Obama Still Desperately Seeking Anybody But Warren to Head New Consumer Agency

Posted on by

The Administration is playing true to its craven form. And it isn’t hiding that sorry fact terribly well either.

The latest public-be-damned ploy by the Obama Administration is the floating the name of Raj Date, a former McKinsey consultant and financial services industry executive currently ensconced in the nascent Consumer Financial Protection, as the possible new head of the agency.

Remember the state of play on the nomination of the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That individual is to be in place as of July 21. Even assuming everyone plays nicely, the timetable is now too short to go through the conventional approval process, meaning a recess appointment is the only way to get a permanent leader in place.

The Republicans have taken the stance that they are not prepared to be bound by the law, meaning Dodd Frank, despite the fact that most of what is promised to do was kicked over to studies and rulemaking, which assured it will be watered down to nothingness. 44 Republican Senators wrote a letter saying they won’t approve of any nominee from either party unless the CFPB is gutted reformed. And they are trying to block a recess appointment through the use of a “pro forma” sessions, as they did over the Memorial Day break and presumably will over the July 4 holiday.

But the Republican intransigence works to Obama’s advantage, were he not fundamentally opposed to elevating Warren. He has no excuse for not making a recess appointment. The Republicans’ unwillingness to approve even one of their own legitimates going this route. And the idea of keeping Congress in pro-forma session over its five week holiday later this summer to block one appointment for a critical agency is so absurd that Obama would not look out of line by breaking it (I’m not up on fine procedural details, but my understanding is putting some actual business before Congress during the pro forma session would prove highly disruptive to this strategy).

This jockeying proves yet again how much antipathy both sides have for Warren. And make no mistake about it: the Administration has been clear from the outset that it wants Anybody But Warren in the job.

Team Obama engaged her as an advisor to pretend to the few deluded pro-Obama progressives left in the US that they were serious about reform while getting a mighty inconvenient and popular figure mothballed. But she has embarrassed the Administration by obtusely ignoring its game plan and continuing to look perfectly willing and able to head the agency (notice how the criticisms that she had never run a business and therefore was incapable of building an organization have vanished?). It looked even more foolish when it floated names of possible permanent heads, only to have them say either that they had no interest in the job or that Warren should get it.

The latest attempt for the Administration to get out of the corner it has painted itself in is the Date trial balloon. It’s a sneaky ploy: how can anyone object? Bloomberg, after all, calls him a “former banker“! After McKinsey, he became head of strategy for consumer lender Capital One and later joined Deutsche Bank as a managing director covering financial institutions. But he also headed a think tank (Cambridge Winter Center for Financial Institutions Policy) where among other things he argued against laundering housing market subsidies though the financial system. And Warren picked him to be a senior member of the team, so how bad can he be?

I’ve chatted briefly with Date and seen him make a presentation. He seems perfectly capable in a technocratic way. But he’s not Warren. There is nothing in his background to suggest that he’d be a forceful advocate for consumers. People with a lot of backbone seldom join McKinsey; like Goldman on the investment banking side, it chooses candidates who are bright but insecure enough to work hard and play the game. Although there are exceptions, Date didn’t strike me as one, and people who’ve had more extensive dealings with him confirm my instincts.

So the Obama Administration has finally found someone who is housebroken, has checks in lots of the right boxes (he’s a lawyer, yet another plus), would clearly take the job (if he’s willing to work in the Bureau he’s willing to run it), won’t get a lot of media play and will presumably comply with the wishes of Team Obama, which is not to ruffle the banks. The officialdom hopes Warren will act like a good team player and support Date, ending any objections on the left. The corporate Democratic hacks will fall in line with any official move; the pesky pinko protestariat will have the ground cut out from under it by such a clever step.

Or will it? The Administration and the Republicans have wrong-footed every move they’ve taken so far with her, and I suspect this will prove no different. If Warren is silent on a Date nomination or if Darrell Issa gets his wish and has his colleagues rough up Warren for a full day, this could backfire yet again. Both sides seems utterly oblivious to how popular she is, and all the efforts to cut her down to size simply enhance her stature. And they seem to ascribe very conventional motives to her in their latest schemes to put her out to pasture. Surely she’d like to be a Senator!

The Senate is a classier joint than the House, but after Warren’s tangling with Congresscritters not fit to shine her shoes like Patrick McHenry and the cretinous Ann Marie Buerkle, and having 44 Senators write a nastygram that supposedly about the CFPB that was really about her, why on earth is going to the Senate an even remotely attractive idea? She can do more to help consumers back at Harvard than she ever could in the Senate currying favor with the bank toadies (meaning pretty much all of them). And as we’ve discussed earlier, with no big corporate sponsorship in the Democratic pay to play system, she would not get on any important committees either.

What puzzles me is the hysteria about the prospect of a Warren appointment. The CFPB is simply not that powerful; any regulatory measures are subject to the approval of the Financial Stability Oversight Counsel. No other bank regulator is subject to second guessing. She’s also demonstrated she is not going to proceed in a unilateral or uninformed manner. Iin testimony that the Republicans continue to misrepresent, she discussed at some length how she has included the banking industry in her initial effort, that of streamlining and increasing transparency of credit card disclosures.

One possible explanation is that the banks have adopted the Republican tactic of going for total victory. Warren must be mowed down to demonstrate that banks cannot be crossed. Or perhaps banks recognize that they need to continue to abuse consumers to preserve profits, and a CFPB that is at all effective really does represent a major threat to their profit streams.

But many of the reactions are visceral and irrational. Her character and mode of operation are deeply threatening to people in power. She refuses to be deterred and has no respect for party line or authority:

Even though to people outside DC, she appears to be moving forward in a deliberate, systematic manner, her refusal to play by Beltway rules, her apparent immunity to bribes and coercion, makes her a deeply destabilizing force. No wonder they want to get rid of her. Not only might she build an effective agency, but her behavior could prove to be contagious

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. ScottS

    I think you’re right — the reaction is visceral. Contrasting her with anyone else inside the beltway is uncomfortable for them, not her. “If she’s not on the take, why are you?” is the implicit question politicians (might) ask themselves, or their constituents may ask in the voting booth.

    She’s the good cop in a department of crooked cops. Without any dirt on the good cop, he/she will be shown the door eventually.

    The abject projection makes for good schadenfreude.

    1. Just Tired

      They don’t like Elizabeth Warren because she is not for sale. That, according to current political thought, makes her an anti-capitalist.

      1. ScottS

        Those things are true, but I don’t think that accounts for the daggers that are coming out for Warren. It’s that she makes everyone else look bad in comparison.

        In fact, we may be looking in the wrong direction when we assume the attack against her is backed by the banks. Sure, banks don’t like what she’s proposing, and what she could propose later. But readability in credit card agreements doesn’t merit this reaction.

        I’m guessing the people who really hate her are the upper echelons of the other financial “regulators.” They have the most to lose personally by her and her ideas gaining momentum. Increased scrutiny would be the end of their meal ticket.

    2. Matthew Saroff

      I think that you miss part of the dynamic.

      When you look at who Rubin/Geithner/Summers et al bump heads with, they all seem to lack a Y chromosome.

      There is a lot of hatred of smart assertive women in Washington.

    1. steelhead23

      Ya know, I doubt she has such ambition but I happen to think she would make an outstanding POTUS. I heard an interesting poll yesterday from USA Today – 89% of Americans believe the economy is doing poorly (the other 11% must either be comatose or winners in the recent bull market). A woman, savvy enough to understand the frauds, willing to prosecute them, with sufficient name recognition could be a contender. The big problem is money. I’ll start. If Liz wants to run for president I will donate $2000 to the cause. Who’s with me?

      1. Jason Rines

        I am in $500 and I’ll make sure about twelve million people on my advertising assets I own can offer a donation as well. I like the Centrist Party as a name.

      2. NOTaREALmerican

        Not that one person can matter without an organization behind her especially AFTER she should (magically) win.

        But, what the hell, count me in.

  2. Toni

    Will the Big O ever do anything to live up to his campaign slogan of “Change You Can Believe In.” I doubt it. Those days are long past.

  3. Rex

    Geithner video:

    Warren did a fabulous job of leading the dance with that scumbag. He’s one of the most unbearable word pukers that I’ve ever had the displeasure of trying to listen to.

    Let’s have a “thought Play” to demonstrate.

    [Normal Joe holds a soady-pop in his hand and turns to Giethner]

    Joe: Hey Tim, you got a bottle opener?

    Tim: Yes, well, I can see where this is a situation where a tool or an implement or scenario to provide for the access to materials or substances that might be found in bottles could be relevant, even beneficial or necessary. This has been apparent for some time, the eventual need to gain access to the contents of bottles or even cans. Cans also require the requisite mechanisms for accessing their contents. During the period where we began to occupy this residence, after the previous tenants departed, we found that they had not left us the requisite tools for opening bottles or cans, so we began a study to see how we might best deal with these issues, whereupon it became apparent that we could not just deal with this alone as there was also clear need for more equipment; towels, sheets, light bulbs and many other items were clearly required. I’m encouraged to say that many of these problems were…

    Joe: TIM! TIMMY! TIM! NEVER-MIND! Just shut up. I guess I’m not really that thirsty.

    1. ambrit

      Oh Rex, you Card!
      My other favourite is this one:
      Sheriff: “Look boys, it’s Lassie! What’s that girl?”
      Lassie: “Whine, growl, Woof Woof!!”
      Sheriff: “Land o goshen girl! Timmys thrown the economy down a well!?!”
      Lassie sits up and raises paw, then runs in circle and heads out in direction of Well Street.
      Sheriff: “Boys! Saddle up! You, go get Schoolmarm Warren and tell her to get her docterin stuff together and follow us. She’s goin to be needed real bad I reckon.”
      Exeunt omnes.

  4. Norman

    Perhaps Keith Richards might lend the “O” that pair of “brass balls” he recently won? Just a thought.

  5. ex-PFC Chuck

    She can do more to help consumers back at Harvard than she ever could in the Senate currying favor with the bank toadies (meaning pretty much all of them).

    She could do the most good by primarying Obama.

    For several decades there’s been a sense among the party’s legacy constituents that the majority of its federal level office-holders are abandoning them. From time to time those Congress critters and presidents have talked enough of a good game to keep showing up at the polls, but the soaring promise of the 2008 Obama campaign followed a willful dashing of most of those hopes that began even before the inauguration has pushed the growing disillusionment of the party’s base past an inflection point. In a speech in Boston a couple of months ago Obama recognized that it’s going to be hard to “recapture the magic.” Obviously, he plans to sidestep that problem with a campaign that focuses mainly on independents by playing on their justifiablle fears of an ideologically radical (and possibly bats**t crazy) Republican candidate, assuming that the party’s legacy base has no where else to go. That strategy is very likely to be successful in getting him reelected. However, it will lead to an another electoral bloodbath for down-ticket Democrats. This is because large parts of the legacy base will either sit out the campaign or go to a leftist thrid party such as the Greens. Meanwhile, most of the down-ticket Democratic candidates will avoid raising the policy issues that trouble Americans because those are the ones on which Obama has foresaken them. All this will be going down on the Democratic side when the Republican base will be more motivated than ever because they smell blood.

    I believe that a principle-based primary campaign by an appealing candidate is the only thing that could change this dynamic. Possibile candidates are former Senator Russ Feingold and former Representative Alan Grayson, but no one would be better able to pull this off than Elizabeth Warren. In order for such a challenge to have an effect the canadidate has to to do two things: get her or his hat in the ring soon in order to reenergize the party’s progressive, activist base, and make it clear from the get-go that this is most of all about the future soul of the Democratic Party, and thereby the future of the country. This would give the down-ticket candidates the cover to campaign on the many issues on which Obama & Co. have forsaken the base.

    1. jsn

      It’s all about the money, what we have is not government by elected representatives, this is government by the most brazen financial shills. This is what it looked like last time:




      To be viable in the political marketplace one must first excel at the solicitation of bribes.

      That said, if we can talk Warren into running, sign me up as a volunteer!

    2. Peter T

      I believe that a third-party candidacy by Warren would be bad: not only would the win of the Republican candidate become more likely (that would happen even if she ran in a Democratic primary, no matter who would win it), but it would damage the Democratic party as a political force. A primary challenge, however, focused on the economy, could mobilize many inside and outside the Democratic party against the corporate agenda. The novelty of Obama as only half-white POTUS has worn off; Warren would have the advantage of becoming the first female candidate.

      What is unclear is her willingness to become president. Campaigning is a grueling job. When would Warren need to announce her candidacy formally? Is she already a member of the Democratic party and when would she need to be one? I would support her any time over the man who chose and kept Timothy Geithner as his primary economic adviser.

  6. Jim A

    You know, I’ve never been a fan of the idea behind the CFPB. Arguably one the the regulatory issues that enabled our financail mess was too many regulatory agencies, each competing against the others to see who could ignore more problems and be captured more easily by those they were supposed to regulate. Adding yet another organization, with a somewhat vague mandate that seems to overlap the responsibility of already existing agencies does NOT seem a promising path for reform of powerful banking interests. So I’ve always thought that the the most that the CFPB could possibly acheive would be to shine a light on the worst practices and possibly even get the other regulators to do just a little something about them.

    Given all that, Warren is the PERFECT person for that job. The fact that the Wall Street and the bankers are so dead set against her serving as the head of a largely figurehead agency shows just how afraid of any light being shown on their operations.

    1. ScottS

      Bite your tongue, you communist! Competition is always a good thing, even amongst regulators, even in a race to the bottom!

      You’re threatening our fragile jobless recovery with your loose talk.

  7. TC

    I am not sure what good would be served having someone believed competent in charge of CFBP when 1) the agency appears a classic exercise in closing the barn door after the horses have bolted, and 2) everything else born of FinReg is seen an exercise in unbridled fantasy attempting to bolster the illusion of solvency of TBTF banks. It seems Ms. Warren might better wait for a leader whose “change you can believe” is not in the form of fascism with a smiling face.

    The pesky pinko protestariat
    (The anti-fascist “PPP”)

  8. ciwood

    Why is it so hard to find out which politicians signed the letter? If they truly believe, they should attach their signatures.

  9. Jackrabbit

    What puzzles me is the hysteria about the prospect of a Warren appointment. The CFPB is simply not that powerful

    It reminds me of the hoopla over “activist judges” and “liberal media”.

    I think that its not the rulemaking that they fear as much as the CFPB’s ability to conduct independent studies. Who knows what they will find? (Collusive pricing? Market manipulation?)

    A pliant, industry-friendly Director would be counted on to limit his or her activities to conducting long investigations of individual consumer complaints (thus discouraging complaining) and conducting PR-like studies that show how well the industry is treating consumers.

  10. brian

    she should go home then run against Brown for the Senate seat
    having an appointment from this administration increasingly is a black mark on ones resume unless one only wants to become a lobbyist later

    reminds me of an old episode from Miami Vice
    Julia Roberts(before Pretty Woman) tells Crockett she likes to date hoods because they are more honest in their treachery

    sorts sums up the difference between Reps and Dems

  11. PaulArt

    There is a need for a laser like focus on reforming the broken election system and sending K-Street and its denizens to the place where the sun does not shine. It matters little whether Liz Warren or even a resurrected Teddy Roosevelt is President today. As long as K-Street cash funds election campaigns nothing even remotely is ever going to get done. We must wean money away from the system via Public Financing of elections completely and totally. There should also be a way to decentralize decision making from Washington to the local arena.

  12. Cedric Regula

    It’s just a matter of time until Eric Holder charges Liz for conspiring with Paul Volker to wreak the global economy and financial system. He will have hard evidence provided by the NSA that Paul and Liz are Facebook Friends and have been exchanging photos of their nether regions.

    BTW, does anyone know if Eric Holder has a law degree?

  13. Susan Truxes

    Warren’s questions to Geithner kind of let him off the hook because it was Paulsen who bailed out AIG so generously; Geithner merely agreed with Paulsen. It was then far more disconcerting to watch the next video of Brad Sherman ask Geithner if Treasury had put a stop to bailing out the Derivatives market (CDSs) and Geithner wiggling around and finally saying he would not answer the question! That little Q and A session was very revealing. It is clear to me that what is required here is not a consumer advocate but a new system. We need to nationalize the Federal Reserve System and write appropriate laws governing all financial activity going forward. I think Elizabeth Warren would make an excellent head of the Federal Bank of the United States.

    1. Cedric Regula

      If we nationalized the Federal Reserve, Geithner would be head of the Federal Bank of the United States, Jamie Dimon would be President of the United States, and LLoyd Blankfein would be Vice President. Liz will be shot in the face; an unfortunate hunting accident that happened in the girls’ bathroom on Capitol Hill.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Sorry, but you don’t have this one right.

      The Fed and the Treasury were working fist in glove. AIG’s first bailout was an $85 billion loan from the Fed. Formally, the Treasury has nothing to do with it. Then it was retraded a zillion times (chronicled with a barf bag at hand here at NC).

      And Warren was attacking, um, questioning Timmie about an AIG action that happened on his watch at the NY Fed: the decision to pay the AIG counterparties out 100% on their credit default swaps. Paulson had nothing to do with that.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          There was similarly nauseating weasel theater when neither Dodd or Geithner would fess up to their collusion in inserting the bankster bonus protection clause into the second Obama bailout (illegally, since it was not in the bill voted on). Dodd outright lied, paraphrasing: “I have no idea how that pesky thing got itself in there”; then it came out that he and Geithner had specifically colluded in order to ensure the “sanctity of contracts”

          Gag me with a silver spoon! These are bonafide criminals.

          1. Francois T

            I had forgotten this sordid detail. I think that should be rebroadcasted as much as possible.

            Obama made Geithner the Econ Man at the WH, not despite but because of things like this sanctity of contracts (just for banksters…ain’t this so touching?) bullshit.

            Obama must lose in 2012. Democrats do not have any future if they keep being the “Party’s [whose] job is to co-apt these anti-corporate movements and subvert them to the same (or a different faction of) corporate interests.” I just do not give a hoot anymore if Republicans control Senate, White House and the House. Let the country experience a severe case of slash-and-burn by the bunch of crazy maniacs of the Tea party and Blue Dogs extremists haunting DC. Maybe the ensuing mayhem would finally wake up people to some ugly truths about the total dysfunction of our political institutions.

            As a small, but how revealing example, just take a look at the vote on swipe fees: Despite a huge army of lobbyists hired by the merchants, a universal hatred of the banks in the American population, the fact that swipe fees in the US are the highest in the world, the Senate was able to have 54 (!!) of its members kissing the kingaling of the banksters.

            Just amazing of much contempt these asshats have for us.

        2. Glen

          Lied over and over and rambled on in a verbal barfing to run out the clock to prevent her from asking the logical questions:

          Why did you pay out 100%?
          How did massive payouts to insolvent companies “shore up” anything?

          and the key question

          How do you possibly sleep at night after mismanaging your regulatory duties as head of the NY Fed while creating this crisis and then the outright theft of taxpayer money during the so called “bailout” of Wall St?

          I can answer that last one too – like a baby, just like any good psychopath would.

  14. Ziggy

    We can only hope that hell hath no fury like that of a Methodist sunday school teacher scorned.

  15. Hugh

    As we used to say, “All together now, Obama is a conservative.” It is pointless to think he will act any other way. Jamie Dimon has a scorched earth policy toward regulation. So does Obama. Why should we be surprised that two kleptocrats would act any differently?

    This is, in part, why I emphasize kleptocracy so heavily. Obama’s behavior in any other light becomes inexplicable, contradictory, just plain hard to understand, but see him as a kleptocrat and the inconsistencies fall away. You not only understand why he acts as he does, you can predict his actions as well.

    In politics, it is unwise to never say never, but Obama has sent every signal he could that he does not want Warren. He has used every delaying tactic he has to avoid naming her. This is very reminiscent of the Dawn Johnsen episode. She was nominated to the OLC. She was one of only a couple “liberal” nominees in his Administration. Obama then proceeded to leave her twisting in the wind for 15 months, until she withdrew her nomination. A similar process seems at work here.

    1. Elliot X

      Gore Vidal: “We only have one political party in the U.S., and that is the property party, which essentially is corporate America, which has two right wings, one called Republican and one called Democrat. I can’t say I like either of them.”

    1. Francois T

      A loose cannon shooting in the direction of the appropriate targets.

      What’s not to like?

  16. Marie

    The president better have someone else in mind. The right wing hates Ms Warren, they hate him, and they would sooner destroy this country than let him get this wonderful woman in the position the right wing knows would stop their plan of total domination.
    I’m sick and tired of people trying to suggest that this president is “craven” or really a “republican.” It is bogus, immature and total crap. Not to mention that there are people who claim to be liberal & progressive who would love to see nothing better than the crazy wingers take over in this country! In some warped version of thought…that would make people so desperate they would supposedly rush in droves to become liberals. Funny thing about that line of thinking though. It is more craven than people are suggesting the president could ever be. You know how many innocent people will suffer and die if the reigns of government are turned back over to these tea-bagging wingers? How anyone with common decency could want that to happen is beyond me, but here it is in full display. I would love for the president to recess appoint her. Perhaps that will occur, but if it doesn’t, I for one am going to fight hard to get him re-elected, help to elect as many hard fighting (and not weak kneed) Democrats in 2012. You know why FDR could do all of the stuff he did? He had overwhelming majorities!!! That’s the answer to all of this. Not this kind of clap trap.

    1. Hugh

      Spoken like a true -bot and Democratic tribalist. The bailouts for the banks, the wars, the surveillance state, the invocation of the state secrets defense, the sellout on healthcare, the failure to investigate and prosecute Bush torturers and Wall Street banksters, the failure to close Guantanamo, the use of Bagram as a new Guantanamo, tax cuts for the rich, no help for homeowners, no help for the unemployed, the setting up of the Cat Food commission, and the push to cut Medicare and Social Security, on all of these Obama has shown himself to be no different from the hard right George Bush. Indeed on many of them he went further right than Bush.

      You may find the rhetoric of the right irritating. Many of us do, but on policy the Democratic and Republican parties are indistinguishable.

      About the only thing I agree with you on is that Obama is not craven, a liar yes, but craven no. On all of the issues I mentioned above, Obama had wide latitude as Executive to deal with them without new legislation. He did not because what we have seen him do on those issues, as with Warren, is exactly what he wants to do. Obama will fight on issues that are important to him. However, nothing that is important to progressives is important to him. What we see is not the failure of the Obama agenda. It is the Obama agenda.

      1. Nathanael

        On the contrary, the Republican and Democratic Parties are quite easy to distinguish.

        The Democratic leadership stands for “soft corporatism”, business-as-usual kleptocracy. The Republican leadership stands for outright fascist dictatorship, with the fusion of government with an established church, complete with burning heretics (and anyone who disagrees with their policies will become a heretic) at the stake. They want to return to the worst sort of theocratic 14th-century-Papal rule.

        I’m not exaggerating.

        Still don’t like either of them, and the worst problem is that the Democratic leadership is sure, *sure* that the Republicans really just want business-as-usual kleptocracy, meaning that they’re repeatedly blindsided by the Republican power grabs.


        1. F. Beard

          The Republican leadership stands for outright fascist dictatorship, with the fusion of government with an established church, complete with burning heretics (and anyone who disagrees with their policies will become a heretic) at the stake. Nathanael

          If progressives knew the Bible themselves they could easily see the Republicans as thieving hypocrites. But alas, progressives and liberals chucked the Bible with its concern for integrity and concern for the poor for a mess of pottage, sexual license.

          1. Doug Terpstra

            Well said. Much of ‘Churchianity’ today is an almost perfect inversion of the gospel of Christ, which is well to the left of socialism at its core. In fact, were Christ here in the flesh, he would likely be stomping thru Wall Street and the Fed with a bullwhip, crashing servers and toppling monitors. He issued acid condemnation of the religionist Pharisees of his day, but it was the moneychangers that really ignited his most righteous fury and merciless verdict. The protestant Church today somehow ignores that Christ as it has virtually morphed into the arthritic Roman Catholic Church of darkest medieval Europe, except that, thankfully, it has not ascended to theocracy —yet.

    2. ScottW

      And you probably believe that your unbridled support of Obama is actually saving this Country from right-wing policies. Unfortunately, the attitude you express lets Obama off the hook from having to address and advocate more progressive policies on the economy and defense front. This unquestioning support permits Obama to migrate further right trying to capture the prized independent voter.

    3. Doug Terpstra

      Wow, Marie, your undying loyalty to Obama is admirable, but tragically misplaced. The master hypnotist with velvet voice and silver tongue now has with a long record of betrayal and broken promises that prove him to be a Trojan horse for the kleptocracy. Add the following to Hugh’s impressive list:

      • support for the Honduran coup
      • orders to assassinate American citizens abroad without trial
      • refusal to renegotiate NAFTA and active pursuit of new rigged trade deals
      • fast-tracking of BP’s offshore drilling by bypassing MMS safety regulations (Ken Salazar)
      • saber-rattling toward Iran and abandoning diplomacy
      • violating transparency promises and lobbyist influence
      • caving to Netanyahu on illegal settlements in Palestine (his first UN veto!)
      • refusal to sign the international land mine ban
      • opposing union Employee Free Choice Act
      • betrayal of whistleblowers, including Bradley Manning
      • renewal of Patriot Act without amendment

      But there’s more! Consider his appointments—every foreign policy advisor a hawk and every “regulator” a henhouse fox, from the same Wall Street cronies that had a hand in the crisis (Rubin, Summers, Daley, (tax cheat) Geithner, Froman, Bernanke), to Monsanto insiders at the FDA and USDA, WellPoint Insurance exec Fowler to oversee healthcare bailout bill, Emanuel as conduit to AIPAC, oil man Salazar at Interior, GE’s key outsourcing CEO Immelt to chair a jobs council, and so on and so forth.

      Finally, other than his support for nuclear power, he has failed to do anything about climate change, global warming, or energy independence despite his lofty vision for an aggressive “Apollo Project” to ensure energy independence. So the perfect jobs bill lies forgotten while Germany and China pursue innovation.

      1. razzz

        Wow, what a powerful man, almost like we don’t have a Congress to stop him….or do we?

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Nope, with very few exceptions, though they wear different colors, all are on the same team. They serve the same Mammon and share the same goals.

      2. Adam

        One of the notable henhouse foxes was Meredith Attwell Baker, nominated to the FCC by Obama, opponent of net neutrality, approver of the Comcast/NBC Universal merger, and now “senior vice president of governmental affairs” for NBC Universal.

        1. ScottS

          When will they just cut out all the nonsense and just install red phones with direct lines to the Politburo like in China? Between the cronyism and government spying, there’s really no point in pretending that we are any different than China. We took different paths, but those paths met in the end.

  17. Hugh

    BTW I made a reply to a comment directed at me on the Jon Walker thread. The reply was thrown into limbo for 2 hours and then disappeared. I tried a repost as an independent comment and it didn’t appear at all. If this site is going to take shots at the Roosevelt Institute, it might well look to its own practices.

    If there is a problem with the thread, there should be a statement as to what it is. Otherwise, this looks a lot like c*ensorship, either by directly removing material or keeping it floating around in the ether until the conversation has moved on. I expected better of this site.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I sent you this message by e-mail:

      The reason comments go into moderation is:

      1. Use of particular words I’ve tagged as problematic, like “zionist”. 19 out of 20 comments using the word “zionist” are by neo Nazis who’ve just discovered NC and decided to spew their bigotry here. I have other flags that get comments put into moderation.

      2. 6 or more links. A lot of links is usually a spammer.

      Things sit in moderation until I get to them. This is not as you suggest a tactic to withhold comment until the conversation has moved on. This site does not generate enough revenue for me to have 24/7 support, so I deal with comments when I get around to them, and since I am up most of the night posting and sleep during most people’s mornings, AM and early PM comments are certain to languish.

      Bitching about moderation in a comment reduces the odds that it will eventually be approved. Unlike Barry Ritholtz, I don’t believe in editing comments, which he does pretty freely.

      And contrary to what you say, they do not disappear out of the moderation queue.

      I do appreciate your comments, you consistently provide insightful and well written views, but there are enough crazies out there that I need to have filters, otherwise the comment section would pretty quickly devolve into a pale version of the ZeroHedge comment section.

  18. Max424

    YS: “Warren must be mowed down to demonstrate that banks cannot be crossed.”

    And she will be. Warren will be “mopped-up” in do order.

    Note: Elizabeth Warren is probably the sole remaining intransigent on the target list of the mopping-up operation. It’s a credit to her that this thing is taking so long.

    1. Francois T

      Yes, she most probably will be mowed down. That fills me with sadness.

      Alas for Obama, Liz Warren stature has never stop to grow. The more they try to undercut her, the more people from all walks of life come to like her.

      Hence, The Guy Who Was Asking For Change will pay a heavy price for that. That fills me with unmitigated glee.

  19. LAS

    Elizabeth Warren asks what seem today to be just the simplest of questions. Geithner lapses into a squirming worm; an actor could work at it for years and never be able to generate such a great physical portrayal.

    Did Paulson ever really leave Goldman Sachs when he went to Treasury? Certainly not, the squirming worm seems to say.

  20. EoH

    A Democratic administration faced with such GOP intransigence would make political hay with it, paving the way for an easy recess appointment or boxing his opponents in in such a way that he could negotiate a routine approval for Warren’s appointment in exchange for some other form of political forgiveness, a process known as negotiation.

    Mr. Obama, however, has determined that playing politics is beneath him – or uses his “post-partisan” jargon to hide that he agrees with Republicans more than he does with any set of values or policies one could objectively call Democratic.

    Hence, he’s more than happy not to have a consumerist heading a consumer financial watchdog. Heaven forfend, they might actually do their job instead of pretending to, which would be rude to banks, an unpardonable offense in today’s Washington.

  21. EoH

    The characterization that the Senate remains a “classier joint” than the House seems archaic, like expecting a hansom cab to arrive instead of a roughed up Ford or Chevy.

  22. EoH

    “People with a lot of backbone seldom join McKinsey; like Goldman on the investment banking side, it choses [sic] candidates who are bright but insecure enough to work hard and play the game.”

    More please. Reading Yves is like enjoying a bibliographical note written by Norman Cantor instead of a hack at the Reader’s Digest. Honest opinion add more value than does the bombast of reticence.

  23. EoH

    I suspect the resistance to Warren stems from two of your points.

    Ms. Warren models an anachronistic, Rooseveltian management style that might revivify interest in serving in and using government to better people’s lives rather than as a stepping stone to Wall Street riches. I suspect that appeals to thousands of talented people for whom wealth is not the greatest end. An entire generation has been starved of public officials modeling their aspirations.

    The banks are worried about the effects of pulling even a single block from their Jenga game, which might make their profitability collapse. Depriving them of any consistent stream of default-level payments – from credit or debit cards, mortgages, etc. – could damage their profits and, worse, lead to depriving them of other sources of such income, which they need to prop up the facade that they are hearty businesses with solid, reputable business models.

  24. Bits n bots

    “Raj Date” Is a former executive at CAPITAL ONE! The worst of the worst of sub-prime credit card lenders.

    Many lives have been destroyed due to the antics of Capital One.

    I guess you like those Capital One banners on your web site Yves! His Mckinsey ties are not what matters here.

  25. Skippy

    The torturers hand book clearly states, repetitive building and removal of hope is the key to modifying a populations mental conditioning.

    Americans are still in a daze after a debt fueled ROFE party, replete with Facebook / social networking photos, scared to admit to the fact that their backsides are sore (did I really go there/am I really like that). Go see Dr Warren and receive confirmation of their excesses, only too see friends, family and co-works in waiting room or go into denial…must have been some bad virus, STD crosses-fingers.

    Skippy…advertising audiences, that which America is, do not respond well to Pastels, Cardigans and sensible shoes. They tend to respond to empire architecture and endless chants of royal *our* greatness[!]…cough self sacrifice to be numero uno w/some chump change in their pockets.

  26. John Lenihan

    The place for Warrren is in politics, and not running for the the hillbilly-heaven Senate either!

    Her intelligence is penetrating and unshakeable. Her scolarship is profound. Her books show that she has gotten to understand the problems of ordinary Americans deeply. She refuses to be buffaloed or abused by the plutocrats and their mouthpieces.

    Of no small importance is the fact that corrupt politicians and bureaucrats become weak in the knees and totally unhinged when they see her across the street. The academic enablers of financial decadence (Prof. Summers et al) get heartburn whenever they hear her name.

    In the fifteen months between now and the 2012 election, she could (and should) campaign for the Presidency itself. Although time is short, she could probably win, and sweep the Congress mostly clean of the crooks at the same time.

  27. MichaelC


    Thanks for including the video clip in the post.

    I like the shock value of seeing and hearing her in full genteel pitbull mode in her previous role as TARP watchdog (lest we forget her recent past as we ponder her future)
    especially against that piss ant she so rightly despises.

    Her sanguine perseverance defies MSM conventional narratives and current partisan political norms.(You recently describes it as her obtuseness,but I don’t think that’s quite right) Her’s is a radicalism I can get behind any day. No pitchforks needed. Just support the person confidently yelling (or threating to) bullshit as a fragile system crumbles. Visitors here are used to that.

    IMHO Timmys dream of a sinecure at GS is never going to come to pass (poor dope/useful idiot, you decide), and once he’s exited the stage and the ‘failed’ bankers have retired to their villas, we’re going to be left with a pile of s@@ to sort through.

    Consumer protection will be the least of it,if there are no banks for the consumers to be protected from. But going forward, yelling Bullshit based on a CFPB standard will be useful in a post apocalyptic financial regulatory world.

    We need to look forward to and plan for a post FIRE world order. (I’m a bit player but I get to see numbers and they are not doing well at all, even ignoring looming write offs). The base for the banking lobby bloviating is crumbling. The business is imploding rapidly, despite gov’t support (globally) and the collapse is more imminent than it appears, even to those learned folks reading along here.. Once you’re unable to afford your lobbyists you’re toast and we may be nearing that point. Perhaps O realizes we’re at a tippng point and handling Ms Warren w kid gloves is wise politics, even if it gives her the upper hand.

    We’re going to need the Bill Blacks and E Warrens of the world to lead us out of this mess. I presume they each know it and the debates about where they fit in today are just contemporary noise, of small consequence for the future. I suspect their confidence stems from an appreciation that O and co are small beer in the long run.

    But bottom line, she is the most interesting and enigmatic figure in this period.She seserves our attention.

    Today bankers fit the historically standard script, The politicians fit the standard Gilded Age (and other period)politician playbook, The regulators fit the original Kennedy wink and nod SEC mold, (excepting S Bair, whom I believe is sincere, perhaps imperfect, but not Joe. Kennedyeske (Mary Shapiro might give J Kennedy a run for his money though)

    1. psychohistorian

      Another strong, take no prisoners type that would do well to help lead society out of this mess is our not esteemed enough hostess,Yves.

  28. Francois T

    By the way, all this betrayal of progressive ideas by Obama could cost him dearly:


    AFL’s Trumka on Pols Selling Out Workers: ‘I’ve Had a Snootful of This S**t!’

    There are some VERY pointed warnings to the DCCC honchos, Senators and Obama himself in there. In a word, there is going to be a litmus test for pols if they want unions’ support. Otherwise…

    Bring the popcorn in November 2012!

  29. nottherealadairturner

    I think, just like a McKinsey powerpoint deck, it’s possible to over analyse this a bit.

    You only need to watch the first minute of the video to realise that she will never get the CFPB job.

    Given that even most of the halfwits in the room will have known where the AIG money went and where Geithner used to work, she was as they say ” ‘avin a larf ”

    I’m surprised she managed to restrain herself to just a smile in the opening question. She was probably trying not to wet herself.

    And as for Timmy and Mr. Pres they’re not going to be sending her Christmas cards are they?

    If you get round to electing the Palin monster she’ll be in a camp for those kind of questions.

Comments are closed.