Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Elizabeth Warren is doing exactly what, again??

Jake Tapper over at ABC has apparently gotten himself a bit of a scoop:

President Obama will announce this week that Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law School professor who first proposed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will be named to a special position reporting to both him and to the Treasury Department and tasked with heading the effort to get the new federal agency standing, a knowledgeable Democrat told ABC News.

A Democratic Senator I used to have some respect for has been going out of his friggin' way to trash a potential Warren nomination with virtually every last breath he takes while still in office:

Outgoing Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) warned Tuesday that an interim appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau "jeopardizes the existence" of the nascent agency.

The White House is considering naming Warren interim head, as the law establishing the CFPB allows, in order to get her into place immediately and head off a Senate filibuster of her nomination. Once she's in place, Obama could nominate her for the permanent position.

"I'm not enthusiastic about that and I think it'll be met with a lot of opposition," Dodd told reporters after coming off the Senate floor.

Dodd said that an interim appointment would deprive the director of the legitimacy that comes with Senate confirmation. He added that such an appointment could create a backlash that would lead Congress to defund the bureau.

"This is a big job, an important job, and it needs to be -- you've got to build the support for that institutionally or the next Congress - and none of us know what the outcome's going to be politically -- you could gut this before it even gets off the ground. If you don't have someone running it early on, it jeopardizes the existence of the consumer protection bureau," he said. Asked how Congress would gut it, he said: "Money. Take away the money. That's how you always do it."

What? Does he want the job himself? Beats Bank Lobbying, I suppose. I'll never understand why he's so focused on pissing all over this nomination. Needless to say, I won't miss Dodd when he's gone.

Needless to say, Josh Marshall (at TPM) is confused:

We're seeking more clarification now, but it sounds like the White House has decided that instead of nominating Warren to head up the new consumer financial protection bureau, or alternatively avoiding the confirmation process and appointing her as interim director, the President will take a third way and make her a special adviser to help set the bureau up.

And Matthew Yglesias (at Think Progress) tweeted this, apparently pissed off:

With Warren, Obama showing real innovation in developing odd, satisfying to nobody compromises.

The Elizabeth Warren P.R. Firm of Huffington Post is spiking the ball like they...say...scored the only touchdown in the Dallas-Washington Game from Sunday night.

The White House has tapped Elizabeth Warren as a special adviser to help set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ABC News is reporting. The move allows her to act as an interim head of the CFPB and will enable her to begin setting up the agency immediately and prevent the GOP from filibustering her nomination. Warren could serve until Obama nominates a permanent director -- a nomination he's not required to make for some time. Obama could also nominate her as the permanent director in the near future, a prospect that has been discussed among top aides, according to a person familiar with the White House deliberations. Warren will also be named as a special adviser directly to Obama, ABC reported.

(I hate to rub it in Cowboys fans, but I am like that).

But this is why you've got to read the whole piece. Josh and Matt didn't horn in on the last part of Jake's story which said:

Naming Warren as an assistant or counselor to both the president and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner would allow the president to bypass a Senate confirmation process that could prove lengthy and contentious.

“I’m concerned about all Senate confirmations these days” including if he were to “nominate somebody for dog catcher,” the president said Friday when asked if he was concerned about Warren’s ability to be confirmed. “I’ve got people who have been waiting for six months to get confirmed who nobody has an official objection to and who were voted out of committee unanimously, and I can’t get a vote on them.”

Since nominees facing the confirmation process also enter a period of public silence, avoiding the confirmation process would also allow Warren to publicly discuss the agency and its benefits, which the president is eager for her to do.

Truth be told, this sounds exactly like the Interim posting story that we've been hearing about all week. So finally, allow me to fire up the wayback machine from the distant past of Tuesday, and quote, myself:

He appoints Elizabeth Warren to the position on an Interim basis. If the Senate continues to act know...the Senate...and resists her nomination, we get both the benefit of a fight where Republicans are tarnished as people against protecting consumers, and she gets to do her job in the meantime.