The Litmus Test
By Lorenzo A. Canizares
All kinds of excuses are flying around trying to disparage the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren for the head position at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Warren, a law professor at Harvard University, picked by President Obama to be Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel which was created to investigate the banking bailout, has developed a reputation as an incorruptible force and has become one of our nation’s most respected defenders of the middle/working class.
Elizabeth Warren is widely recognized as the inspiration behind CPFB. Her prodding and resilience got the American people an agency that if properly run could significantly benefit our lives. But, a coalition of greedy bankers and pliable Democrats are trying to fend her off. Their main argument is that Elizabeth Warren has no management experience. We must assume that chairing the Congressional Oversight Panel, a bipartisan body, doesn’t count as experience. How many objections were raised regarding experience when Michael Brown “Brownie” was selected to head FEMA? The real reason objections are being raised against Warren is that bankers can’t trust her to side with them in their pursuit of their economic benefit no matter what the cost is to the society at large.
The main danger to Warren’s nomination is coming from the Democratic side. We have the New Democratic Coalition (NDC) with their Chair, Joseph Crowley, who were in the forefront of emasculating the Financial Reform Bill. The NDC, as per the Washington Spectator 7/15/10 edition says, have been working on behalf of the big banks since the House Financial Services Committee began shaping the legislation last year. They were responsible for blackmailing the outcome of the legislation if the Blanche Lincoln’s derivatives provision was not watered down. How many of the NDC 43 house votes do you think Warren would get after their being wined and dined by executives from JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs?
By no means, I want to imply that if Warren is defeated it will be just because Blue Dogs Democrats can’t stand her sight. The Republicans are back to their old quest of reducing the tax cuts for the super-rich. The Obama administration want to let those tax cuts for the super-rich expire, but Republicans want to make them permanent. Imagine if the Obama administration has Warren in a relevant position as defender of the interest of the Middle Class and Working Class? The Republicans would have a serious problem trying to defend themselves from somebody who has a thorough understanding of their vast array of tricks and traps. The lost revenue from allowing the taxes to continue at the Bush/Cheney rate will be at least $650 billion in ten years.
Yes, the forces against Elizabeth Warren are powerful, but they are far from unbeatable. As Zach Carter from AlterNet has stated “No Democrat is eager to buck President Barack Obama’s appointment to this agency (CFPB), whoever it may be, and lawmakers from both parties are hesitant to speak out against Warren.” They might hate Warren for her courage and decency, a female Pat Tillman, but they won’t dare to attack her directly. They will have to depend in morally challenged individuals on their way to pasture like Sen. Chris Dodd (CT-D). As Zach Carter has so brilliantly stated “Elizabeth Warren is not a voice of Progressives or Democrats; she’s a voice for working families.”
Behind the scenes, bank-friendly politicians are working overtime trying to keep Warren from coming up for a vote. But, if Warren is nominated, when it comes time to actually vote, they aren’t going to vote against her.
This is one of the most important decisions that the Obama administration has had to face. By appointing Warren to head the CFPB Obama will be telling 98% of the American people that he is unquestionably on their side. That he understands what we are going through, and certainly then there will be real hope that we are taking concrete steps to improve our economy.
Elizabeth Warren is our nation’s Litmus Test!