Elizabeth Warren or Wall Street: Obama’s $26 Million Decision*
*Headline from article cited
This is what we get when we allow “possible” to override the differences between right and wrong. We wind up with nothing to choose from but a a few slight variations in wrongness.
It’s where we wind up when we get to the point where we believe that the ONLY consideration in governance is making damned sure our party stays in power, even if our party is no longer our party.
“Anyone but a so and so” is a cool sounding little slogan, but it’s a damned piss poor way to elect a government and that goes for BOTH sides.
I didn’t get into the Elizabeth Warren thing much since I was pretty sure what the outcome was going to be. I had already learned how much President Obama had gotten from the financial sector in campaign contributions back when I was trying to figure out why the three key items in financial reform were taken off the table before discussions even started.
Then, when the Centrist Democrats started making their usual noises about how hard it would be to get her confirmed and the GOP responded with a chorus of “Damned right!” I knew for certain that any chances she might have had were were pretty much null and void.
Elizabeth Warren gives every indication of being far too pro consumer… and quite frankly, too concerned with the plight of the other 98% in general… to ever win any kind of acceptance by the rat bastard whores and pimps and various other forms of egg sucking vermin that we’ve put in charge of the henhouse.
Hopefuly, she’ll wind up running for elected office and WE will get to have a say about her actual suitability to be involved in serving the people instead of those who already actually HAVE that responsibility and have chosen to abrogate it in favor of short term personal gain, financial and/or political.
But this isn’t really about Elizabeth Warren other than as an example. It’s about the cancer eating away at the vitals of our country. A disease of which the way in which her case was handled is only a symptom and only one of many.
It could, as always, be summed up in three words… FOLLOW THE MONEY… and it pervades every facet of governance in this country today. It determines what’s “POSSIBLE” and what’s not and in so doing, practically obliterates our entire alleged two party system.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – the self-proclaimed “cop on the beat” dedicated to policing unfair, deceptive, and abusive financial services – fell victim to the consequences of the relentless fundraising demanded by our money-dominated political system.
With the nomination of Richard Cordray, President Obama bypassed Elizabeth Warren, who, as the Nation put it, has “done more than anyone since Ralph Nader to put consumer protection on the national agenda.” Warren was the driving force behind the CFPB’s creation and was appointed interim director last fall after a public campaign on her behalf. Yet despite these qualifications, Obama chose not to nominate her.
It is hard to believe that such a decision reflects qualifications or “confirmability,” as has been claimed, as much as a cold financial calculus. In the 2008 election cycle, Obama received $26 million from banks and financial services companies and employees – more than any other presidential candidate in history, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Facing a potentially rocky road to reelection, Obama is seeking to raise another $750 million for his reelection campaign, and potential bank contributions represent a significant chunk of that total. (Obama collected $86 million for his re-election campaign and the Democratic Party combined for just the three months ending in June, according to the Associated Press.) Given the fierce opposition of banks and financial services groups to the CFPB in general and to the appointment of Warren in particular, it’s easy to infer the campaign funds at stake in the decision.
So, Mr. Obama is just as caught up in the dependence on Wall Street for his very existence in the political arena as are any of his potential Republican opponents. He’s just as beholden to the special interests as any Republican and it doesn’t… at least for the purposes of this post… matter whether he’s in a that position of necessity or by choice (“… more than any other presidential candidate in history…“). The simple fact is that he IS in that position and can only be expected to act accordingly.
Once all distinction between parties and even ideologies starts to disappear and they start to blur together, right then… at that point you’re boned, no matter how you vote. If we’ve learned nothing else since 2008, we should be taking that to the bank.
Obama faced a critical choice: buck the banks by appointing Warren, and risk seeing $26 million in reelection funds dry up – or toe the industry line and let stronger consumer protections, the end of predatory lending, fair mortgage rules, and other promised protections fall through the cracks. Fundraising once again trumped policy.
The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a charge to represent citizens’ interests in the financial transactions that affect all of our lives intimately – the homes we live in, the amounts we earn and save. In 2009, Obama stated that the CFPB “will have just one mission: to look out for the financial interests of ordinary Americans…We have already seen and lived the consequences of what happens when there is too little accountability on Wall Street and too little protection for Main Street, and I will not allow this country to go back there.”
But the agency is not really for ordinary Americans when the President who chooses its leader must kneel to the checkbooks of the bankers to have enough money to run for office in our democracy.
Mr. Obama… for reasons of his own but in what could be an almost letter perfect example of what has been termed the “Politics of the Possible” chose to toss Ms. Warren under the bus rather than face down the GOP and their childish tantrums.
Now it remains to be seen how much of the agency’s stated mission objectives will STILL have to be sacrificed for the “possibility” of Mr. Cordray’s confirmation. Do YOU think the Republicans have given up on extracting every tooth in the CFPB’s head? Nah, me neither.
Nor do I think there’s any reason to believe that Mr. Obama will make this his spot to finally draw a line in the sand and say simply, “Enough is Enough”. We stand here.”. That simply isn’t practical… or POSSIBLE… in this country’s current version of banana republic politics.