Friday, September 17, 2010

Warren Appointed

After much delay, Elizabeth Warren has been nominated to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Good news? Maybe, but many progressives are uncertain of the significance. Some have labeled the move as a "triumph of the money party," noting that Warren's role has "been downgraded" to special adviser, and that she must report to Tim Geithner.

Ugh... If that proves to be the case, the cynics will surely be correct. Geithner will act as gatekeeper who will work to ensure Warren's voice is muted if not completely drowned out.

But is is uncertain just how their respective roles will play out. I don't expect much cordiality between Warren and Larry Summers. He is a neoliberal to the bone, and a prickly, sexist, SOB short on interpersonal skills to boot. And both he and Geithner will likely feel threatened by an adviser who refuses to be part of their Wall Street protection racket.

Perhaps it is a very big deal. Warren's supporters, of which there are many, say she has been able to extract promises regarding her role and her access to the President. Julia Rosen at Crooks & Liars has written a very positive interpretation of the President's decision. She notes the strong grass-roots campaign that essentially told the President that he needed to do the right thing or watch his support collapse. See the story and the several good links she provides.

The howling from Republicans will continue, and Chris Dodd, obviously bucking for a plum job on Wall Street upon his retirement, will keep braying and bitching as long as he thinks it will impress his benefactors. 

I am cautiously optimistic.

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