President Obama, Give Liz a Job

With news reports that Government Sachs is trying to prevent Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren from being nominated by President Obama to head to the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there is one crowd she clearly has in her camp, the American people.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have created a clicking cacophony by signing on-line petitions telling President Obama to “just do it.” And of course, with their notable delicacy, subscribers have told the President to “just grow a pair” and nominate Warren toot sweetie. First let me say that self-selected Bankster subscribers are generally a bunch of, well, angry Americans. They come in all political stripes, but the one thing they have in common is that they hate big banks, they hate what banks have done to our economy and they are not too fond of the government either. When the debate on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill was signed into law, the Bankster brigade generally gave the bill an “F”, especially for failing to cut the “too big to fail” financial institutions down to size or restore depression-era Glass-Steagall protections. One Bankster subscriber said, "...The legislation is basically a Trojan horse that is a 'gift' for the people on the surface, but actually contains the seeds of a future defeat." Others slammed this commentator for pointing out that some aspects of the bill may not have been penned by Lloyd Blankfein. But even the grumpiest Bankster crankster became a purring pussycat when asked to sign a petition in support of Warren’s candidacy for the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and comment on her qualifications. The respect and admiration for Warren was stunning. Phrases like “informed,” “articulate,” “brilliant,” “amazing,” “warm,” “trustworthy,” “a breath of fresh air,” and even “god sent” were just the beginning of the love fest. But let me let Warren’s fan club speak for itself -- on Warren, on Treasury Secretary Geithner and on President Obama’s handling of the situation.

On Professor Warren

Richard Smith: "Elizabeth Warren is a woman of integrity and courage, and has committed her life to serving the American people." Michael Coleman: "She has the insight and mindset to protect consumers and to roll back the Wall Street -Washington nexus that is transforming us into a Banana Republic." Saran Kirschbaum: "We need someone who cares about the middle class and will work to protect it." Robert Fox: "Elizabeth Warren is the perfect person for the job. In fact she's the perfect person for a lot of jobs." Becky Collins asks: "Can we clone her???" Christopher Whitten: "The main reason is that the American people TRUST her. Trust that is almost non-existent between the people and the government." Linda Andersson: "I feel safe when I hear her talk." Darlene Catello Gibson: "Her combination of straight talk and the facts to back her up are unbeatable. She is my heroine."

On Opposition from the U.S. Treasury Department

Mary Whitmore: "She is smart and effective. That is why Geithner is against her appointment. We need at least one person who is on our side." William Sturrock: "The fact that Wall Street, Geithner and Dodd do not support her is, by itself, sufficient reason to appoint Elizabeth Warren. That she is also intelligent, renders complex issues easy to understand in an affable and succinct way, and that she proposed the CFPB in the first place, makes her appointment all the more necessary. What happened, Mr. President, to the 'team of rivals'"? Ronald Peterson: "Elizabeth Warren should be the Treasury Secretary." John Bihary: "Maybe she should have Obama’s job instead."

On Obama's Hesitation

Yvonne Hansen: "The President looses credibility as he hesitates appointing Elizabeth Warren to head the CFPB. The President can gain points by appointing her to the job." Martin LeMaire: "Why is this decision so difficult or even debated? She's the best person for the job." Tim Boyle: "President Obama, please don't back down on this with the tired excuse 'we don't have the votes in the Senate.' We need a fighter, not a caver, in the White House. Use the bully pulpit." Philip McHenny: "I voted for Obama, but if he misses this chance to help the American people he will lose my support!" Jim Walz: "Any nominee other than Elizabeth Warren would be bad for the middle class. I support President Obama, but may lose me with a wrong choice". Jim Glover: "This choice will also help Obama keep his job if he still wants it."

My Take

I laughed out loud when Toni Garmon wrote, "President Obama, for goodness sakes, give Liz a job, must you always hire Republicans?" Polling shows that Americans are losing faith in government generally, and in this President particularly. At the same time, they are going to bat for a plain-spoken woman who has repeatedly gone to bat for them. If Barack Obama were to nominate Warren in the face of opposition from his advisers and the U.S. Senate, it might just inspire Americans like Judith Safley to believe that their President shares their faith and sees a future for us all that is not owned lock stock and barrel by the Banksters. Sign the petition today.

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and is a two-time recipient of the Sidney Prize for public interest journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.