Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 19, 2010

DODD CONCERNED ABOUT WARREN OVERCOMING OBSTRUCTIONISM.... By most measures, Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren seems like the obvious choice to lead the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The bureau itself almost certainly wouldn't exist were it not for Warren's work, and by most accounts, she's the one who proposed creating the office in the first place.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters the other day that Warren, currently the leading watchdog of the financial industry bailout, is "a great, great champion for consumers," adding that she's "obviously a candidate to lead this effort" at the CFPA.

This isn't to say there aren't other qualified candidates, but Warren appears to be in a class of her own. So, what's the problem? There have been widespread rumors about Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner raising concerns, but today, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) suggested there's a more obvious impediment.

Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said he sensed rumblings among colleagues that Warren, the chairwoman of the panel overseeing the 2008 Wall Street bailout program, might not get the 60 votes necessary to win confirmation.

"I think Elizabeth would be a terrific nominee," Dodd told NPR's Diane Rehm on Monday. "The question is, 'Is she confirmable?' And there's a serious question about it."

"The question is, can we get someone who is confirmable? She may be, but that's not the only potential nominee -- there are many fine nominees," he said.

Just so we're clear, in a 59-41 Senate, with the White House's party in the majority, the president may be discouraged from nominating the most qualified choice to lead a key consumer protection agency because conservative senators probably won't let her have an up-or-down vote.

Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that this is no way to run a government.

Steve Benen 3:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (43)

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Comments

Sounds like Dodd is trying to claim her nomination would be in trouble from unnamed adversaries, obviously of the democratic persuasion. He should not be so cowardly: name them.

Posted by: jjm on July 19, 2010 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

might not get the 60 votes

The Senate might as well make this an official rule, valid unless the Republicans are in the majority.

Posted by: qwerty on July 19, 2010 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Just so we're clear, in a 59-41 Senate, with the White House's party in the majority, the president may be discouraged from nominating the most qualified choice to lead a key consumer protection agency because conservative senators probably won't let her have an up-or-down vote.

Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that this is no way to run a government."


Spot-on, Steve

Let's just not forget we had this sentiment if the Repubs take over the Senate and get rid of the filibuster.

Posted by: ErikTheRed on July 19, 2010 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you should put the fact that Warren would clearly win and up or down vote in the first sentence. Then talk about the super majority the republicans are forcing on every substantive action or appointment before it can be voted on.

Posted by: beyond left on July 19, 2010 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

It's time to end the filibuster (as it is) anyway. It has been misused by the Repugs for far too long.
If not elimination, at least require, as it used to, that for a filibuster to take place the person performing it must stay at the podium for the full time. Leave the podium and it is over...

Posted by: CompuGuy on July 19, 2010 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

It's time to end the filibuster (as it is) anyway. It has been misused by the Repugs for far too long.
If not elimination, at least require, as it used to, that for a filibuster to take place the person performing it must stay at the podium for the full time. Leave the podium and it is over...

Posted by: Cybrguy on July 19, 2010 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Last I looked there were dozens of qualified candidates being held hostage by the Republicans. Why should Dodd worry about another. My guess is little Timmy Geithner is working hard behind the scenes for Goldman Sachs banksters. Dodd is just blowing smoke for Geithner and the Banksters.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 19, 2010 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that this is no way to run a government."

Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that the bought-and-paid-for corporate stooge Senate Democrats obviously think it is a FINE way to run a government; otherwise instead of hiding behind empty Republican filibuster threats, they would either abolish the filibuster or they would call the Republicans' bluff and make them actually filibuster everything.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 19, 2010 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK


Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that this is no way to run a government.

That's beyond refudiation...

Posted by: koreyel on July 19, 2010 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, we wonder: What will it take for Democrats to develop some spine?

Posted by: Molly Weasley on July 19, 2010 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Here they come, the feelers into the public sphere to determine how bad the backlash will be when Warren is not Obama's choice. As predictable as the sun rising in the east.

No doubt we'll see a former Goldman exec in the position. Just watch.

Posted by: tommybones on July 19, 2010 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Wow Steve that was. The "rotating villain" strategy, first named by Greenwald, is apparently still alive.

What SecularAnimist said +1.

The WH and the Dems are just FINE with this structure.

Posted by: Observer on July 19, 2010 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Molly Weasley,

in this case it's not a lack of "spine". Lord knows there's already lots of examples of that. In this instance, the 60 vote excuse is a cover to deflect the blame.

The WH and the corporatist and Blue Dog senators really don't like Warren's activism on behalf of the little people.


Posted by: Observer on July 19, 2010 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, we wonder: What will it take for Democrats to develop some spine?

Being more concerned about protecting individual citizens than they are about cushioning corporations. It ain't happening.

Posted by: shortstop on July 19, 2010 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that this is no way to run a government.

Perhaps now would be a good time to note again that until we have entirely publicly financed elections, this is the only way the government runs -- there are major differences between the parties, certainly, but on the issue of corporate protections those differences are a matter of degree and not of kind.

And we're not getting PFEs, so I just wasted 20 seconds bitching.

Posted by: shortstop on July 19, 2010 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

But those would be some DYNOMITE confirmation hearings. Warren names names and takes no prisoners, and gives as good as she gets.

It would be worth it even if she gets rejected.

Posted by: Joe Friday on July 19, 2010 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

I have an idea, Sen. Dodd: why not let the Republicans name the candidate, and have the Dems go along? That way you'll be sure that the candidate is "confirmable".

Posted by: Joe Buck on July 19, 2010 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers said it before me, and probably better:

..."dozens of qualified candidates being held hostage by the Republicans. Why should Dodd worry about another? My guess is little Timmy Geithner is working hard behind the scenes for Goldman Sachs banksters. Dodd is just blowing smoke for Geithner..."

Absolutely. Mr. Benen's post seems to be missing something - using this logic, the R's could block *any* nominee for the position. I think this is a concerted effort to deflect attention away from the fact that this Warren person is unacceptable for the Wall Street constituency. And it makes you wonder about every other time the Dems fall back on "gee, we'd love to, if it weren't for this darn filibuster... "

I saw Warren on the Daily Show making some pretty populist noises against the bank bailouts, saying, "where did the money go?". That kinda thing. I can see why Wall Street money, and its recipients, are absolutely uncomfortable with her.

Posted by: flubber on July 19, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats should announce that, should the Republicans block a critical nominee, and if the Democrats still have 50 votes in January 2011, they will end the filibuster on presidential nominations. They can do this because the Senate adopts the rules at the beginning of each term.

Posted by: Joe Buck on July 19, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Being more concerned about protecting individual citizens than they are about cushioning corporations. It ain't happening."

Go easy on Dodd. He is a great bagman!

Posted by: Lloyd B. on July 19, 2010 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

The filibuster should be changed so that it can only cause a temporary delay, not a permanent block. For those who fear that the Republicans will take over the Senate: well, if they do, it will be because the American people chose that, and the most likely reason that the American people might choose that is that Senate Dems come off like a bunch of ineffectual, craven, cowardly wimps.

Posted by: Joe Buck on July 19, 2010 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Lloyd, no, I'm not going to pile on Dodd unreservedly. He's done a lot of legislative things through the years that I'm very glad for. I don't have a lot of patience for the "teh dems r as bad as teh gop!" crowd. They're not, and people sound like 20-year-olds who voted for the first time in 2008 when they pretend they are.

But Dems and Repubs have in common the fact that they live and die by corporate campaign contributions, again in differences of degree rather than kind. And until that changes, these conversations are depressing and rather pointless.

Posted by: shortstop on July 19, 2010 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

It seems like if this is the case, then the best thing for people to do would be to immediately contact their Senators asking them to support Elizabeth Warren for the position, and maybe get them on the record for or against.

Posted by: mcc on July 19, 2010 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Lloyd, no, I'm not going to pile on Dodd unreservedly. He's done a lot of legislative things through the years that I'm very glad for. I don't have a lot of patience for the "teh dems r as bad as teh gop!" crowd. They're not, and people sound like 20-year-olds who voted for the first time in 2008 when they pretend they are.

But Dems and Repubs have in common the fact that they live and die by corporate campaign contributions, again in differences of degree rather than kind. And until that changes, these conversations are depressing and rather pointless."

Yeah, why pile on the guy whose been bought like our current POTUS has been? All I ever hear around here is how different and better the Dems/Libs are. So I say pile on the cheaply bought Dodd. Tar and feathers too.

Posted by: Lloyd B. on July 19, 2010 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Last I looked there were dozens of qualified candidates being held hostage by the Republicans. Why should Dodd worry about another. My guess is little Timmy Geithner is working hard behind the scenes for Goldman Sachs banksters. Dodd is just blowing smoke for Geithner and the Banksters."

The WH, Fed and Congress are simply Goldman Sachs field offices. Liberals will never admit that. But may St. Gensler and St. Summers hear my prayers...

Posted by: 400 on July 19, 2010 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps now would be a good time to note again that until we have entirely publicly financed elections, this is the only way the government runs -- there are major differences between the parties, certainly, but on the issue of corporate protections those differences are a matter of degree and not of kind.

Arizona's state elections are entirely publicly financed, though the Supreme Court recently struck down the provisions saying that the state could give matching funds to publicly-funded candidates who didn't raise as much as self-funded candidates. It was all of those publicly-funded elected officials who brought us the "papers, please" anti-immigrant law and various other wingnutteries.

Like term limits, publicly funded elections aren't a magic bullet to fix what's wrong with our system.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 19, 2010 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, why pile on the guy whose been bought like our current POTUS has been?

Yeah, I pretty much figured you'd say that. So, whatcha doing this summer between sophomore and junior year? Never mind. I'm not really interested; I was just being polite.

Like term limits, publicly funded elections aren't a magic bullet to fix what's wrong with our system.

I never suggested that they were, today or any of the many other times we've talked about this here and at BJ, Mnemosyne. But we won't even get out of the gate toward fixing the system until we have them -- and that's not something you can say for term limits, BTW.

Posted by: shortstop on July 19, 2010 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Yeah, I pretty much figured you'd say that. So, whatcha doing this summer between sophomore and junior year? Never mind. I'm not really interested; I was just being polite."

Remind me again of how he returned the campaign contribution made by Goldman Sachs. Musta missed that story...Or maybe I missed the one about Mr. Blankfein not visiting 1600 quite a few times and Mr. Gensler and Mr. Summers not working there. Oh wait, the meeting in San Fran between Obama and oligarchs was cancelled, right? Or was the press allowed in?

Posted by: Lloyd B. on July 19, 2010 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicans are going to filibuster anyone Obama nominates -- it doesn't matter. So why not nominate whomever will be the best person for the job? Chris Dodd has a lot of good qualities. Standing up to Wall Street or his increasingly nutty right-wing colleagues is not one of them.

Posted by: jonas on July 19, 2010 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

There is no reason on earth not to use recess appointments, as has been well documented and well argued many times over. If Obama doesn't use recess appointment to overcome a Warren fillibuster, he doesn't really want her in the job. See: Dawn Johnsen.

Posted by: Alan in SF on July 19, 2010 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that this is no way to run a government.

It is, however, a wonderful way to destroy one.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on July 19, 2010 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

And to close the loop on Steve's comment -- the alternative to the most qualified choice will be someone's whose chief qualification is that they are acceptable enough to certain Republicans to get the necessary 60 votes.

When the milquetoast replacement fails to catch the next big corporate failure or otherwise fails, Republicans will point to such failure as an example for why we cannot trust, fund or rely on regulators.

And so it goes.

Posted by: Cicero on July 19, 2010 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck Chris Dodd.

If the Dems can't go to the mat for Elizabeth Warren, then they don't deserve to hold office.

After leaving Dawn Johnson and Van Jones twisting in the wind, abandoning Elizabeth Warren would be my third strike.

When are any of these people going to stand up for anything?

Posted by: bdop4 on July 19, 2010 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Please, it can't start soon enough. Just the thought of Warren, the calm voice of reason and moderation, being confronted by the Goobers and Gomers and snake handlers of the GOP is a delight.
The subtext that none of them could gain admittance to her graduate seminar will be crashingly obvious.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on July 19, 2010 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Y'know, I keep asking myself. Didn't the Supreme Court have a ruling about "One Man, One Vote,?" And if so, how come my "one vote" for the Democrats turns out to be worth less than the one vote of every Senator whose party LOST the last election.
They are in the minority, but they seem to have this magic power to negate the votes of the majority and they do it over and over.....on EVERYTHING....judicial appointments, health care, climate change, financial reform, regular appointments. They lost the election....they lost. Their party was NOT chosen by the majority of voters. WHY do they get a bigger vote than the Senators who won?

I keep asking, but apparently there isn't anyone in the Senate who thinks that question has any value....even the members whose will keeps getting thwarted by crap like this.

Chris....you are leaving office....grow some and start a drive to eliminate the filibuster...NOW!!!

Posted by: dweb on July 19, 2010 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

All President Obama needs to do is tell the obstructionist Republicans (as well as any Blue Dog Democrats) that if Warren is filibustered then he will recess appoint her at the first opportunity. Screw the Republicans. Screw the Blue Dogs. Dawn Johnsen should have been recess appointed. Is Elizabeth Warren, the best voice that consumer Americans could have at this new agency, about to suffer the same fate as Johnsen, left to bleed by the road after being run over by the hardcore racist Republicans' filibuster bus? Why hasn't President Obama recess appointed ALL his nominees obstructed by crazed Republicans and Blue Dogs in Congress? I don't get it. Does the Obama administration expect Republicans and Blue Dogs to go sane all of a sudden?

Posted by: The Oracle on July 19, 2010 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

End the filibuster; end blaming repubs for dem gutlessness.

Posted by: nonick on July 19, 2010 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

Interestingly enough, on my Facebook page I linked to the Facebook page "We want Elizabeth Warren policing Wall Street" telling the administration to nominate Warren to the position... and got two "like"s right away from friends, one from a very liberal friend and one from a very conservative friend. I admit to being shocked that my conservative friend agreed as we don't agree at all on politics.

Posted by: Hannah on July 19, 2010 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

True, it's no way to run a government for Obama to not nominate the best candidate out of some very convenient fear of Republicans blocking her. Nominate the best. Do battle. Win or lose. Don't be a coward.

Posted by: Dale on July 19, 2010 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think Chris Dodd is really telling us that he doesn't support her and a natural extension of that is that about a half dozen other industry shills (Nelson, Bayh, Lieberman, et al) aren't on board either.

Face it, the Republicans are more corrupt, more willfully ignorant, and generally a sad group of ho's for rich people.

But they aren't cowards.

Posted by: LosGatosCA on July 19, 2010 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

If preemptive attack is a valid policy (see: GW Bu..$h.. and I-wreck), why not preemptive cave-in?

Like most commenters above, I agree that a preemptive cave-in, for personal pecuniary reasons, is what's driving Dodd and the rest of the "comity commissariat" in the Senate. And, like the rest, I'm nauseated. "We tried but failed" was a lame enough excuse (try harder?); "we would have liked to have tried but our nuts shriveled"...

Posted by: exlibra on July 19, 2010 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

It will probably come down to a recess appointment.

Posted by: bob h on July 20, 2010 at 6:29 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: uebernachtung guenstig in garmisch partenkirchen buchen on December 9, 2010 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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