Elizabeth Warren - Obama Stretching a Triple Into a Single
by Bob Brigham, Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 06:35:26 PM EDT
Today's Friday Afternoon News Dump from the White House was the official announcement by President Obama that Elizabeth Warren would not be appointed to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Instead, Warren was appointed as an assistant to the President and special adviser to Timothy Geithner (i.e. answer to both Rahm and Geithner instead of being an independent voice for consumers).
What this means for policy remains to be seen. Yves Smith lays out a strong case that this is the sidelining of Warren:
However, the end game seems obvious: keep her in orbit through mid-terms to prevent a hissy fit from her many fans, then name a more bank friendly permanent director (the argument no doubt being that her effectiveness is compromised by her not being confirmed, and with the odds high that the elections will put more Republicans in Senate seats, the Administration will argue its hands are tied).
While what this means from a policy standpoint remains to be seen, this is very clearly a total loss when it comes to the politics of the matter. Obama ducked a fight where the GOP would have had to defend Wall Street ripping off consumers, just before the election. This was a fight Democrats wanted -- Democrats needed -- yet Obama let the GOP off the hook. It was a squandered opportunity.
UPDATE: Quick thought exercise: In the 24 hours since the Friday afternoon announcement, in how many senate races has there been local media coverage on whether the GOP nominee supports Elizabeth Warren or defends allowing Wall Street to swindle consumers?