Friday evening (last night), along with the rest of the stories that our elected representatives in Washington hope we’ll miss (there’s a reason why they call it the “Friday night news dump”), we learned that it was all but official that Elizabeth Warren would not be appointed as the chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Frankly, despite the truly lame attempts at excuse-making, spin control and revisionist history currently underway (even within this community), anyone who’s been closely following this story, such as Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith and yours truly, is not surprised.
As Yves notes it in the first paragraph of her post (see a few paragraphs down), from just a few hours ago: “Obama was not willing to ruffle the banks, and Geithner, who is the most powerful Cabinet member, would not stand for it.” (Frankly, you really don’t have to look much farther than this quite succinct sentence. “Supporting” an argument to the contrary by quoting a press release, in the face of inconvenient facts, is quite lame, too, IMHO.)
HERE (“Rep. Barney Frank: Obama is Unwilling to Nominate Warren for CFPB Director”) is a link to a video clip, from earlier in the year, where Barney Frank, the House Financial Services Committee’s ranking Democrat (and former committee chair), tells us that President Obama was unwilling—for quite some time--to nominate Elizabeth Warren as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
HERE (“Raskin and Granholm Under Consideration for CFPB Director”) is a link to one of a myriad of stories, from the Spring, of how the administration was putting forth (i.e.: “floating”) the names of virtually everyone other than Elizabeth Warren to head the CFPB.
And, HERE (“Johnson, Krugman, Nocera: Elizabeth Warren Is Getting Thrown Under The Bus”) and HERE (”Economic Truthiness, Implausibility, Deniability and Yves Smith on Elizabeth Warren”) are links to the last two of 17 pieces that I’ve posted within this community on Elizabeth Warren, since early 2009.
On the Rec List, right now, is a diary that’s revising history about the chronology of these events, however (it’s definitely ignoring many inconvenient facts that have brought us to where we are, today, on this matter); it’s simply a lame attempt at spin control, IMHO. If you look at the dates of the above stories, and the factual support for them (and the numerous facts noted in my chronology of these matters over the past couple of years), you’ll see this is self-evident.
Last but not (by any means) least, below is a post from Yves Smith, over at Naked Capitalism, from just a few hours ago, and it’s the completely fact-based story, summed-up quite well.
(NOTE: Naked Capitalism Publisher Yves Smith has provided written authorization to the diarist to reproduce her blog’s posts in their entirety for the benefit of the DKos community.)
Elizabeth Warren Out as Possible Head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
July 16th, 2011 1:32AM
We have said for some time Warren was not going to head the new consumer financial protection agency. Obama was not willing to ruffle the banks, and Geithner, who is is most powerful Cabinet member, would not stand for it. Nevertheless, we are disappointed by this outcome. And it seems a bit churlish for this news to be leaked the day after she ran the gauntlet with the House Oversight Panel. From Bloomberg:President Barack Obama has chosen a candidate other than Elizabeth Warren as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The president’s choice is a person who already works at the consumer agency, the person said today. Obama may make the nomination as soon as next week, another person briefed on the administration’s plans said.
The choice is presumably Raj Date, a former McKinsey staffer and banking industry executive (Capital One and Deutsche Bank) whose name was floated a month ago.
But the Republicans nevertheless lost no opportunity to find opportunities to kick Warren. From FoxNews (hat tip reader Paul Tioxon). In a further sign of how petty and dysfunctional Washington has become, not only have the Republicans said they will approve no one for the CFPB post (and they’ve stymied the approval process for other important government posts) but they are denying pay to any recess appointees to key agencies.
The CFPB was not on the list, which seems curious given that Warren has been a focus of opposition, but given that the tone of the House Oversight Committee grilling of her yesterday was much more restrained than it was in May, perhaps they Republicans have concluded that they have won and too much zeal isn’t a plus (witness the backlash in his district against her chief tormenter, the Representative from Bank of America, Patrick McHenry):The House on Friday approved an amendment to a 2012 energy and water spending bill that would cut off the salaries of recess appointees to several agencies…
The amendment prevents recess appointees at the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Land Management from getting paid. Landry suggested that if payments for recess appointees are suspended it would make the job less attractive to potential takers…
Obama has made 28 recess appointments during his presidency, but that is fewer than previous presidents. President Clinton made 139 recess appointments during his two terms while President George W. Bush made 171 in his first seven years.
The article notes that this amendment has to go through a lot of hurdles to become law. But if it does, I assume that means anyone who’d be a recess appointment would have to be independently wealthy, which the Republicans no doubt assume means they’d be business friendly.
Regardless, this illustrates the Republicans see the Senate approval process as not merely providing advice and consent but as yet another opportunity to drive their political agenda. And while the tension between the Congress and the Executive was designed into the process, differences of degree can and in this case do amount to differences in kind.
In addition to my comments, above, about the quite lame attempt within this community to rewrite history, I’ve also noted that there are a handful of people now running around DKos (since this story broke, in the comments sections of these initial posts) with their heads on fire. I hope, if they make an appearance in the comments to this diary, you’ll call them out as such.
IMHO, this is a sad story. And, having this out there on a Friday night is just another reminder of the short shrift that this brave, brilliant, steadfast and righteous American has received by the status quo, and even from members of our own Party, from day one.
I'm sure, given a choice between being named CFPB Director or running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, Warren would take a good two seconds and decide to opt for the former. Time will tell how this plays out in the end. But, if anyone is naive enough (or, shameless enough to attempt to spin it as such) to think that the same forces that blocked her appointment as CFPB Director aren't already at work undermining any chance she might have to win a senate election in Massachusetts, they're kidding themselves, too.
That’s the way it is these days when you’re one of the few in this “bipartisan” country—at least one of the very few receiving any type of substantive media attention--that really put their asses on the line for the better good of us all.