OTHER VOICES

Obama’s retreat

Posted July 25, 2011, at 6:13 p.m.
Last modified July 25, 2011, at 7:48 p.m.

President Barack Obama’s willingness to abandon Elizabeth Warren as the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau raises a disturbing question. Will he ultimately cave in to Wall Street in the same way he is swooning before obstinate Republicans fighting him on the federal government’s debt ceiling?

Warren conceived of the regulatory framework intended to avoid repeating the financial sins of omission and commission that drove the economy into the ground. She was willing not only to reinvigorate government oversight, but to look for new ways to protect consumers and taxpayers.

Warren terrified Republicans on Capitol Hill and the investment bankers they represent with a singular passion. Turns out Warren also unnerved senior officials in the administration.

Obama’s implosion produces no strategic advantage. Republicans say they will oppose the president’s nominee, Richard Cordray, with the same intensity, and, by the way, keep working to deny funding to the new agency.

Warren had lots of competition for the new consumer post. We had endorsed another strong candidate, but the early White House interest in her was wholly justified. As time progressed, Warren became a symbol of the change that needs to occur.

Obama’s retreat is a deeply troubling symbol of the change that is eroding before it even gets a chance to start.

The Seattle Times (July 21)

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