CLASS WARFARE? You want to talk about “class warfare” ??
Mere days after announcing her intent to reclaim Lion of the Senate Ted Kennedy‘s seat from Naked Man With Truck Scott Brown, unlikely populist firebrand Elizabeth Warren‘s poll numbers shot up an amazing 15% in a week, putting her up 2% (a statistical tie.) Her seriously reformist message, which drives most Republican politicians and many Democrats crazy, has won her admirers from across the spectrum, from a nationwide base of progressive activists to true conservatives like the National Review’s Rod Dreher and John Cole’s Balloon Juice – all folks with a true understanding of, and outrage over, how Wall Street and the Big Banks have taken over our government at the rest of our expense.
I’ve been reading – I want to call her Liz Warren – since around 2005 when she was a Harvard professor writing about economic issues on Talking Points Memo during Bush’s attempts to privatize Social Security. She always had, and still has, a breathtaking talent for cutting through all the bullshit and making complex issues crystal clear.
The tough working-class girl from Oklahoma who fought her way into a Harvard professorship and went on to write numerous articles that warned prophetically of the coming 2008-9 economic crisis was tapped by President Obama and Senator Reid to be the lead watchdog over the $700 billion bank bailout program, where, “despite her mild manner, she repeatedly proved herself a thorn in the Administration’s side.”
Still she was kept on – in spite of this President’s generally Wall Street-coddling ways – to mastermind the creation of her brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [or sometimes called, Agency.] The purpose of this Bureau is to protect consumers – you and me – from tricky and predatory credit card companies and other lenders; and you may have already noticed the beginning of its effects in the drastic reduction of confusing and misleading fine print when you sign these agreements.
But no sooner was the Bureau created than Senate Republicans began doing everything they could think of to weaken it, hamstring it. Evidently, as friendly as the President and some other Dems have been to Wall Street and the banks, the GOP is trying to outdo them, up to to the point of opposing ANY regulation, just to make sure they get most of those fat-cat donations. From a July interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper:
TAPPER: Now Senate Republicans are pushing for changes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You don’t think that those are good changes?
WARREN: I don’t get this. They’re pushing for changes — they want to rip the engine out of the car before anyone has even driven it around the block once. We had this fight. The fight went on for a year. It was over. There was a vote a year ago. And the vote was that the majority — 60 senators — voted in favor of having this Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — plenty of safeguards put in place, plenty of limits, but ultimately a strong, tough agency that can get the job done. Now there are 44 senators who just want to say, “You know, we don’t like that outcome. So we want to change it. We want you to rip the arms and legs off this agency.” Um, my answer is no. The agency is here to do a job, a job that desperately needs to be done, a job that Republicans and Democrats and libertarians and people who don’t care about politics at all care about — and that is being able to read their financial contracts, know what the price is, know what the risk is, not be overwhelmed with unreadable fine print. That’s what we’re headed [toward] and that’s what I want to see happen.
TAPPER: They want, instead of a director, I guess, they want a board to oversee?
WARREN: No, what they want to do is they just want to slow this thing up. They want to find another way to see if they can complicate it and keep it from moving forward and mire it in fighting. Let me be clear: There are more restrictions on this agency than any of the other banking regulators. We already have restrictions on our budget that none of the others have… And then the trade-off was you put a single director at the top because you want to try to get something done. Now, if ultimately your goal is to get nothing done, to stay with the old regulatory system where nobody is watching out for American families, then, sure, let’s come in and amend it some more, let’s put five people in charge, let’s put seven, let’s put 10. That will make sure we don’t get anything done.
After Senate Republicans made it clear that they would never confirm Professor Warren to run the Bureau, Obama nominated an assistant of hers, Richard Cordray. But since then, they’ve refused to confirm him either, and have actually said they’ll oppose ANYBODY running the Bureau, leaving it to limp along without a director, because they oppose the Bureau that much. How much do Senate Republicans oppose this Bureau whose purpose is to protect YOU AND ME from predatory lenders? So much that when the rumor went around that Obama might appoint a director during Senate’s recess (a move ballsier than we’ve ever seen him make) they labored to keep the Senate officially in session by having one of their lesser thugs bang a gavel each day and then bugger off.
THAT’S how much Republicans don’t want you and me protected from financial crooks. THAT’S how much they don’t care if another financial crisis happens. THAT’S how much they just want to be sure they get ALL the financial-industry contributions that Obama got some of before. Which makes me want to ask something I frequently feel like asking: HOW CAN ANY OF YOU VOTE REPUBLICAN? I mean, what are you thinking? I know you can’t all be billionaires AND financial crooks.
Anyway, at the urging of millions of us, Professor Warren is now bypassing all that crap by running to be PART of that body that worked so hard to keep her down and stop her good work. Her opponent Scott Brown has already become Congress’ largest recipient of hedge fund donations, so terrified are those crooks of having Warren in a position of power. Just listen to her campaign announcement below, and then consider donating to her campaign. As I’ve learned a few times, it feels good, later, to have contributed to the campaign of a winning candidate, especially when you know it’s someone who will go on to fight for you and me for years to come!