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Jul. 20 2010 - 12:39 pm | 404 views | 3 recommendations | 10 comments

Warren nomination now about more than who runs an agency

It seems that every article I read about Elizabeth Warren characterizes her as being “beloved by the left” while despised by the banks. Indeed, so often is Warren described in this manner, one might think it is a conscious ploy on the part of conservative, pro-bank publications to turn middle class conservatives against Ms. Warren.

It’s not.

This descriptor is employed as regularly in left leaning publications – such as The Huffington Post – as it is used by the Wall Street Journal. And it is every bit as ridiculous when suggested by the left as it is when used by the right.

That the financial companies do not like Professor Warren makes infinite sense. It was Warren who first floated the idea of a federal consumer protection bureau and then went on to play a leading role in making it happen. As a result, life will be considerably more difficult for the credit card companies that have long gouged the American middle class and, in no small measure, they have Elizabeth Warren to thank for their troubles. The banks have every reason to believe that Warren will be tough on them and are having the expected allergic reaction to her taking charge of the agency she is largely responsible for creating.

But what’s up with this whole ‘darling of the progressives’ description?

The tag implies that only progressives have been plagued by the unsavory and predatory business practices of those credit card companies and other unscrupulous lenders who have been taking advantage of their customers for so many years.

I cannot imagine a more ridiculous assertion. Warren is not the darling of the left or a favorite of the right. She’s proven herself to be a champion of all the middle class. As such, she has earned the respect of everyone in the middle class who has ever been played by a financial institution.

Nobody should kid themselves. Money in the hands of a conservative is the identical color as money in the hands of a liberal. And when the financial institutions try to separate you from that money through usurious loans and predatory practices, they couldn’t care less about the ideological sway of that money’s previous owner. They have but one concern – making your money become their money.

While there may be few things left in this country where conservatives and progressives can come together, this has got to be one of them. The desire to have someone looking out for the consumer’s interest by protecting the middle class against the powerful financial institutions easily trumps our polarized politics.After all, stopping a credit card company from ripping off a liberal means that the same credit card company will be prevented from ripping off a conservative.

This is precisely why the notion circulating today that suggests that Warren can be – and should be – appointed without a Senate hearing is a terrible idea.

I can’t imagine a better opportunity to discover who in our government stands up for the people who put them there (whether Democrat or GOP) and who stands up for the financial institutions who pay the bills of our politicians.

There is only one possible reason why a United States senator would vote against Elizabeth Warren to run this agency. That would be the banks.

I cannot recall the GOP complaining as Warren emerged as one of the key critics of the Obama Administration’s bailout of the banks. I can understand Secretary of Treasury, Tim Geithner, complaining – as he has -about Elizabeth Warren. She has effectively been serving as the ‘shadow’ Treasury Secretary and making life tough on Geithner in her effort to police the bailouts. But how could this lead to a GOP filibuster against Warren’s appointment to this new agency? She’s been a bigger problem for the Democratic administration than she has ever been to the GOP.

Given that only the banks have a reason to object to her appointment, it will only be those Senators who serve the interests of the financial institutions who can object.

What a moment!  Will there ever be a clearer line of delineation between the politicians (including President Obama) who vote the interest of their constituents – both conservative and liberal- versus those who vote the special interests of the industries that line their pockets with campaign contributions?

It won’t just be GOP senators who have a problem when faced with a vote on Elizabeth Warren. Indeed, Democratic senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) is already trying to protect his Democratic colleagues in a comment made yesterday suggesting that Warren would not be approved by the Senate.

Dodd, speaking on National Public Radio’s “Diane Rehm Show,” said there were questions over the support for Warren, who chairs a bailout watchdog panel and is considered a top candidate for the post.

“Elizabeth could be a terrific nominee. The question is, ‘Is she confirmable?’ And there’s a serious question about that,” Dodd said.
He declined to specify why he believes Warren might have difficulty winning Senate support, saying, that’s “what I’m picking up.”
Via Reuters

Talk about trying to stick the knife in the back of a nomination.

Elizabeth Warrens don’t come around everyday. The opportunity to put both the Administration and the Senate to the test of exactly who they stand with does not come along everyday.We simply can’t let this moment pass us by.  If Elizabeth Warren is nominated by the Administration by taking advantage of language in the financial reform law that suggests the Treasury Secretary can make an interim appointment to this job without submitting it to Congress, it will only mean that Obama has bailed out the Senate so that they might avoid the wrath of their bank contributors.The good news, of course, would be the appointment of Prof. Warren. The bad news would be another instance of the President passing up another opportunity to show the public who he sides with and who those senators are that are with the special interests.

And if the President fails to nominate Elizabeth Warren? In my opinion, this would be one of his most significant political errors to date.


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  1. collapse expand

    Well said. It is a defining moment and one this Administration can’t spin into a win if they do not appoint her.

    You watch: if her appointment doesn’t go through, bank stocks will skyrocket just as the health insurance companies’ stock did after healthcare “reform” was passed.

  2. collapse expand

    This is another very cogent analysis. Watching this battle will be better than a bankster perp-walk. If the President throws Prof. Warren under the bus, we all lose. If he goes back door with her appointment we will be less able to define the hypocrisy of our political princes like Mr. Dodd.

    Yes,”What a moment!”

  3. collapse expand

    It is uplifting to read such precise analysis. It will be similarly depressing if Obama takes the low road and caries water for the likes of Chris Dodd.

  4. collapse expand

    I just want to see this administration do the right thing — I’m so tired of making allowances for Obama and his crew, but like the posters before me, I’m afraid he’s going to muck this one up too. But hey, thanks for your take on this, and thank you too for putting your 2-cents-worth in for the CORRECT person for the job!

  5. collapse expand

    Rarely does a president of the United States receive an opportunity to nominate a superb individual to direct a meaningful federal effort. Why? Because so many superb individuals eschew government service, and because so many presidents lack the sense to understand the electoral value of truly superb appointees.

    “Inmyhumbleopinion,” commenting on Mr. Ungar’s posting, calls the Warren appointment a new opportunity for President Obama to take advantage of a “defining moment” in his alleged effort to remake government for the people. A defining moment indeed. So far, Obama has failed too many tests of political courage when faced with defining moments. What about this time?

    • collapse expand

      All due respect, this is really a silly article written by someone who wishes to take a contrary position and can’t come up with much. I mean, I’m obviously a supporter of Warren and I could do a better job pouring cold water over than this guy did. His two concerns — will Warren so effectively clamp down that she will hurt people when they need credit and does she have the personality to run an agency are…well..just dumb. His first concern reveals that he doesn’t understand the new agency. I mean, “Will rich people only be able to buy houses?” Please..this law doesn’t answer that question. However, it does say that mortgage bankers and brokers will not be able to commit fraud, lie to their customers and do everything under the sun to talk people into a mortgage they can’t afford. As for the second point, I don’t know Prof. Warren personally —and neither does this writer. Can you ever remember a time when someone asked “But does he/she have the personality for the job?” when someone is seated before a Senate panel in a confirmation hearing?
      I’m sure there are those who can make a case against Warren-this writer clearly isn’t one of them.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    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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