Why Does Warren Spook Dodd?

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JONATHAN COHN AUGUST 2, 2010

Why Does Warren Spook Dodd?

Senator Christopher Dodd obviously hasn't gotten over his doubts that the Senate would confirm Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. According to the Wall Street Journal, Dodd recently approached Sheila Bair, head of the FDIC, to see if she might be interested in the job. She apparently said no thanks.

The Journal notes that Dodd isn't the only Democrat nervous about Warren's prospects:

Many Democrats feel they need someone in the post who won't be swayed by bankers. Others worry that choosing someone seen as too activist--a charge leveled at Ms. Warren--could turn public sentiment against from the agency.

For the record, I'm also not sure the Senate would confirm her. A lot of groups might fight her appointment. But, like my colleague Noam, I think the politics strongly favor the Democrats here.

I'm sure opponents will attack her as an "activist," in the hopes that taps into the public's widespread distrust of government. But Warren is not some anonymous character onto which the right-wing attack machine can project any image it wants. She's a well-liked public figure with a clear identity as a consumer crusader.

A debate over Warren probably won't be a debate about which party likes government. It's far more likely to become a debate over which party likes Wall Street. And that's a debate the Democrats should be able to win.

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posted in: jonathan cohn, wall street journal, christopher dodd, elizabeth warren, sheila bair, sheila blair, fdic, senate

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