A Wall Street Journal report suggests that Elizabeth Warren might wind up getting nominated to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau despite fierce Congressional opposition because other possible nominees have turned down the job, in many cases because they want Warren to have it:
White House officials seeking someone to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have so far failed to find a nominee, with several candidates rebuffing the administration’s overtures, according to people familiar with the process.
One concern of some: That accepting would undercut Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor and consumer advocate who is currently a special adviser to the president charged with setting up the bureau. She remains a hugely popular figure among many Democrats and anathema to many Republicans.
Many on the left want Ms. Warren, a longtime critic of the financial industry who pushed to create the consumer protection agency, to become its director….
That deadline could result in the White House nominating Ms. Warren, now a special adviser to the president charged with setting up the bureau. She is believed to want the job but her candidacy likely would trigger a Senate confirmation battle. President Barack Obama could avoid that fight by appointing her during a congressional recess before July 21.
I’d be delighted to be proven wrong, since I do think Warren is the best choice, but I see the odds of this happening as zero:
1. Obama is moving further and further to the right. As Glenn Greenwald points out:
Like most first-term Presidents after two years, Obama is preoccupied with his re-election, and perceives — not unreasonably — that that goal is best accomplished by adopting GOP policies. The only factor that could subvert that political calculation — fear that he could go too far and cause Democratic voters not to support him — is a fear that he simply does not have: probably for good reason. In fact, not only does Obama not fear alienating progressive supporters, the White House seems to view that alienation as a positive, as it only serves to bolster Obama’s above-it-all, centrist credentials
2. A Warren nomination would be over Geithner’s dead body. He has succeeded in extending his influence beyond that of a typical Treasury secretary; he has no reason to have a media-genic regulator crossing swords with him (as Warren would).
Just as CEOs tend to be chosen based on selection criteria that are artificially narrow, so to are candidates for major bureaucratic roles often chosen for their glittering resumes when candidates who are less flashy but have germane experience can often rise to the occasion. There are no doubt other choices once his recruiting team starts to cast its net wider, and that’s the far more logical route for them to go than a Warren recess appointment.