Obama Appoints Warren to Advisory Role

So, there's this lady named Elizabeth Warren who's awesome. If you watch The Daily Show, or you've seen any recent documentaries about the disaster that is the US economy—e.g. Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, or James Scurlock's Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders—you know who she is, even if you don't know who she is. She's the one who made you think, "I wish she were in charge."

Awhile ago, Warren proposed the establishment of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which everyone thought was a great idea! Everyone except all the people who like to rip off unprotected consumers, who have lots of lobbyists who they've hired with all the money they made ripping off unprotected consumers.

Nonetheless, President Obama was in favor of the Bureau. Thing is, he wasn't sure the very smart lady who actually conceived of it was the right person to lead it. It seems like all those highly-paid lobbyists funded by unprotected consumers were whispering in his ear that they didn't really want someone competent running a bureau that might cramp their ripping-off-unprotected-consumers style.

But labor unions, consumer advocacy groups, and progressives of various stripes lobbied on Warren's behalf, since she's sort of the perfect gal for the job and all.

So it was almost exciting when it was reported yesterday that Warren would be appointed to lead the commission. Sort of.
Elizabeth Warren, who conceived of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will oversee its establishment as an assistant to President Obama.

...Ms. Warren will be named an assistant to the president, a designation that is held by senior White House staff members, including Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff. She will also be a special adviser to the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, and report jointly to Mr. Obama and Mr. Geithner. The financial regulation law delegated to the Treasury Department the powers of the bureau until a permanent director was appointed and confirmed by the Senate to a five-year term.

The decision does not preclude the possibility that Ms. Warren could eventually be named director, and at the least, she would play a pivotal role in deciding whom to appoint to the job, according to the official.
We're meant to understand that this is GOOD NEWS, because it avoids what could be a gnarly confirmation battle.
Some called on Mr. Obama to formally nominate Ms. Warren to lead the bureau even if it led to a confirmation battle, arguing that Democrats should embrace such a battle as a means of drawing attention to the bureau's significance.

However, the White House saw drawbacks to that approach, according to the official. If Ms. Warren's nomination were in limbo for months, she would be generally precluded from serving fully as the public face of the bureau, or even testifying before Congress.

"The stakes are too high to delay the standing up of this agency," the official said.
We want to get her in an easily-marginalized role as quickly as possible!

Oh, I know. I'm the most cynical cunt in all of Cuntistan, but it's just that Warren, who has spent her career advocating on behalf of middle- and working-class families, is hated by the people with the deep pockets who fund US politics these days: "She has drawn fire from financial institutions for her persistent attacks on abusive, deceptive and unfair lending practices; some banking executives believe she has been overly broad in criticizing those practices."

They're too big to fail piss off.

But Obama's voter base expects him to be the eminently reasonable bloke he purports himself to be, and appoint someone who is clearly their ally—and not just another Wall Street Wonderboy like the rest of Obama's Treasury Department appointees—to a position in which an alliance with the people the bureau is meant to protect seems an integral qualification for the job.

Well, that certainly leaves Obama in a pickle!

So here comes the 12-dimensional chess play, and Warren is being pseudo-appointed. And we're assumed, once again, to be too stupid to appreciate the distinction, and too pleased with the crumbs we're being thrown to question why the president isn't willing to fight for what the people who elected him believe in.

A typical miss, Obama.

Also see: Echidne and Susie.

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