I was first introduced to Elizabeth Warren in Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.”
At the time, Ms. Warren was chair of a Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the U.S. banking bailout involving hundreds of billions of tax payer dollars. When Michael asked her in the film “where the money went”, she candidly replied with genuine frustration and refreshing candor, “I don’t know” — a question which remains largely unanswered to this day.
A seemingly perfect choice to develop and oversee a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Elizabeth Warren was named a a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on September 17, 2010, since then earning the nickname “Sheriff of Wall Street” and ruffling more than a few feathers outside and inside the Obama Administration.
On Thursday, July 14th, while testifying before a congressional panel, Warren questioned the scope of state and federal investigations into alleged mortgage abuses and “illegal” foreclosures perpetrated by the nation’s largest mortgage companies, marking the first time a senior White House official publicly broke ranks with the President over the issue and raising fresh questions about the wisdom of the government’s rush to settle with the firms.
She testified that government agencies may not have sufficiently investigated claims that borrowers’ homes were illegally seized by banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial.
Four days later, on Monday, July 18th, President Obama announced Warren was being passed over as his choice to become permanent Director of the very organization she had conceived and created, instead choosing to nominate Warren’s second-in-command, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, thus caving in to those who view Elizabeth Warren as being far, far too serious in her quest for meaningful banking regulations and reform.
While this decision may well open the door for Ms. Warren to run for the Senate next year in Massachusetts against Scott Brown, surprise inheritor of Ted Kennedy’s old seat, Obama’s latest reluctance to confront the GOP head on in this instance again seems to signal Presidential timidity at best and incomprehensible capitulation at worst.
In Elizabeth Warren’s case, I find myself equally troubled by the President’s choice of such Wall Street tainted advisors as Geithner, Larry Summers, Bill Daily and others, who may well have felt themselves under Warren’s scrutiny to an uncomfortable degree in her attempts to shed serious light on shifty shenanigans.
But I am most heartened by Ms. Warren’s words to the Huffington Post
in graciously commenting on Cordray’s appointment:
“I’m not taking my eye off those who want to cripple this agency. We got this agency by fighting, we stood it up by fighting, and, if takes more fighting to keep it strong and independent, then we can do it.”
Perhaps the day may come when a Senator Warren might become a President Warren. She already has her gloves on.