I have been geeking out over yesterday’s big primaries, and the ensuing act of Republican cannibalism that really, really belongs in one of Linda McMahon’s WWE Smackdowns. (I mean seriously: who doesn’t want to see Sarah Palin kick Karl Rove in the crotch, followed up by Rush Limbaugh taking a bite out of Rove’s ear? Meanwhile, Christine Crazy-pants O’Donnell enters wearing nothing by a floor-length cape made of tea-bags, shrieking, “Stop masturbating and put on your man-pants!”) I’ll go pop more popcorn.
But then I heard even more exciting news: President Obama has tapped Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And he did it with all the panache of Wesley as the Dread Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride.
Can you see the connection? No? Let me explain. No, there is no time. Let me sum up.
Here’s the deal: everyone sane and to the left of Richard Nixon wanted the brilliant, the steely-spined, the unflappable, and unimpeachable Elizabeth Warren, in this job. (Except Chris Dodd. WTF, Dodd?) Obama wanted
- Nominate Elizabeth Warren, and watch an ugly, protracted confirmation hearing process, which could very well end in her not getting confirmed. (And, as the lovely and talented Rachel Maddow just pointed out,
would have to provide vapid non-answers to her congressional questioners, which would make her appear to be other than the ass-kicking, name-taking, populist paladin that she is.) Even if the GOP weren’t beholden to their bank-exec orc overlords, they couldn’t be seen to compromise with Obama this close to an election. Because they must appease the tea-bagger fringe. Who don’t like getting ripped off, or big government, and really, really don’t like a government agency that would prevent them form getting ripped off. Oh, Tea-baggers. You are a riddle wrapped in crazy, drowned in a teabag.) Warren
- Not nominate Elizabeth Warren, and have his entire base (you know, the Progressives, who got him this President gig) break up with him and write mean facebook posts about him for the next two years.
- Name Warren in a recess appointment, like this summer, when no one sane is paying attention, but everyone crazy seizes on the tiniest morsel of news and twists it out of shape. (Cue the Elizabeth Warren Hitler posters). And give the GOP another thing to complain about: “Obama’s doing things behind our back! And it’s probably socialist! And fascist! And French and gay!”
But, no. Obama chose the jedi ju-jiitsu move instead: wait until congress is back in session. Wait until the last big primary day passes, when a few GOP-establishment candidates are ousted by wild-eyed fringe candidates (have you met Mr. Paladino?
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20016461-503544.html), and the entire news cycle realizes that the GOP might be in disarray (ya think?!). Then.
“But, that’s not the same as a real appointment! That’s just a symbolic gesture!” Oh, no, my dears.
Here’s the beauty of it:
- The “Special Assistant” position is no Miss Congeniality prize. You know who else is a “Special Assistant” in the White House? (Hint: it’s not Bo.) Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel.
answers directly to the President and to the Treasury Secretary. And everyone else answers to her. Warren
- She can start immediately, without waiting for Congress make an ass of themselves. I’m going to assume, since the whole agency was her idea, and she’s been talking about it since the financial debacle of 2008, she’s got a rough outline of what she wants to do with her time. Which means she can start doing things between now and the election.
- This will make the left base very, very, happy. Which might make them less inclined to stay home on the first Tuesday in November.
- Oh. We might get some meaningful banking regulation in our lifetime.
- Obama can (and likely will) make her appointment the old-fashioned way, with the ridiculous confirmation hearings, at a later time of his choosing. Like, after the midterms. And after she’s kicked some ass. Which should make her confirmation hearings go more smoothly (and make them more fun to watch.)
But wait, there’s more!
It seems that this bit of Venusian Akido (hmmm. Is that spelled right? My spell-check is about to implode.) isn’t the only bone President Obama is throwing to his base (you know, the sane people in the country).
No! Look at what Obama has been saying about the Bush-era tax-breaks!
Look what’s been happening with immigration reform!
People! This is three-dimensional chess! A three-dimensional chess hat trick! At the galactic championship of three-dimensional chess! (Look, I watched a lot of movies and sci-fi this summer. Sue me.)
Finally, President Obama is doing something! I mean, besides the landmark health care reform, the watershed banking reform, the fair-pay acts, the pants-ing of BP for peeing in our Gulf, and the nomination of 2 terrific Supreme Court Justices. And, oh yeah, lowering your federal taxes last year, plus winding a senseless 8-year war in Iraq, and pulling the economy back from the abyss, preventing a second Great Depression. All of this with an obstructionist opposition so hell-bent on doing nothing helpful whatsoever, they voted against bills they themselves had written.
Somewhere over the summer, President Obama found his progressive self, gave him some Red Bull, and sent him out to fight. He put Mr. Bipartisan Compromise in deep storage. And he’s insisting that the Democratic congresspersons (as a certain tea-party candidate would say) “put on their man pants” with him and pass some serious legislation before the midterms. (For other awesome things this certain tea-partier has said, here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/15/christine-odonnell-craziest-quotes_n_718328.html)
There's even some movement on (ok, ok, I admit, Obama is still dragging his feet on this one, but the Democratic congress seems to be finding its spine) finally repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell!
The next few weeks should be telling. Watch how the Republicans, who currently gave their man-pants to a bunch of fruit loops wearing powdered wigs and knee-breeches, react to these issues. And ask yourself: should we cede more ground to these jack-holes?
Democratic base (and sane independents): consider this your wake-up call. Elizabeth Warren isn’t a bone thrown to the liberal fringe. She’s a warning shot across the Tea-Bagger’s and GOP’s bow.
The polling booths await.
Fire up. Get ready to go.