Shamelessly stolen from Jim Newell’s Gawker article, “Will Tough, Awesome Elizabeth Warren Head the New Consumer Protection Agency?”:
… Warren’s voice became more prominent over the last decade for her work studying credit card company abuses and other, suddenly very common financial sector exploitations of the debt-saddled middle class. Her fame and popularity “exploded” (Washington-wise!) after she was appointed to chair the TARP oversight board in 2008, where she’s tried her damnedest and spoken quite candidly in public about Treasury’s shitty disclosure record.
Treasury secretary Tim Geithner naturally thinks she is very annoying. He probably doesn’t want her running the new rule-writing financial regulatory authority, because she would very much try to write rules, and “rules” destroy the global financial system.
Geithner’s official position is that “believes that Elizabeth Warren is exceptionally well qualified to lead the new bureau,” which seems to fit in with the possible game plan Sen. Chris Dodd hinted at this morning: that she’s great but, you know… Republicans! It would all be the Republicans fault, see?
“I think Elizabeth would be a terrific nominee,” Dodd told NPR’s Diane Rehm on Monday. “The question is, ‘Is she confirmable?’ And there’s a serious question about it… “
While we’re all still feeling warm and virtuous about our resistance to the dog-whistle racism of the Tea Partiers, let’s shine a light on the dog-whistle sexism that still percolates through the mucky base of our Acceptable Political Spectrum. Elizabeth Warren, the NYTimes notes, was the “chief conceiver of — and booster for — a new consumer financial protection agency, and has become the most prominent consumer advocate in Washington in many years… As one administration official acknowledged, the prospect of her running the new agency may be an impediment to its creation because of her crusading style, her seemingly visceral loathing of financial services companies and her expansive way of interpreting assignments.”
She may be the best choice to run an effective consumer financial protection agency, but as the Very Serious People (anonymously) ask their Media Village Courtiers: Can “we” afford an effective CFPA? What if she’s mean to the important suit-wearing almost-exclusively-male Masters of the Universe? What if she abuses her vast powers of oversight? What if she turns out to be… The Bad Mommy?
Elizabeth Warren is the mirror image of Sarah Palin: A tough-yet-still-feminine granny from Heartland America(tm) who rose to her current prominence by working hard and using her considerable intellectual abilities, not by winking at the right Right political consultants and transferring beauty-pageant skills to broader media platforms. The barely-coded arguments against her appointment are a measure of how little the nominal Progressive-Left-Center has moved beyond the rightwingers regarding some of the oldest cruelest prejudices of our tribal past.