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Obama to Make Recess Appointment of Richard Cordray to Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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I have not seen this hit the news wires, but got this via Lisa Epstein, in turn from Our Financial Security, which is part of the Center for American Progress, which is a heavyweight Democrat think tank (with of course a whole list of talking points to rebut Republican kvetching about the use of a recess appointment).

This move raises the obvious question: why didn’t Obama make a recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren, either back in the day when she was the de facto head, or after getting her out of the limelight for a bit (so that the Republicans would be less likely, as turned out to be the case, to engage in procedural gamesmanship to thwart a recess installation)? We had discusses this at the time, but the major reasons seemed to be: 1. Obama was never going to do anything that would seriously ruffle the banks, given that that they are a major source of campaign funds; 2. Even if Obama had a weak moment in which he was tempted to ignore consideration 1 (as in Warren might persuade banks that what was good for consumers might be good for them too), an Warren appointment would be over Geithner’s dead body, and Obama was and is dependent on Geithner; and 3. Having Warren run for the Scott Brown seat is useful to the Dems (the Dems lacked a really strong alternative in Mass, she pulls money from other Republican campaigns, and she is likely to become a largely non-threatening ornament).

Regardless of the motives, this move proves yet again what Obama’s real priorities are, and they ain’t you and me. Cordray was opportunistic in his anti-bank moves in Ohio and is no substitute for Warren.

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87 comments

  1. Joe

    What if the game all along was to help Warren get a Senate seat? If that’s true, it makes Obama’s actions look a lot better.

    1. Phil Perspective

      But was that really what Warren wanted? Now she has to speak on a whole host of topics, while before she could just focus on the banksters. Is Elizabeth Warren going to know enough to know that attacking Iran is even more of a fool’s errand than invading Iraq was?

      1. nowhereman

        So what would he or Elizabeth accomplish by coming right out and stating this, other than your vote, that is.
        You must remember that in order for this to be accomplished, you have at least to get elected, and to get elected you need to survivr the campaign.
        The first candidate to openly comit ot bankster prosecutions, is the first candidate to be assassinated. It happened before, it will happen again.

          1. aletheia33

            @lambert,
            thanks for the old piece. as i watch the connecticut every day (ice spreading well with a dusting of snow on it at the moment), it’s especially welcome.

            elizabeth warren was quoted on this blog awhile back as having said that stopping terrorism of course must be our number 1 priority. she’s made her choice. thanks, i’m not interested.

    2. Elizabeth Cook

      There’s that mythical, 11th dimensional chess that Obama is offended credited with, apparently because he isn’t capable of earning points legitimately, like doing the right thing for the people as opposed to Wall Street.

      1. Ming

        Obama is like the finance industry, all sound and fury & complexity and obscurity, signifying nothing.

        Obama will have earn rich returns ‘consulting’ for the finance industry when the .01% decides he should retire from government.

    3. Stephen Nightingale

      She’s in for the Senate to give her seasoning for her run as the first credible female candidate for President. Ideally 2016. Otherwise Christie gets 2 terms.

  2. Cat

    Given this I would only vote for Obama if my state was a swing state, but luckly it isn’t so I can skip voting for him and keep my principals.

    1. Tony

      This is exactly what I’m planning to do. Obama is likely to win in my state, so I’ll be voting for the Peace and Freedom candidate.

        1. tom allen

          Aren’t we in Romneyworld already? With Romneycare, Wall Street genuflection, austerity forever, indefinite detention, and all the rest?

          1. Nathanael

            There seems to be no substantive difference between Obama and Romney policies, indeed. Same health care plan, for one thing.

            And they’re both equally dishonest. I have no idea what Romney will do, because he’s taken both sides of every issue and blatantly lied, but then I have no idea what Obama will do either, since he lied about practically everything he promised too.

            Of course, being in a “safe state”, my vote doesn’t actually matter anyway. Maybe the “Rent is Too Damn High” guy will run.

        1. Anonymous Jones

          I have tried all my life to avoid principles.

          Unfortunately, I was a complete failure in avoiding the principal (or the assistant principal).

          Homophone jokes! Can’t get enough of them!

  3. charles sereno

    Elizabeth Warren will be most vulnerable as a senate candidate on her position on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. She was deliberately not given a recess appointment and thrown to the wolves in order to introduce her to the real world. Of course, I hope she wins and becomes more of an ornament than Barack.

  4. Hugh

    “Why didn’t Obama make a recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren?”

    That’s a rhetorical question, right? What you have to keep in mind about Warren is that she is at best a moderate conservative, except in the one area of consumer finance where she is more of an Establishment liberal, that is she is for some reform in the financial system but no major restructuring of it. And that was too much for Obama. Warren simply illustrated how deeply conservative and corporatist Obama really is.

    As for Warren being the best Democratic candidate in Massachusetts, think about that for a while. Massachusetts always has the rep of being the most liberal state in the country, by far, and Warren, a moderate conservative with some consumerist tendencies is the very best the Democratic party could do there. Doesn’t that just show how bought and paid for the Democratic party has become that Warren now represents its “left” wing?

    1. liberal

      Sure, that’s MA’s rep, but is there really data indicating it’s so?

      They’ve had Republican governors recently, for example.

  5. abelenkpe

    “Cordray was opportunistic in his anti-bank moves in Ohio…”

    He made anti bank moves? And now he’ll have a position of power to regulate the financial industry? And this is bad? Or just not good enough?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t have the blow by blow, I am relying on the views of people who are on top of state politics. After I put up the post, I got this message from a lawyer who is on the forefront of mortgage litigation:

      Cordray is a pure political person and will make whatever compromises he can to push his own career forward. I am not saying he is owned by the banks. He is just more of a player than a real consumer advocate.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      It’s not only not good enough, it’s bad.

      What part of fake reform don’t you get. Can’t you imagine a tactic whereby someone pretends to go after something for the purpose of protecting that target?

      Don’t you see that the Democrats and Obama are doing this with financial reform? Obama calls them fat cats and pretends to be pursuing them and the fat cats pretend to be running in horror. In actuality, Obama and the fat cats are working together. It’s a game.

      It’s probable that Cuordory engages in the same game. Why would Obama have chosen him otherwise?

      You’re not cynical enough. Obama and the entire political system has earned our distrust. One must assume the pols are working for the fat cats and are insincere about reform. You’re a sucker if you believe the con.

      1. Nathanael

        Well, if it makes you feel any better, the fake reforms are too-little-too-late, so they won’t have the effect intended. Public outrage will roll onward….

  6. sleeper

    This whole thing is typical of how Mr. Obama works.

    If there is a difficult subject i.e. the less than 50 state / mortgage fraud thing, the Health insurance deal, the Brazilian sugar cane payoff, the business of keeping the Bush era US Attorneys the deficit deals etc. Obama first cuts a deal, then generates a good bit of heat and light either by himself or through his republican surrogates, then backs off to let things cool down and finally announces his previously made deal.

    This is exactly what is being done to the less than 50 state
    discussions.

    A bit of a guess at how this will play out -

    An agreement has been made – most likely a deal that includes the limiting of liabilities for the banks including the issue of title and title possession, a small payment ($1,000 ?) to the distressed parties (the folks that were foreclosed on, the deal is in place but the announcement will be put off till an opportune moment (in the Bush days this would have been a Friday).

    And then the media will gin things up – “the banks are crucial to our way of life”, “Maybe some some mistakes but no criminal intent”, and even the old threat “if we (the banks) don’t get our way we’ll freeze the credit markets” which was so clearly enunciated by our dear friend the mayor of new york .

    I had hope that mr. Obama would have the backbone to right the wrongs, to put firm hand on the rudder and steer us from this nefarious crony capitalism.

    Ah, hope springs eternal fro the human heart.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Excellent observation. Also notice how he prolongs the deal until the last minute and threatens to scuttle everything unless he gets his way. He just did it with the defense act–he argued the troops would have funding yanked out from under them unless he signed the flawed bill . . . . He did it with the Bush tax cuts as well–using the sunset provision as a threat. Same thing with the debt showdown last summer.

  7. Blurtman

    “Why didn’t Obama make a recess appointment of Elizabeth Warren?”

    1.) Timmay said “No!”
    2.) Undeveloped can kicking skills.
    3.) She actually knows something.
    4.) All of the above

  8. Herman Newticks

    Obama could have appointed Cordray yesterday, in the true recess between the 2 halves of the 112th congress. He didn’t. He chose to do it today, a time where there is no precedent. This is calculated to raise an unholy sh!tstorm and position him as defender of the consumer against the evil GOP. But it also makes it the case that Cordray will serve through the end of 2013, rather than through the end of 2012.

    1. securecare

      This is calculated to raise an unholy sh!tstorm and position him as defender of the consumer against the evil GOP

      BINGO !

      The trap the Republicans have walked themselves into is begining to close around them.

      There will be more and more of this type of action as the November election gets closer. Gonna be a very special year so pay attention.

      “…it’s the end of the world as we know it…” – REM

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Bingo, indeed, “An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.” (T.S. Eliot)

        No matter how sickening, you must respect Obama’s political skills.

        1. roaring mouse

          Bless Obama for appointing those folks to start working to make sure I’m being treated fairly by my payday lenders.

        2. Nathanael

          I did respect Obama’s political skills in 2008.

          Then he turned out to be much dumber than I thought.

          All he needed to do was to make sure people got the bread and circuses. Crushing his enemies (the Republican leaders) under his boot might have helped, too. He managed to do *neither*, squandering political power.

          Most rules would have known enough to use their political power to crush their enemies, and to enhance it by giving the people bread and circuses. But he was apparently too stupid to do either.

  9. fti9999

    I generally am a fan of this site–and will continue to be.

    However, it appears that the issue regarding the Recess Appointment is a bit more complicated than the general take that Obama is a corporatist capitalist politician in bed with Wall Street and the Big Banks who doesn’t care about you and me. Or if you read the Right’s angle, a fascist, socialist, marxist, communist, muslim, racist, affirmative action, Kenyan born anti-american, anti-christ who seeks to make us all dependent on the government through welfare and food stamps.

    See Huffpost article on the issue regarding Recess Appointments and pro forma Senate sessions — and the pending alleged Constitutional Crisis that some suggests has emerged at the appointment.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/04/richard-cordray-obama-recess-appointment-cfpb_n_1183225.html

    1. Foppe

      Sorry, but you’ll have to be more specific than vaguely citing an article that says nothing to support your suggestion that “something more is going on” than election-year politics.

    2. Paul Tioxon

      fti9999
      Your eyes do not deceive you. It’s tough getting beyond facile polemics about genuflection to corporate masters, banksters, hackrocrats, and assorting sniffling of poxes on both the homes to the lesser evils. It is an excellent site, except when you get to certain sore spots. Some day, we will know the rest of story about the Obama-rama hate fest, but until that day, patience is urged for the bewildered.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Hate fest, my sweet Aunt Fanny. 10% nominal (20% real) DISemployment is all the “rest of the story” I need, guy. Although bonus points for assassinating US citizens without due process!

    3. Walter Wit Man

      You are totally wrong. Cock-sure, but wrong.

      The Huffington Post article does not support your argument. It supports the exact opposite argument!

      The Huffington Post article points out that the administration argues the games the Republicans were playing to prevent a recess appointment were bullshit (keeping the Senate in session). So Obama decided to ignore their games and just do it.

      But he could have appointed Warren months ago using this same logic-when the Senate was playing games with Warren by keeping the Senate in pro forma session.

      Plus, wasn’t the Senate just in recess? Couldn’t he have simply done a normal recess appointment?

      No, you aren’t cynical enough about Obama my friend. He (and the entire Democratic party, really), is probably using this ham handed “recess” appointment as a poison pill, hoping it’s unconstitutional or sows the seeds of doubt about the organization. At least he’s using it as political posturing.

      Whatever the case, Obama’s use (or lack thereof) of his recess appointment powers indicts hims as the corporate tool he really is. In fact, this whole sorry excuse for financial reform indicts him.

  10. Peter T

    I see motive 2. as most likely. Geithner and Warren would have to work together, and Geithner can’t.

    Why not just exchange Geithner? Geithner’s economic policies probably suit Obama (he’s the only one left of his economic advisers), and by keeping bank men around him, Obama signals the banks that he won’t go after them (motive 1). Considering how much banker’s hate (= money for Scott Brown) Warren is exposed to, Obama could expect to have the full money gun directed against himself in the presidential election if he had nominated her.

    Ceterum censeo, get money out of politics, by constitutional amendment.

  11. jesse e

    I always love reading this blog whenever something happens- like today’s recess appointments – that so objectively and demonstrably contradicts Smith’s iron-clad assumptions about Obama The Terrible. There is something delightfully entertaining about watching Smith twist herself into such knots, trying to squeeze such an unambiguously pro-consumer, pro-labor square peg into her preset “Obama-is-a-bankster-puppet” round hole.

    Never mind that Elizabeth Warren herself praised Cordray’s appointment in the strongest possible terms; never mind that labor leaders are cheering the three new NLRB members; never mind that Obama’s decision has and will be met with universal opposition from Republicans, Banks, the Chamber of Commerce and pretty much every other advocate of the corporate status quo. Somehow, for Smith, none of that matters. To the contrary, she tells us: “this move proves yet again what Obama’s real priorities are, and they ain’t you and me”
    .
    Then again, it is Smith – not Obama, Geithner or Cordray – who spent 25 years working for Goldman Sachs and the finance industry. So maybe she’s right: Obama’s priorities are not her own. But, at least today, they’re certainly mine.

    1. Foppe

      Never mind that Elizabeth Warren herself praised Cordray’s appointment in the strongest possible terms

      Just like Warren also “praised” Obama’s choice to put forward someone who was “confirmable” by the Senate. Yeah, you’re quite the astute observer alright.

      1. jesse e

        Not sure what you’re implying here. Are you saying that Warren’s praise today of the recess appointment is somehow insincere (hence the scare quotes)? Or that her praise should be discounted because Obama was wrong about Cordray’s confirmability? Or what?

    2. jesse e

      I just want to clarify that I actually agree with 60-80 percent of this blog’s criticism of Obama’s economic policies. While I tend to reject the usual attribution of motives in those posts – i.e. that Obama and Co. are doing X out of a desire to help their banker/corporate buddies, rather than a good faith but wrongheaded belief in X’s merits – it is still the case that, more often than not, I actually agree with Smith’s policy critique. Indeed, my general appreciation of this blog is part of what makes posts like the one above so annoying, since it seems to betray a complete inability to view Obama in particular and politics in general for what they are: complex and often contradictory, reflecting motives and priorities that simply cannot be reduced to a single narrative frame

      1. Peter T

        I support that. I disagree with most of Obama’s bank-friendly policies, but he is not entirely bad, just trying to navigate himself to a second term.

        1. Maximilien

          My psycho-analysis of Obama:

          1. He is lazy. He wants achievements without effort.
          2. He has a pathological desire to be liked. During his ’08 campaign he wanted to be liked by the people. Now that he is in office he wants to be liked by all the big shots he rubs shoulders with.
          3. He will say or do anything to be liked. That makes him lie all the time.
          4. He is not even honest with himself. He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of absolutely nothing (see #1). That makes him a hypocrite.

          All in all, not “entirely bad” as you say. But in my books, bad enough by far.

          1. Anonymous Jones

            I try so hard to stay out of these off-the-rail discussions of Obama. Shocking to discover that a president of country that crosses three time zones and includes hundreds of millions of people with diametrically opposed views on how society should be run does a few things you find personally abhorrent!!!

            But seriously, the ‘lazy’ comment. Like the ‘stupid’ comment.

            If Obama is either lazy or stupid, then the terms lazy and stupid have lost almost all relative meaning.

            You do understand that, right? If he is lazy and stupid, that means that we probably need new words to describe the 99.9% of the people in this country who are both lazier and stupider than this man. [Oh, I know, I know, you are part of that amazing 0.1% who is both smarter and more industrious than this man who is an excellent public speaker and works almost every waking hour of the day. I know. Don't get your panties in a twist. You are special, and the greatest, just like your mom told you.]

            I cannot believe that people don’t see this for the comical, asinine commentary that it is. Oh well. I know it’s not going to stop, so why say anything at all?

            I don’t like Obama. I don’t like any career politicians. I think Obama probably did waste a prime opportunity to help the 99% and I do think he is probably predisposed to thinking he is part of the elite class and wants to conserve the current power and wealth structure. That doesn’t mean all negative commentary on the man and his policies is accurate or deserving. Those are two different things. The people who cannot see that are just as much a problem as Obama, as they help to perpetuate a world where honest, rational discussion cannot move forward and create better policies for all of us.

          2. tom allen

            Shorter Anonymous Jones: “What’s a little indefinite detention, drone assassination, or total capitulation to Wall Street among friends? Let’s stop bickering about who lied to who. This is supposed to be a happy occasion!”

          3. Anonymous Jones

            The Obamatron computer clearly has a glitch in its code and is spitting out nonsense talking points!

            It somehow dropped the “more than” in front of the “three time zones.” And if you include Kenya as being native soil now, then we’re really talking about spanning the globe!

            Just kidding. Mea culpa.

          4. Nathanael

            “I think Obama probably did waste a prime opportunity to help the 99% ”

            This makes him stupid or crazy. It’s Power 101 for a leader to take a prime opportunity to help the 99%, because *they are loyal* if you do so.

            I guess you’re right, stupid is less likely than crazy. The pathological need to be liked is inherently crazy, and it does explain practically all of Obama’s bad behavior.

            There we have it. Obama is crazy.

        2. securecare

          just trying to navigate himself to a second term

          EXACTLY !

          Some things are just as simple as they seem.

          I’m wondering what the Republican string pullers are trying to cook up so as to create chaos during his second term to keep him from being successful doing what he desires. They were very successful during Clinton’s second term doing such.

      2. Fiver

        Nonsense. You cannot point to a single important area where Obama has moved the Public Interest Ball 1 micron forward and plenty where major ground has been ceded, often putting up no opposition whatever.

        He has immense power. He could’ve readily taken actions required to kneecap Wall Street and crush Republicans for a generation with overwhelming public support, but instead has actually expanded on Bush’s crimes through his own huge abuses of power, sins of both commission and omission.

        1. sleepy

          Absolutely agree.

          Obama was the biggest waste of political capital in my lifetime. He had the opportunity to be great handed to him on a silver platter.

    3. Walter Wit Man

      Oh what sound and fury in defense of the indefensible. It must be election season again . . . . .

      Obama has bailed out the banks to the tune of about $30 Trillion.

      And done nothing to fix the mortgage crisis from the bottom up, instead suckering people with false hope.

      He’s failed to prosecute corporate fraud and is allowing the too big to fail banks to get bigger.

      Shit, Obama has been a horror show of one right wing policy after another . . . .

      and you want to shower praise on him because he finally agreed to do a recess appointment (appointing someone who was specifically chosen to be more acceptable to the bankers, mind you), as head of an agency that does not regulate the financial system in a meaningful way. And you think this meager action allows you to prance around doing an Obama victory dance?

      Jeez, the Obama propaganda is getting bad. Victory dances for this shit? He’s worse than Bush! He’s a Romney clone. He’s working for the same evil pricks the Republicans are working for.

      Obama is the Wall Street candidate. This was not his “good” day or a “good” thing he did.

      1. jesse e

        (This sh*t is so ridiculous I don’t even know why I bother. Oh well, what the heck…)

        -800 billion dollar stimulus package (largest by any democrat in any era by any metric. period.)

        -health care bill that will provide BILLIONS in subsidies to middle and low-income Americans so they can afford to pay for medical care that will SAVE THEIR LIVES.

        -Passed sweeping financial regulation and set up the CFPB- the very agency that everyones’ hero, Elizabeth Warren, has been advocating for for years.

        -Saved Auto Industry

        -Passed Lily Ledbetter; repealed DADT; passed major new environmental regs (including latest on mercury) over the howls of industry that will, again, SAVE LIVES; appointed two reliable liberals to Supreme Court and tripped number of female justices; etc etc etc etc etc etc.

        Yes, the stimulus wasn’t big enough; Yes, ACA wasn’t progressive enough; Yes Dodd-Frank wasn’t strong enough (but to say it didn’t regulate bankers “in any meaningful way”, as you claim, then why are banks/republicans so fiercely determined to dismantle it? honestly, arguments like this are so pathetically easy to knock down, I’m not sure why you even make them).

        Argue that the glass is half empty instead of half full. Argue that it’s 40 percent, or 30 percent, or even 20 percent empty. At least you’ll be in the proximity of reasonableness; at least you’ll be in the ballpark.

        But to say that Obama has accomplished NOTHING? That he is a right-wing Romney clone?? To make that argument, in the face of all the aforementioned accomplishments, which, flawed as they are, WOULD NEVER HAVE EVEN HAPPENED under a Republican administration- it betrays the most unreflective, illogical kind of political mind, Or, put more bluntly, makes you sound like an effing moron.

        1. YankeeFrank

          So what you’re saying is that Obama has done a lot of great stuff, but that stuff wasn’t so great. My problem with that meme is that the stuff he’s done have actually cemented the corrupt industries in place he was supposedly “fixing”:

          A. health care “reform” has a few decent things like kids can stay on their parents insurance (if they have insurance in the first place of course) and supposedly not being dropped when you get really sick. However, it forces all of us to purchase private health “insurance” that will have extremely high deductibles with insufficient subsidies so I will wind up paying $500/month for a policy with a $10k deductible, meaning I cannot afford to use said “insurance”, but I will have to afford the $6k/year payments. Great job!

          B. Dodd/Frank is weak tea that was left hollow so it could be gutted behind the scenes and did nothing to really stem the tide of corruption in finance. He hasn’t prosecuted any banksters for fraud. Zilch.

          On civil liberties he is the worst president in history, asserting the right to unilaterally assassinate American citizens at will, and just signed a law allowing for indefinite detention of American citizens by the military.

          Sure Romney wouldn’t bother with even these meager reforms but in many ways they are worse than doing nothing — again, they cement in place all of the bad things about the industries they supposedly “fix”. So please save it for the naive or those who just refuse to believe how shit Obama really is. Yes the republican might be marginally worse, but an argument can be made that they would be less able to do things like gut SS, medicare, privatize education and destroy our civil liberties (Nixon goes to China yadda yadda). Obama is a neoliberal nightmare doing almost all the wrong things to fix the country. And what’s sick is during the ’08 campaign he diagnosed our ills expertly and discussed many of the correct policies to fix things very well. He is so full of shit its coming out my ears. I will not be voting for preznit this year, nor probably anytime in the future, as I don’t really think it matters anymore. We’re headed for a big crash and until that happens its all just fiddling at the margins. I could make a solid argument that electing a republican will get us there faster, but I don’t really believe our “leaders” will grab onto sound ideas in the aftermath of the crash either. Its the end of the US empire. The vested corrupt interests will not be budged. It took a hundred years for Rome to collapse, but in our era probably 25 years tops. Our influence is already collapsing. Obama is obviously not the cause of our troubles but he hasn’t got the guts to buck the tide in the slightest.

          1. Nathanael

            Actually, Romney would have passed the exact same health care plan — we know because he did in Massachusetts.

        2. jake chase

          Here we go, ObamaMan as the lesser evil! And it’s only January 5. How I love it when things go exactly as I expected. In two or three months he will progress from LesserEvil to AbeLincoln. Now if he would just free the debt slaves.

        3. Walter Wit Man

          Your calculus is extremely messed up. No rational political actor that is to the left of Joe Lieberman should support the Democrats or Obama.

          Obama is worse than Bush. Demonstrably and horribly worse than Bush.

          The positives you list are either wrong (as in the claim ACA provides billions in subsidies and SAVES LIVES–that’s a LIE–more money will be taken away than will be provided, and ACA is already costing us lives), or misleading (the largest stimulus in history was just like the Bush stimulus before it: trickle down, mostly tax cuts, right-wing type stimulus*).

          One other critical claim is horribly wrong, your claim that Obama is SAVING LIVES with his environmental regulation. Actually, he has been worse than Bush when it comes to promulgating industry friendly rules. See this blog post about the Center for Progressive Reform report, “Behind Closed Doors at the White House: How Politics Trumps Protection of Public Health, Worker Safety and the Environment.” Click through to the actual report in PDF to see how Cass Sunstein has been Obama’s industry man that quietly kills regulation for industry. He’s more successful than Bush because Obama’s partisan supporters run interference for him and cover up his crimes.

          Check out this story, one out of many from the report, involving Obama’s refusal to protect our air quality:

          “As just one example of the impact of this disturbingly secretive process, consider the participation of William Daley, President Obama’s Chief of Staff, in OIRA deliberations that eventually compelled EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to promulgate a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone pollution that she had described as “legally indefensible” only a few months earlier.1″

          If you follow the footnote, the articles (and this) tell a damning story about this White House and and it’s blatant disregard for our air quality. It’s also an amazing betrayal of what the White House claimed it stood for. It’s amazing when one realizes this is just the tip of the iceberg too (see deep water drilling, for e.g.).

          Plus, of course, Obama is worse than Bush when it comes to foreign policy, civil liberties, drone killing and secret wars, immigration crackdowns, and the war on drugs. He’s prosecuted more whistle blowers and overall been WORSE than Bush, in myriad ways.

          *The payroll tax cut stimulus is also bad in that it threatens Social Security. Not only that but it adopts Republican PR strategies, i.e. it argues even the common worker deserves tax cuts like the fat cats–just like Bush tried to argue his tax cuts were for everyone–the myth that we all benefit from tax cuts as stimulus, especially the common citizen.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            Amen, Walter and Yankee. Worth repeating, ad nauseum: “Obama is worse than Bush. Demonstrably and horribly worse than Bush.”

            Jesse has a reading comprehension problem. He attributes you as saying “that Obama has accomplished NOTHING”, when you expressly, correctly, stated the opposite: that Obama has achieved a more regressive agenda than Bush. See Hugh’s compilation of Obama’s scandals.

            http://obamascandalslist.blogspot.com/2009/10/table-of-contents.html

            Only a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a Trojan horse could have effected so many wholesale betrayals — by deceit. At this point, I can only believe that defenders of Obama as the lesser evil must be either cult fools or vested shills.

          2. jesse e

            God, where to even begin? Well, let’s see: you’re claim that the 2009 Obama stimulus was “mostly tax cuts” is just utterly, unambiguously false. 288 of the 787 billion was tax cuts; the rest was spending. Divide 288 by 787 and see what percentage you get. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

            Nor were the tax cuts ‘trickle down’, unless you consider all tax cuts trickle down, in which case you’re using the term differently than every other political observer on earth. The vast majority of the tax cuts in the stimulus went to middle/working class Americans. Again, unambiguous facts here.

            Please, explain to me how the ACA is “already costing lives”? Lemme Guess: Death Panels!

            As for your the claim that the OIRA/Sunstein axis of evil makes Obama worse on the environment than Bush…

            The 92 page report you so proudly reference merely states that Obama’s OIRA has changed more rules than Bush’s OIRA. As for whether those changes were more or less industry-friendly, even the AUTHORS THEMSELVES admit they don’t know if that’s true. SEE PAGE 62.

            Still, even if we do assume that Obama’s OIRA is more industry-friendly than Bushes, that doesn’t come close to translating to Obama being worse for the environment than Bush. I’m sorry to be blunt, but you clearly don’t understand the interagency process, which is explained very clearly in the very report you cite. Follow me now:

            -THE OIRA ONLY MAKES CHANGES TO RULES THAT ARE PROMULGATED BY THE EPA

            -THE EPA IS THE AGENCY RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THE RULES IN THE FIRST PLACE.

            So unless you think Lisa Jackson is more industry-friendly than Bush’s EPA directors, the overall enviro rules promulgated by Obama/Jackson must be better than Bush’s, REGARDLESS OF THE EFFECT OF THE SUNSTEIN/OIRA CHANGES.

            In other words: pretty much everything you’ve argued is demonstrably false. And note how I say “false”, not, “you’re a liar”. If you’re going to be wrong, the least you can do is be wrong and polite.

          3. Walter Wit Man

            Some fair points and I’m too tired to respond to all of them.

            But you are hiding behind the complexity of OIRA. It appears to be used as a presidential leash on agency heads. So what good does a Lisa Jackson do if she does not promulgate th the air safety rules she admits the law requires her to promulgate, simply because her boss wants to please business (e.g. via the influence of Sunstein and Daly). Look, the Obama environmental record is awful. Just look at offshore drilling. Read the rest of that report.

            And yeah, there are death panels. They are called health insurance companies. And Obama served their interests more than he served the interests of the American people when he passed ACA. Obama forced American citizens to swim in the shark infested waters that is the private health insurance market–with almost no protection. Most will pay more for a fraudulent and defective product. Only relatively healthy lucky ducky kids get a little benefit and get to go on their parents policy. But they are cheap for the insurance companies and there is little regulation of how much the sharks can charge (nor substantial regulation of what care they have to provide), and they are already using the kids as an excuse to raise premiums. They are raising premiums like they have a license to steal or an antitrust exemption–wait, lo and behold they do have an antitrust exemption!! Because Obama didn’t want to mess with that. He didn’t want to take away their antitrust exemption or the protection they enjoy under ERISA. He didn’t want to regulate how much they can charge in premiums (or the services they have to provide).

            I can go on as to why ACA is a boondoggle and a travesty. Why people ARE DYIING right now and will suffer in the future and why Obamapologists bear a large portion of the blame (we still have millions without health insurance not to mention easy access to health care and ACA doesn’t even try to fix this until 2014–and doesn’t even fix it). We need to start recognizing the damage that will occur. We are already seeing cuts to Medicare and there is pressure being put on the states so that people in many states wills surely see a cut in service to Medicaid. Obama promises an expansion of Medicaid in ACA, at the very time he sets it up to die a death of a thousand cuts. He’s pretending to expand health care when he knows full well it won’t be there and what will be there are the sharks that are actually his bosses. Obama is a shark and he works for the sharks. He’s told us to relax, he’s got this and that he’s throwing us a life preserver. As we swim over to grab on we realize it’s really only a rope tied to a bloody steak and we see Obama laughing hysterically.

            So, yeah, death panels and fake life preservers that are really shark bait.

          4. Walter Wit Man

            And re OIRA and the Clean Air Act rules, you obviously did not read the two article I cited above.

            The Obama administration is mucking up the clean air rules even worse than Bush. It looks like there can be no rules because Obama is mucking it up so that even environmental groups are suing to enforce the Bush rules so there is at least some regulation of our air quality! Let that fact sink in and realize how few liberals or progressives are even aware of this massive betrayal by Obama.

            Jackson was ordered to drop the stricter rules she wanted to have, and which the law required–a unanimous court said economic factors couldn’t be considered and that’s why Jackson said the Bush rules were clearly not valid. But Obama and evidently OIRA overruled her and she was ordered to stop promulgating the rule. There isn’t some administrative law that empowers OIRA to overrule a Clean Air Act rule, as far as I know. This is Obama ignoring the law and failing to protect our air quality to please polluting business. He’s using OIRA as the excuse, the vehicle, but he’s ordering Jackson to do it and she’ s complicit.

  12. mac

    Obama is a zero. He does what ever his handlers decree. Trying to assign motives of his own to actions is pointless, there are none.

  13. Conscience of a Conservative

    Well, I tend to be in the Mike Mayo camp on most issues, but it does seem to me that getting over on the consumer is a recipe for disaster in the financial system and the greater economy, so I have to agree. Obama really f**d up. He should have gone with Elizabeth Warren.

  14. Fiver

    So long as Geithner remains, Obama reports to Wall Street. This appointment will yield marginal visible gains hiding major obscured losses-in-waiting.

  15. Paul Tioxon

    More up is down, night is day political analysis. You could just as easily argue that Liz, whether elected or not to the Senate will push Brown to the left in the Senate now, which is useful on the occasions they can split him away from the Rs for the remainder of his term. You could just as easily argue that Liz can be a serial political entrepreneur, now that the CFPB is up and running, she does not need to be there and can move on to set something else up, like taking back Ted Kennedy’s seat from the Rs and then proposing a blizzard on new legislation and regs from here position there. Or if she loses, she still will attain national status due the high profile nature of the campaignn which looks to be dirty, expensive and media soaked. She can then move into the limelight as an icon pushing another new pet project.

    Oh yea, the appointment of politician who only thinks of his career, just like you and me Yves, promoting ourselves in the only world we live in by the only rules that operate, really, that is your indictment? Obama is dropping the facade of reasonable guy trying to build consensus with this racist crowd of blood thirsty right wing maniacs. His appointment means the agency can get into gear now. Without Warren, it will live, it will regulate, and government intervention into industry after industry is an abrupt change of government policy from the past 30 years. It is change for that reason alone.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Ah, I was wondering when the racist card would get played. Can’t blame the Obama apologists for doing it, of course, I’d do the same if I had a hand like theirs. Still, it gets tiresome.

  16. Spigzone

    Considering Declining Oil has arrived, and Obama cogently addressed Peak Oil during his campaign, and the numerous high level think tank report projects following from that that must have crossed Obama’s desk and considering Obama personally made sure the sociopathic 1%ers that raped and pillaged faced absolutely NO consequences, and that he also made sure no effective legislation passed that would prevent those same soiopathic 1%ers from continuing to rape andpillage EVEN AS the effects of Declining Oil enexorably grind the debt based financial system into dust while the prices of the basics of survival steadily rise, which Obama is also surely totally aware of, and considering Obama not only ‘signed’ the bill that allowed indefinite detention of americans on american soil, but went to the Senate to INSIST that be included inthe bill, and considering Obama by his actions is PIVOTAL to implementing the 1%ers Oligarchic Police State to prepare for the coming breakdown of society HE was directly instumental in bringing about, and considering he can therefore be fairly considered to be directly responsible for the coming mass destitution and suffering, starvation and death that will follow from what that 1% agenda will bring about, Obama can only be a full blown sociopath and easily the most dangerous and destructive single person in this country and by far the worst President this country has ever had the misfortune to experience.

    1. roaring mouse

      Minor quibbles – Peak Oil assumes static extraction technology improvement. This is false, at least by the last 100 years of history. Further, scientists still dont know the specific reaction pathways for the creation of kerogen (crude precursor) or crude. Oil (and NRG) is a relatively small contributor to total household, corporate, and government expenses. Unfunded social programs and unfunded wars are what is bankrupting our nation.

      1. Nathanael

        Bullshit. We know exactly how crude oil is formed.

        And Peak Oil incorporates improved extraction technology in the theory.

        Please get a clue.

    2. jesse e

      haha! awesome parody of a typical Naked Capitalism comment thread/Ron Paul newsletter advert.
      (It is a parody, right? It’s so good, it’s difficult to tell).

  17. willyjsimmons

    I was hoping a post about this would pop up…

    I have a question Yves, on twitter last night I was relayed a quote supposedly from Warren where she states she NEVER wanted the CFPB position. (I guess the quote is from an article from ABC, I wasn’t given a link, and I can’t find it on abcnews)

    Something along the lines of “I never wanted to be a long-term Washington agency head”.

    My question is, is this new framing coming from Warren “true”? Was all the effort pumping up her name for naught? Had you ever heard Warren say this prior to yesterday? That she didn’t want the job?

    What’s funny about all this is, the person who tweeted me this, made it seem like I was the one visiting from Mars…that it was somehow common knowledge that Warren just “agreed to set the CFPB up, not run it”?

    Am I missing something here?

    1. Walter Wit Man

      You are correct.

      Here’s the Wall St. Journal July 18:

      “Mr. Obama chose Mr. Cordray instead of Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard professor who has been setting up the bureau as a special advisor. Ms. Warren, a longtime critic of the financial-services industry, pushed for its creation and is said by those who know her to have wanted the director post.”

      She would have been massively punking Obama if she allowed him to consider her for the position when she didn’t want it. Why did she allow such speculation is she didn’t want it? How many on this site were demanding she get the job?

      I’m guessing she’s putting a brave face on the fact that Obama has her on a very tight leash. She was somewhat humiliated in the process–as was intended.

      Instead of standing by Obama and his sellout she should have kicked him in the nuts and stormed out of the White House and had nothing to do with his corrupt party. Instead, she joined forces with him and is coming up with a lame reinvention of what actually happened.

      1. Dusty

        Obama has given us half-assed shit and called it all reform. His regulatory “agency” is worse than Bush’s as I stated in my post about it and i quote the site that complied the report..it’s not something i pulled out of my ass. It’s a valid site that does good work and yet some of you want to say its all bs..well, its not. Obama Apologists will find anyway they can to protect their guy but on regulations he sucks and he sucks worse than the Shrub ever did. From my post on the subject:
        When a new report states that Obama’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has weakened regulations more than the Bush Administration, I take the time to check it out. The report was complied by the folks at CPR (The Center for Progresive Reform) and here is the link to their report:
        http://www.progressivereform.org/OIRASpecInterests.cfm

        It’s all about Politicizing the process, and Obama has done that real well, whether his apologists want to admit it or not.

        I am glad he put Cordray in his position..but the fact is..we have no ideaa at this point what he will do and who’s side he is going to take on many issues facing his department.

        Thanks to Walter for linking to it here, although i don’t know how much good it does when talking to people that only want to see the ‘good’ he has done or supposidly done.

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Hey Dusty,

          I thought it was a very perceptive catch by you so I’ve linked to your post a couple of other places as well.

          The story above about Obama overruling the head of the EPA and ordering her to not regulate our air quality like she believes the law requires, is but one example. It may be true, as the Obama defender above argues, that we don’t know if OIRA always changed the rule to favor industry. But if this one example is any indication then the presumption is the changes benefited industry. I mean, jeez. They blatantly lobbied Obama’s chief of staff and complained about economic doom and gloom and Obama ignored a unanimous supreme court decision and tried to interject the polluters’ profits into the decision about air quality. He is blatantly defending polluting industry interests and ordering his EPA head to not follow the law. We can only assume OIRA has done other similar dirty work.

          And this story goes largely untold . . . . the Democrats don’t want to touch it, they are in defend Obama-at-all-costs mode. So thanks for pointing the way.

          1. Dusty

            Hey Walter, good to see ya!

            The Corporate Media sure as hell doesn’t do their job on this issue either and that’s why sites like this one and others are important..to get the truth out there. People can argue degrees but facts are facts and they can not be changed.

            You bet your butt the D’s won’t talk about it..its the silly season remember? Elections are all that matter now…to both the D’s and the Corporate Media.

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