Monday, July 18, 2011

Obama Passes on Warren

This isn't too surprising considering picking warren for the agency would have done two things that the Administration seems to abhor, (a) pissing off Republicans, and (b) pissing off the big banks. Ari Berman:
In a Nation article last month, “Disarming the Consumer Cop,” I reported how the bank lobby and its Republican allies in Congress were trying to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) before it goes live on July 21 and prevent Elizabeth Warren from becoming the bureau’s full-time director.

The lobby won a partial victory yesterday, when the Obama Administration shunned Warren and nominated Richard Cordray—a former Ohio Attorney General who was head of enforcement at CFPB—to run the bureau. Cordray has a strong track record of investigating foreclosure fraud and other corporate malfeasance, but he does not have the clout or expertise of Warren. She was the natural pick to run the agency she conceived of and by far the most qualified person for the job. Choosing somebody other than her was a colossal capitulation by the Obama White House.

I’m sure the Obama administration had its reasons for not picking Warren: her appointment might have further inflamed Republicans at a time when Obama needs their support to raise the debt ceiling; she’d complicate his outreach to Wall Street and fundraising strategy for 2012; she wasn’t going to win any popularity contests inside the Treasury Department.

But Warren’s attributes far outweighed her negatives. The administration pushed her out the door at the very moment it needed her the most. She’s the best spokesperson Obama has on economic policy, especially compared to a Wall Street–friendly stiff like Tim Geithner, and has spent her whole life fighting for the middle class, which is the stated priority of the Obama administration. The consumer bureau is the most popular and tangible aspect of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which was the most popular piece of legislation enacted by the administration in its first two years in office.
I don't know much about this guy, but I'm happy he was someone Warren trusted to help her build the organization. I had hoped Warren would get the role because the first director is incredibly important for establishing the culture of a new organization, and frankly there would be no one better for the job. I have mixed feelings about her in a senate run, although with such a bank friendly administration I doubt there are too many other powerful places for her to go (in my dreamworld she would be an amazing attorney general).

Regardless, the CFPB will probably go down as the best thing done by the Obama administration, and I hope that Richard Cordray can get it up and running to it's full, awesome capabilities.


  1. So glad you wrote a post on this! There was an article in the Washington Post today. It pointed out that, "another company with an adjacent natural gas line shut down the line over floodwater concerns, Exxon Mobil did not, a decision the company has since acknowledged was a mistake." So glad big oil companies are still running the show!

  2. opps I commented on the wrong post