September 17, 2010

Enter Elizabeth Warren

Ah, things are picking up Nation, well sort of…as the well-known consumer advocate and ardent defender of America’s middle class gets tapped by Obama to head the formation of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Gotta admit it, I kind of like Elizabeth Warren.

But if you’re also as cynical realistic as me you may also suspect the move to be more of an electoral Hail Mary to entice Democrats to the polls in November than anything having to do with actual consumer and financial protection. Her tenure will not be the five-years given to those nominees confirmed by the Senate. Indeed, as reported today by Shahien Nasiripour in The Huffington Post, Obama “isn't expected to name a nominee for the directorship for months, sources say.” Months??? And, despite her “enthusiastic” acceptance in what the NY Times has deemed a “folksy” attempt to promise the rest of us that she'll fight for yummy table scraps, Warren also reportedly did not even want the job.

Thus, as Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism puts it, “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.” Warren’s public criticism and clash with Timothy Geithner, as well as comments made about her by Senator Dodd, seem indeed to have fated her years ago. “Perhaps she believes she still has a bully pulpit and can embarrass the Administration into doing the right thing,” writes Smith. “But it will take a very thick skin for her to follow that course of action.” More like steel plated armor and an angry mob following behind her, I say.

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