Monday, July 18, 2011

The Elizabeth Warren Case

So she did not get Obama's nomination to lead the agency she created, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, despite clearly wanting that nomination.

Try to twist your thinking brain around that! Someone is good enough to create the whole concept but not good enough to run the agency. What did she do wrong? Whom did she anger? Why did nobody have her back?

I want to stay on that emotional level at first, because what happened to Warren is humiliating and insulting. No other way to look at it. But what happened to her is also a good example of the way American politics now work:

Wall Street doesn't like her because she wants to defend the consumers against Wall Street. And the Republicans don't like her because she wants to defend the less wealthy against the wealthy. The president doesn't like her because she is the proverbial sacrifice on his altar of bipartisanship. (Women so very often have turned out to be that sacrifice, by the way, although I have no idea if Warren would have fared any better with the first name Ed.)

Now to the practical political analysis: Warren was not nominated because the Republicans (and other friends of banksters) wouldn't vote for her. Better to have a functioning agency than years of nomination fights, right? Except that Obama nominated someone with pretty much the same views, Richard Cordray, and if it is the views the Republicans don't like he won't have the votes, either. If, against this prediction, Cordray sails through the nomination process I would call Warren's treatment very clear sexism.

I'm not sure what to make of this pieces:
From the AFL-CIO to the Consumer Union, few liberal groups have expressed anything but the mildest of disappointment that their heroine did not get the job.
Warren herself, who very much wanted to head the agency she conceived and has been building, put out a statement on Sunday supporting Cordray. She followed it up on Monday with an article backing the decision on Huffington Post, a liberal outlet that had crusaded for her nomination.


“She is playing extremely well with others right now,” said one close observer of the process who declined to be identified by name because he continues to work with the administration and CFPB. The White House did not immediately response to a request for comment.
One school of thought holds that Warren’s warm support came in return for White House assurances of assistance in a possible campaign against Republican Scott Brown (R-Mass.) next year. Senior Democrats have indeed suggested that Warren could count on such support.
But it is not at all clear that such a campaign will ever materialize.
For one thing, it is not clear that Warren, now on leave from Harvard Law School to serve on the White House staff, is inclined to run. And while the financial industry is not happy with Brown for what they see as his failure to fight against new limits on debit card swipe fees, bankers would certainly prefer him to Warren, meaning he would raise massive amount of money off her candidacy.
“If [Warren] runs, Brown will be opening bank accounts in the Caymans to hold all the financial industry cash that will flow his way,” said one industry executive.
Said another: “Banks are furious at Brown over [debit card] interchange. But they would never support Warren.”

Well, I was just pretending not to know there. I did notice "the heroine" and the "now plays well with others" comments and put them in the box they belong to. I also noticed that Massachusetts elections are decided by what the banksters think and do. Indeed, elections under the current political financing system are often decided by what the people with money think and do. That's why it's not surprising that someone who created a consumer protection agency would not be allowed to run it, after all. The principle surely is to nominate the fox to guard the chicken coop, though that will take some time to arrange.

But it is still very insulting to Warren.