 'canned') lines issuing from the bully pulpit. Rather, Warren has assumed a low public profile in the opening weeks of the 113th Congress. She has given few interviews to national media outlets. She has only appeared in two press conferences since the beginning of the session, both to discuss Richard Cordray's renomination to the directorship of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (In 2008, Warren played a crucial role in drafting the structure of the CFPB.) Though Warren jumped to the forefront of the public spotlight on February 14 when The Huffington Post posted a video of the senator scolding bank regulators, she has continued to decline opportunities for public statement.

Political observers have taken note of Warren’s silence.

On February 13, Politico published an article titled “Elizabeth Warren's quiet plan for the Senate,” wondering whether it all might be part of some larger plan. The article's thesis is a two-parter: one, that Warren has flown under the radar on purpose, and two, that her purpose is to prove that she's not a “bomb-thrower.”

But perhaps Warren has not spent more time in the limelight simply because there is not much of a limelight for what she is doing. “The nitty-gritty of politics sometimes is not that interesting to the average person,” said Lawrence S. DiCara ’71, a Boston political veteran.

Warren now spends most of her time on exactly those nitty-gritty details: attending committee hearings, familiarizing herself with procedure, scheduling and rescheduling meetings. Her primary role is no longer that of the incendiary leader, the Democratic rallying cry.

Said DiCara, “It's not easy being a rookie senator.... [Warren is] going through orientations...and there's not that much going on yet.”