A new poll shows populist (by American standards) darling Elizabeth Warren running at 10% in a hypothetical Democratic presidential primary, while Hillary Clinton stands at 65%. Still, the Clintons fear Elizabeth Warren. Why?

The less interesting answer is "because polls two years out of elections are virtually meaningless." The more interesting answer is: because Hillary Clinton has been busily assembling a political machine dedicated to making herself appear to be the inevitable Democratic nominee, despite the fact—and here is Hillary Clinton's key flaw—nobody really likes her that much.

Probably because she has demonstrated that she has few true political convictions that are not self-serving!

In the Washington Post today, various Hillary associates and confidantes ruminate on her vulnerabilities to challengers—all of whom are tiny gnats compared to Hillary's money and political organization, but Incredible Hulks compared to Hillary's vague and undefined beliefs. Elizabeth Warren, the paper says, "especially interests and worries Bill Clinton, the unofficial top strategist for his wife's shadow campaign, according to two people who know the former president well. Bill Clinton admires Warren's stemwinder speaking style, and Hillary Clinton echoed parts of Warren's sticking-up-for-the-little guy economic message during midterm speeches this year."

If you are a Democrat, you are presumably a Democrat for some political reason having to do with the understanding that Democratic policies are contrasts to Republican policies. Elizabeth Warren, one of the loudest voices for reigning in Wall Street and for addressing our nation's rampant inequality, at the very least embodies a certain set of Democratic Party values. Hillary Clinton primarily embodies the value of Getting Hillary Clinton Elected President. Given the realities of presidential campaign financing, it seems doubtful that Elizabeth Warren will actually run. But if she did, she could lay claim to something that cannot be bought: a purpose. If I was a Clinton, I would be worried about Elizabeth Warren too.

[Photo: AP]