When Scott Brown upset the Massachusetts Democratic establishment by winning the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for a generation, he ran as a Republican. This cycle, facing the “founder” of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Elizabeth Warren, he appears to be running away from conservative principles.
Brown’s most recent capitulation is his support for a floor vote for President Obama’s nominee for the uber-regulatory agency known as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Brown’s announcement undercuts not only his Republican colleagues who are fighting to limit the power of this new government agency but of the principles of limited government he professes to support.
Unfortunately, Brown may not be alone. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) is purportedly seeking a deal with the White House to get fellow Ohioan Cordray confirmed despite ethical questions about his behavior as the state’s Attorney General. Insiders are always concerned about the Maine Senators and Alaskan Lisa Murkowski. If a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, Portman, Collins, Snowe and Murkowski need to buck up and support their colleagues.
The fight over Cordray and the CFPB is critical for the future of the economy. Republicans talk a good game about limiting new government but allowing Cordray to be confirmed will unleash a new rash of regulations on the economy.
The temporary head of the Bureau, Raj Date, is running the building but he cannot implement new regulations. Even so, he is laying the groundwork for an unprecedented assault on the marketplace. He recently released an 802-page report outlining new regulations and why they are needed.
Of course, the last thing the economy needs is more government, more red-tape and more job-killing regulations. It’s clear that the President and his supporters are responsible for the state of the economy and the imposition of new regulations are a key factor. Should Republicans capitulate and allow a CFPB Director to be confirmed, they too will share the blame. Not only is that stupid economically it is stupid politically. We can only hope the weakest links of the chain continue to hold.