As the Senate questions Richard Cordray, Obama’s nominee for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it’s hard not to wonder what’s happening in the life of Elizabeth Warren, the mother of the CFPB and its architect.
Based on news reports, it seems Warren used the Labor Day holiday to tease the Massachusetts electorate about her possible U.S. Senate run against Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass).
And even though Warren is not officially a candidate, polls show she is a popular choice for the position nonetheless. But, exploratory committees aside, Warren’s behavior is not that of a quiet observer.
Warren clearly wishes to embrace the persona that she embodies the voice of the people. She said as much by standing in front of the Greater Boston Labor Council, proclaiming she would continue fighting for the middle class, according to the Boston Globe.
For the record, Warren’s critics never doubted her niceness or her sincerity. But what is in question is why she continues skipping over the stress government housing policies have placed on the very same middle class — while riding the popular opinion that she is a modern day voice of the people.
Is Warren really the voice of people who bargain for their own employment and paycheck only to find they are continually dealing with government-types? As architect of the CFPB, Warren’s complaints against the financial industry rarely honed in on the government policy launched in the early 2000s which encouraged banks to lend first and ask questions later.
Peter Wallison, who has a track record of blaming the government for placing the housing crisis solely on the private sector’s shoulders, explains this dilemma in an article published Monday. Wallison criticized the FHFA’s suits against the banks. He contends the banks’ risky behavior spawned from an era where the government insisted any growth in homeownership was a noble goal that required the financial sector’s involvement.
With Warren heading up the CFPB, she could make the argument that decisions could be made for the consumer, and by the consumer, with no partisanship or special interests in their pockets.
As a senator, Warren wouldn’t really be able to make the same claim. Yet, this is likely to be the very platform the Harvard professor will parlay for votes.
Or is Warren hoping that the middle class won’t be able to, or for that matter even care to, note the difference?
Write to: Kerri Panchuk.