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Jul. 16 2010 - 5:05 pm | 396 views | 3 recommendations | 18 comments

Will the White House cut Elizabeth Warren loose?

Elizabeth Warren

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I can think of no surer way to show the American public that the creation of a Federal Consumer Protection Agency was all spit and no juice than to deny Elizabeth Warrant the role of leading our new consumer protection agency.

Of course her appointment will guarantee a fight on the Hill. The banks know that Warren could spell big trouble for them so it comes as no surprise that the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala), and all the usual suspects, are completely opposed to her nomination.

But isn’t this precisely the fight that the Democrats should be begging for as they head into election season? Isn’t this exactly the type of battle that would expose who actually has the interests of the American public at heart and who is standing up for the monied financial interests that run the nation?

Warren is a tough, poor kid from Oklahoma who grew up to be a distinguished professor of law at Harvard where she spent the last 30 years studying the economic conditions of the American middle class. As a result of her expertise, she was chosen to be the chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to investigate the bank bailout (TARP).

And what a job she has done.

Anything but shy when it comes to riding herd over the Department of Treasury, Warren has succeeded in gaining the confidence of the nation simply by telling Americans the truth about what had happened, what continues to happen and what we can expect will happen in the future if the banks are permitted to continue doing business as usual at the expense of the American middle class.

Playing the game with honestly and fearing no reprisal when it comes to speaking the truth to her fellow Americans, it is not particularly surprising that the Obama Administration’s financial Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum – Tim Geithner and Larry Summers- also oppose Warren being tapped to run the consumer protection bureau- the very agency that she is largely responsible for bringing into being.

The fact that Geithner and Summers are not fans of Professor Warren have not  prevented the President from pushing Warren’s plan and taking advantage of her good stead with the American public at every politically opportune moment. As a result, Obama owes Warren this job as much as we need her in the job.

Still, the Administration is clearly not ready to stand up for Elizabeth Warren.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters this morning, White House senior advisor, David Axelrod, said –

Elizabeth Warren is a great, great champion for consumers and middle-class families across the country. She has helped inform this effort greatly and what has been done here in many ways reflects something she’s been advocating for years and years and years, so she’s obviously a candidate to lead this effort.

But, then, Axelrod went on to say -

There are other candidates as well but Elizabeth is certainly a candidate to lead it and one thing I know for certain is however we move forward she’s going to be a strong voice in helping shape this and make it the most effective voice for consumers that it possibly can be.

Via Huffington Post

That sounds a lot to me like ‘thanks for everything and please leave your keys at the door on the way out.

It is no secret that the White House wants to appoint someone that can step into the job as soon as possible with the minimum amount of stress being created by the Senate. And appointing Warren will surely create maximum stress in the Senate.

But there is no other candidate who has earned the job in the way that Elizabeth Warren has earned it. And for the White House to fail to acknowledge not only her incredible work to date but the strong bond of honesty and trust she has built with the American public would be just one more example of the Obama Administration taking the political way out rather than doing the right thing.

Can the Administration really afford another sell-out?

This is a fight worth having, not only because Warren is worth fighting for but because it is a fight that could pay huge political benefits to Democrats in November.

Obama needs this battle. The Democrats need this battle. And the nation needs Elizabeth Warren to get this important new agency off on the right foot. Americans need to know that the new consumer protection agency is there to serve and protect their interests – not simply serve as some strawman existing only to keep the peace with the financial community.

When the President signs the financial reform bill next week, Elizabeth Warren should be standing right there next to him as Obama announces her as his appointee to be the first Director of the Federal Consumer Protection Agency.

Anything less would be a slap in the face to all Americans, a lost opportunity for a Democratic party badly in need of creating some good will and proof positive that the Obama Administration has become so mired in keeping the peace that it has lost all touch with the concept of how doing the right thing can, on occasion, produce a political win.


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  1. collapse expand

    Precisely because she is a great, great champion for consumers and middle-class families across the country and the right person for the job, she will not get congressional approval. My prediction is someone more middle of the road and that person will eventually bend towards the financial sector.

  2. collapse expand

    I surely hope they nominate Ms. Warren, but I’m tempted to say, no, of course they won’t. I expect that they won’t because of the two reasons you mention, 1) Wall St. hates and fears her, and 2) her nomination would mean a confirmation fight. But, ANYBODY fit to be head of the FCPA (assuming that there is anybody as fit as Warren) would be opposed by Wall St, and would undergo a massive confirmation fight. I agree with you that the Dems would do well by such a fight, and that, win or lose, it’s a fight well worth not walking away from. I just have this persistent, sinking feeling that the Obama administration will find yet another justification for walking away from this one.

  3. collapse expand

    Bawahahaha … tax cheat Geithner doesn’t want Elizabeth Warren around when, in fact, she should be our next U.S. President.

    Next time someone tells you Palin for President in 2012 ask them to compare Sarah to Elizabeth Warren. Where Sarah comes up short is what the nation needs right now.

    Also, Rick, you might update the header to say “Loose” instead of “Lose” as in, Cut Elizabeth Warren Loose.

  4. collapse expand

    Yeah, that is the kind of change we (all regular $8 @ hr. folks) been waitin for…

  5. collapse expand

    Bawahahaha … tax cheat Geithner doesn’t want Elizabeth Warren around when, in fact, she should be our next U.S. President.
    Shhhhh — if our illustrious President gets wind of your theory/suspicion that will guarantee he doesn’t appoint her.

    If the dems don’t get the clue on this one I just might find it necessary to vote for whatever repub runs in the next presidential election.

    Yes it’s true — that IS hell you hear freezing over!

  6. collapse expand

    So much for your moderation arguement of yesterday. I liked the argument when I read it, but have decided to abandon it when I read this. This piece is incredibly flawed for 1 simple reason. You keep arguing that Obama needs to stop fucking up and do something altruistic for once so that the American party won’t think he is a marionette on strings being pulled by hacks like David Axelrod? Now that’s real encouraging!! How bout this idea: Think outside of the democratic (or republican) party box and start to believe that a breathtakingly good person like Elizabeth Warren can become the next president of the United States. Stop thinking about the “why nots”. Finding a solution to what ails America within the machinations of two-whore system is not working and will not work going forward. The politicians are all pimped out by corporations and banks. OK, your a liberal (and a damn thoughtful one, I might add). Can’t you be a liberal without being a democrat? I’m a conservative, and I detest and reject the republican party.

    • collapse expand

      So, let me see if I got this straight. You liked the idea of an article written yesterday – but, because you don’t like this piece, you’ve now abandoned the idea that you liked 24 hours ago because you don’t like this one? Huh? If you’re disavowing an idea to punish me for another, I’m afraid that may not turn out to be quite as effective as you might think.

      Just because I analyze a circumstance as it is, hardly is an argument for support. It’s an analysis. By the way, I don’t consider myself a liberal and I’m NOT a democrat. I’m a registered Independent. You’re kind of personalizing an analysis piece. I very much do think Dr. Warren should have this job. I do think the Obama Administration should be supporting her without reservation and I do think that the inevitable battle that will take place in the Senate will very much benefit the Democrats. Those are my opinions so what is the problem?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Rick,
        In leonkellys defense, he usually isn’t this harsh or illogical. It could be just a bad week, but your response was appropriate. We need more contiguity and civility in our discussions. The illiteracy of commenters may also be an issue of “arguement” if we insist on criticizing every keystroke.

        Leon, let’s chill a little and listen to one another, carefully.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          My apologies to all (especially Rick (a great writer and thinker). It’s not Rick’ idea. But I just find it totally frustrating that this great nation of ours has to wait with baited breath to learn whether or not our president decides to do what’s best for the people or what’s best for his banker benefactors. When I go to the voters booth, I will only vote for candidates that can distinguish themselves from patronage politics. If none exist, I will abstain.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  7. collapse expand

    If there were a CHEER icon, I would use it. Great post, Rick. Dr. Warren is one of the heroes in our country. This is an Obama moment, if he rises to it.

  8. collapse expand

    It would be a major disappointment for a champion of the middle class not to be looking out for us. I have slowly been drifting back into my apathetic ways regarding politics; especiallly in light of how it is becoming more and more obvious how much large corporations and donors are controlling things.
    This would probably be the nail in the coffin for me; not only with politics, but with this Administration.

  9. collapse expand

    This nomination makes no sense. Elizabeth Warren is both competent and the very antithesis of nearly every other nominee in re financial /econ matters this administration has ever put forward.

    I smell a fall gal rat setup. Does the former OLC nominee Dawn Johnsen’s plight ring a bell? Sacrificial lamb for the sole purpose of tying up liberal hope in an obscure and futile manner?

    If the admin is already halfheartedly supporting their own nominee that is another big tell. Anyone think Obama wouldn’t have to fight to get her through? Of course he would… and he doesn’t do that for anyone, honest, competent, left of the far right center.

    Until Obama stands up and plainly says my economic team, my philosophy has failed terribly.. and i have over a dozen nominees to replace everyone from Rahm to Geithner, Summers and Bernake etc… this should all be considered lipstick on the wrong end/lips of a pig.

  10. collapse expand

    i don’t know if these things work, but it’s worth a try:

    PETITION: Let Elizabeth Warren Police Wall Street
    http://act.boldprogressives.org/cms/sign/petition_warren/

    they’ve reached 90% of their goal so far.

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    About Me

    I am an attorney in Southern California, and a frequent writer, speaker and consultant on health care policy and politics. To that end, I am active member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Based in beautiful Santa Monica, California, I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to be a contributing editor to True/Slant. I've recently finished a book designed to make the health care debate understandable to the average reader, and expect it to be out in the next five months or earlier. In my 'spare time', I continue to write for television and, occasionally, for comic books.

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