Soon-to-be-retired Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) (photo: kthread via Flickr)

The proposed nomination of Elizabeth Warren to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an entity she envisioned and invented, has reached a higher likelihood in recent weeks. She met with David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett about the job last week, and before that she met with bank lobbyists at the Financial Services Roundtable, interestingly enough. That suggests that the lobbyists increasingly view her as someone they’ll eventually have to deal with. While I don’t agree with Noam Scheiber that Jack Conway’s support of Warren is out of the ordinary – Conway’s running a populist campaign in Kentucky, and has highlighted consumer protection with his work stopping Medicare fraud as Attorney General – the fact that he’s unafraid to tout her shows the difficulty for any Democrat to block her nomination once it came down from the President.

Chris Dodd understands this. He told the Hartford Courant’s editorial board that he would support Warren if she were nominated. But he also tried to use every tool in the toolkit to argue against that prospect, sounding increasingly desperate that he cannot stop the nomination from happening.

As the campaign supporting the appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the country’s new consumer financial protection agency kicks into high gear, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd said Tuesday he isn’t working to derail the appointment.

“My simple question about Elizabeth is: Is she confirmable?” Dodd said during a visit Tuesday with The Courant’s Editorial Board. “It isn’t just a question of being a consumer advocate. I want to see that she can manage something, too.”

But when pressed about where he stands, Dodd said: “If the president wants to name her and it goes through the hearing process, then fine, he’ll have my support. But she has to tell me more than just she’s a good consumer advocate or that’s she’s got a great campaign.”

In expressing “support” for Warren (actually, just support for Obama’s choice, in his construction), Dodd: 1) questions whether she’s confirmable, 2) intimates that she’s not a manager, 3) asserts that she’s merely a “consumer advocate” with a coterie of cheerleaders. Later, he says that “he doesn’t want to the confirmation process to drag on, especially if it runs into the next session of Congress.” When he wouldn’t have any control over it. Now that sounds like some support!

As Brian Beutler notes, the suggestion that Warren may not be qualified is a complete reversal from earlier remarks, when he said that “She’s qualified, no question about that.” It also contradicts what the White House has said consistently.

I think you can read the Dodd comments as desperate bargaining against a Warren nomination. Yet even he has to announce support if she gets the call.

The proposed nomination of Elizabeth Warren to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an entity she envisioned and invented, has reached a higher likelihood in recent weeks. She met with David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett about the job last week, and before that she met with bank lobbyists at the Financial Services Roundtable, interestingly enough. That suggests that the lobbyists increasingly view her as someone they’ll eventually have to deal with. While I don’t agree with Noam Scheiber that Jack Conway’s support of Warren is out of the ordinary – Conway’s running a populist campaign in Kentucky, and has highlighted consumer protection with his work stopping Medicare fraud as Attorney General – the fact that he’s unafraid to tout her shows the difficulty for any Democrat to block her nomination once it came down from the President.

Chris Dodd understands this. He told the Hartford Courant’s editorial board that he would support Warren if she were nominated. But he also tried to use every tool in the toolkit to argue against that prospect, sounding increasingly desperate that he cannot stop the nomination from happening.

As the campaign supporting the appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the country’s new consumer financial protection agency kicks into high gear, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd said Tuesday he isn’t working to derail the appointment.

“My simple question about Elizabeth is: Is she confirmable?” Dodd said during a visit Tuesday with The Courant’s Editorial Board. “It isn’t just a question of being a consumer advocate. I want to see that she can manage something, too.”

But when pressed about where he stands, Dodd said: “If the president wants to name her and it goes through the hearing process, then fine, he’ll have my support. But she has to tell me more than just she’s a good consumer advocate or that’s she’s got a great campaign.”

In expressing “support” for Warren (actually, just support for Obama’s choice, in his construction), Dodd: 1) questions whether she’s confirmable, 2) intimates that she’s not a manager, 3) asserts that she’s merely a “consumer advocate” with a coterie of cheerleaders. Later, he says that “he doesn’t want to the confirmation process to drag on, especially if it runs into the next session of Congress.” When he wouldn’t have any control over it. Now that sounds like some support!

As Brian Beutler notes, the suggestion that Warren may not be qualified is a complete reversal from earlier remarks, when he said that “She’s qualified, no question about that.” It also contradicts what the White House has said consistently.

I think you can read the Dodd comments as desperate bargaining against a Warren nomination. Yet even he has to announce support if she gets the call.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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