The NYTimes is reporting that “Warren [Will] Unofficially Lead Consumer Agency“:
Elizabeth Warren, who conceived of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will oversee its establishment as an assistant to President Obama, an official briefed on the decision said Wednesday evening.
The decision, which Mr. Obama is to announce this week, would allow Ms. Warren, a Harvard law professor, to effectively run the new agency without having to go through a potentially contentious confirmation battle in the Senate…
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, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the formal announcement…
And Gail Collins sends her new column from Anchorage:
… Scott McAdams, the Democratic candidate, is introducing himself to the voters. This will take some time because McAdams’s big claim to fame is being mayor of Sitka, a town of 8,700 with no road access…
The mayor’s big adventure began when it was Sitka’s turn to hold the Democratic state convention this year and the delegates were looking under every rock, melting glacier and sleeping walrus for a respectable candidate to face Murkowski. Voilà! A star was born, sort of. For weeks, McAdams ran in obscurity with no staff and a budget adequate to cover a meal for four at Red Lobster. Then the Tea Party struck, and now he’s Mr. Smith, trying to go to Washington…
The national Democratic establishment has been ignoring McAdams. So many crazy Tea Party candidates to take advantage of, so little time. If places like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee forgot about Alaska before this week, they must be totally distracted now that the Republicans in Delaware have decided to nominate a woman who won’t tell anybody where she lives because she’s afraid her political enemies will come and hide in the bushes.
McAdams may be an imperfect candidate, but he’s also an extremely inexpensive one. An Alaskan political campaign costs less than a tenth of one in big-media states like Florida and New York. He could probably run a competitive race for a million dollars, which is about the equivalent in California of Barbara Boxer’s postage budget.
McAdams is one of the choices on Balloon Juice’s very own ActBlue page, in case you want to show him a little monetary love. Maybe, in honor of the pinnipeds seeking refugee from global warming, we can call it “Walrusbombing“?
God, could it get anymore lame than that? Why not just dress her up in a dollar bill costume with a sherlock holmes hat and a magnifying glass and name her the official mascot of the CFPB, if they’re not going to give her the actual job?
Once again, you can never please the left, even when you do exactly what they suggested you do.
Dem candidates facing teabaggers nut jobs are candicaped in terms of publicity because all the media focus is on the teabaggers. Our candidates receive little attention, even from our own sites, so how can they introduce themselves to the voters.
I’m thrilled at this end run, especially since it was her idea; it has to be her baby!
And really, want kind of politicians and voters are against a Consumer Protection Agency?
Politeness (and WordPress) forbids an honest answer.
Fuckin’ non-preemption, how does it work?
I soooooo hate this anonymous source Kabuki theatre they play in the village.
And FYWP for messing up my emphasis in that quote.
really? I don’t remember reading anywhere that progressives were angling for warren to be given an unofficial position, that might someday eventually lead to an appointment sometime somewhere in the indeterminate future. Or where we were angling for her to be the person to name the person who would head the agency.
but maybe we read different news sources. can you show me some articles where progressives demand that sort of half-measure?
Hate to sound like a firebagger but if this was a Wall Street syncophant, the Obama people would be willing to go through a bruising Senate confirmation battle.
Also too, Mika Brezinzski is a pathetic twit. And the Young Guns are even more pathetic. Is there a sleazier congressman out there than Eric Cantor? I want to use a a handful of Dawn to wash the grease off of me after watching Cantor.
What the hell do you think a recess appointment is? It’s an interim appointment.
If this was a Wall Street syncophant, there wouldn’t BE a bruising Senate confirmation battle.
And yet she’s not, and a Wall Street sycophant wouldn’t *have* a bruising confirmation battle, and Obama seems anxious to put her into some kind of position to set the agency up. (ETA: Nick beat me to it)
I’m not necessarily pleased with the way this sounds like it’s being done, but I can certainly understand the reasoning behind it.
Morning Ho gives Cantor/Ryan a tongue job and then gives Valerie Jarrett an actual interview. Wait, this is librul MSNBC.
Fuck it, I’m pleased and liberals should be to, they wanted her in charge of the agency, they wanted Obama to do something bold, he did, and of course they criticize him. Just like I said they would.
Which is why I keep saying he needs to not do bold things to please “the base,” because they’ll just find some way to bitch about it anyway. It’s like quitting your high paying job and moving across country for a girl who doesn’t like you.
no one was calling for an interim, unofficial, advisory position nick. NO ONE.
because you didn’t think of it. Someone had mentioned it on OpenLeft a while back, that if Congress wouldn’t go on recess, he should appoint her to a different position and unofficially put her in charge.
Another reason for the President not to think outside the box. His “base” is going to be suspicious when he does something they didn’t think of.
I haven’t watched Morning Ho in ages. That cut-rate crew has to have some blackmail material on some higher-up at NBC.
@Nick: I am not going to use the cliche for my less-than-ecstatic response to this news (starts with O ends with tics), but Obama’s opponents are going to find some way to bitch about this (I know, I know, they were going to do that anyway).
I wish there were a way to go the confirmation route and be done with it. Ah, to live in a world with a functioning deliberative legislative branch.
Well, let’s see how it shakes out. She does not appear to be the kind of person who would let herself be used as a figurehead. Much too early to predict.
@nick; so on the one hand, they’re giving us what we asked for (your comment at 2), but on the other you note that we “didn’t think of it” (comment 14)
OOOOOOOK then. so what you’re saying is what i’m saying: the Obama administration gave warren an unofficial, advisory position no on was asking for.
Nice pretzel logic there, buddy. I think my mascot idea is better.
A question (or two)…Progressives have been pushing for Warren to head up the consumer protection agency – fine. But if she were its (official or unofficial) head, wouldn’t that only give her power insofar as that agency was concerned? Doesn’t that just make her another head of a regulatory agency like Carol Browner etc.?
Doesn’t the fact that she is a senior advisor to the President actually give her more power and influence in respect of a wider range of issues outside just consumer protection? isn’t that what liberals/progressives wanted – i.e. someone to balance out the status quo-ness of Tim Geithner (NB: I do not necessarily subscribe to this view of TG)?
In short, can the liberal whingers please shut the f**k up and accept that this is an incredibly positive development both objectively speaking (as in it is, in fact, positive) and subjectively (as in, liberals/progressives are getting what they want – without commenting on whether what they want is in fact positive)?
Now that I’ve posed those questions, I’ll answer them pre-emptively on behalf of all whinging liberals everywhere. This will never be enough until Warren is head of the consumer protection agency, Treasury Secretary and the next liberal lion Supreme Court nominee.
Is this brendancalling guy for real?
Progressives (myself included) wanted Warren to be responsible for setting up the new CPA, so that it would have some teeth. And that is exactly the job she will be doing. How can someone give a shit how she ends up there or what her title will be? It doesn’t seem to make any material difference to her job function.
That’s like working for a promotion, and getting the raise, the responsibilities and all the perks – but not the title. Instead of Chief Marketing Officer, you’ll be VP of Marketing. I guess for the firebaggers, that would be beyond the pale. Time to pack up the office and seek greener pastures to get the nameplate on the door you wanted.
Obama seems to be giving her exactly the job you wanted to her have, and yet you still want to complain about titles and semantics.
There’s just no pleasing some people.
What else could an Unofficial president do?
These things are not mutually exclusive, she’s in charge of the agency without having the title, because getting the title requires Senate confirmation, what’s the problem? I don’t get it.
Progressives insist that Warren be put in charge of the agency, not in charge of creating the agency. Even though the agency hasn’t been created yet, naming her as the person who will create it is a total slap in the face. Don’t you get it?
No, when we suggested there could be someone else who could run it well and be confirmable, we got told she needed to do it because “it was her idea, she should be the one setting it up”
She is, shut up.
Suck on it firebaggers.
@Nick: Not sure, but I think your snark meter was mistuned on Steve’s reply. At least, I read it as snark.
ELIZABETH WARREN SOLD US OUT
A true progressive would have let Chris Dodd filibuster her nomination.
If Obama gave progressives a diamond ring, they’d complain it wasn’t 14 karat
If Obama gave progressives a dozen roses, they’d complain they weren’t in full bloom yet
If Obama gave progressives a box of chocolates, they’d complain one of them was nuget.
If Obama bought progressives a mansion, they’d complain it didn’t have enough closets.
If Obama flew them to the French Riveria, they’d complain he picked the wrong time of year.
@Nick: She’s obviously saying this only for Obama’s benefit, which just shows that she’s completely the wrong person for the job. If she can’t stand up to Obama on this meaningless point, how will she make anything of the agency?
@jwb: who can tell anymore?
This move goes a long way toward fixing my enthusiasm gap. Warren, and an end-around the Senate’s fucked up confirmation process. It’s all win. The FU to Dodd helps too.
To think I used to love the Grey Lady. What is this? “Warren to unofficially head…” Totally meaningless and just designed to gin up controversy — to give the sense that O is doing something slick and underhanded, as opposed to appointing her to a position that he *can*, where she’ll be able to help set up the agency. If you are saying she’s going to “head” the agency, then tell us what powers she’ll have over the running of the agency going forward or whether she’ll have hiring/firing power of the director. Perhaps you could tell us something substantive.
If you are telling us she’s clashed with Geithner in the past, then tell us where they differ and why. But no, it’s just so delicious that they’re going to have to work together despite disagreeing on some things!
If you are telling us she led the panel that wrote a report that included a criticism of the data-collection under Geithner (really? is that your idea of clashing?), and then telling us that she recused herself from that panel, then perhaps you could clarify what she actually had to do with the fucking report. Oh, but that would actually require doing some research.
joe from Lowell
This Warren appointment could end up being the best of both worlds. She’s not a prosecutor, and she’s not a manager; she’s an academic who has the right ideas about consumer protection law and regulating the financial sector, and about the increasingly-parasitic relationship between that industry and the public.
Design the office to her specifications, and then put in some crusading prosecutor-type to run it once it’s up and running – somebody who knows how to go right back at the banksters’ lawyers when they start to make trouble. What’s Elliot Spitzer doing these days?
joe from Lowell
Look at meeeeeeeee, I found a loophole so I can still whine!
@joe from Lowell:
I would pay to see an Spitzer confirmation fight!
@joe from Lowell:
Now that would be interesting.
joe from Lowell
“First one of you that says ‘hooker’ gets an anti-trust investigation!”
@brendancalling: Maybe they should have been.
joe from Lowell
Except, of course, Elizabeth Warren.
What a sellout, right. Corporatist! Blue Dog!
@joe from Lowell: Running dog of the Imperialist oppressors!
@Nick: Not you, obviously. BJ commentors continue to mystify me.
Welcome to the borg.
@Nick: Good try, but the quote you linked to actually says:
It might bear noting that the only “actual job” associated with the CFPB right now is bringing it into existence. Warren now has that job. Administration sources are saying that the agency could be stood up in 18 months. 18 months of Warren being the public face and advocate of the new agency will go a long way to building credibility and goodwill for it’s mission.
But by all means we should insist that Warren be used as fodder in a proxy war to head up an agency that does not exist yet, even if she herself doesn’t want to be used that way. Why would we want or expect Obama to treat his friend like that?
@myiq2xu: WaPo changed it since, I copied and pasted right from the page. It still says basically the same thing. She didn’t want to go through a confirmation process.
@joe from Lowell: Or Patrick Firzgerald?
Yeah, Obama should have done a recess appointment that expires in 3 months when the current Congress ends and wouldn’t allow him to re-nominate her! That would show Dodd and the Republicans!
Some people have seriously gotten to the point where they prefer the symbolism over actually, you know, getting shit done.
joe from Lowell
Or Ralph Nader.
Just think about the confirmation hearings! Some rich, reactionary jack-off from Dixie reading a question a staffer wrote for him, and Nader bringing teh knowledge down on his head – they could sell those hearings as a DVD boxed set.
Well, obviously. That’s because symbolism is all about us! I demand more symbolism! Giving me symbolism shows that I’m important!
Results? Pfft. Buncha bureaucrats doin’ paperwork, is what that is.
Call me an O-bot, but I just can’t see the bad news in “Elizabeth Warren is going to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”
Yes, she’s doing so as an advisor to the President and the Treasury Department instead of as the director. Will that hurt consumers? That is what we care about, right?
We’ll see how this shapes out. If this story is accurate, everything depends on the quality of the actual head of the agency, and whether that person and Obama listen to Warren. “Assistant to the President” is actually a big deal, and means the Wall Street suck-ups in the administration wouldn’t outrank Warren. If Warren winds up being window dressing, it’ll suck, but this could be a clever way to let her do her thing without being sandbagged by the obstructionist, plutocrat assholes in Congress. (And to a lesser extent, those in the administration.) But we shall see.
Ah, well, count me in as one who couldn’t tell the difference between RL and parody, even on this fucking site. I’d hate to see what the other blogs looks like.
Another case where Barry doesn’t even pretend to respect our constitution. I have no problem with interim appointments once they go through fact-finding hearings. But the last two are ridiculous…and it is ridiculous for liberals to applaud it.
You talk about a “no-bid” contract…
This is the classic battle of form over substance. My take on Elizabeth Warren is that she is all about substance, and she could care less about the window dressing.
One of the reasons I like Elizabeth Warren so much is that she appears to be a very practical, no-nonsense woman who tells the truth and gets the job done. That’s what I took away every single time I saw her speaking about TARP. I trust her to do the same thing with this new agency that was her idea in the first place.
It makes complete sense to me that Elizabeth Warren wants to actually make this agency a reality. She probably doesn’t care about the title — she will only care that she gets both responsibility and authority over what she is doing on a day-to-day basis.
Give a practical, no-nonsense person the choice of:
A title and a (likely) year of bullshit while they are trying to get me confirmed, oh, and for that entire time she can’t talk publicly about it, while the agency that can actually make a difference to the people (instead of the corporations) gets to die on the vine, or maybe worse, gets its start without the right person (you!) at the top making it happen…
A vague title but you get to build the agency, from the ground up, all the while having direct access to the president, and you can start TODAY…
If you choose door #1, it’s all about form over substance. If you choose door #2, it’s all about the substance.
It’s not as amusing and clever as I’d hoped, but in honor of a good try, I will donate to McAdams. If someone comes up with a better McAdams moneybomb name, I’ll donate again. Since I’ve already considered Icebomb and ‘Laskabomb, no fair using those.
Haven’t made it through all the comments yet, but got a chuckle out of this tidbit on Memeorandum, abouot Judd Gregg warning darkly that Warren might pursue “social justice” as part of her agenda.
ZOMFG!!! A government official pursuing the interests of the People!
New tags, Cole.