Forty-four of 46 Republican Senators vowed they would not approve “any consumer financial bureau director unless the agency was put under a five-member outside board, had its work checked periodically by bank examiners and had its budget approved by Congress rather than the Federal Reserve.”
So when Republicans refused to confirm the President’s nominee, Richard Cordray, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, America’s number one duffer shouldn’t have been surprised.
Senate Republicans maintained that voting down the nomination of Cordray had everything to do with the Dodd-Frank financial reform agency lacking oversight, and nothing to do with the candidate Obama chose to head it up. In other words, Republicans wanted to take consumer protection a step further than the President was willing to go, vowing that they’d agree to confirm a director, but not before additional consumer safeguards and supervision are put in place.
As for Obama’s nominee Richard Cordray, besides being the former Attorney General of the state of Ohio and acting as chief enforcement officer at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the last year, Cordray is a five-time undefeated Jeopardy champion. Which may be why, when chiding Republicans for blocking his appointment, the President kept mentioning game playing.
According to Barack Obama, champion Jeopardy player Cordray has the expertise to “protect American families from being taken advantage of by mortgage lenders, payday lenders and debt collectors.”
After his pick was rejected, posing a few questions of his own, an irritated Barack Obama wanted to know if “Republicans in Congress think our financial crisis was caused by too much oversight of mortgage lenders or debt collectors?”
Apparently not, because “What was the attempt by the Bush administration to set up an overhaul agency within the Treasury Department to supervise Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?” would have been one of the correct responses for the Jeopardy answer “Busting the housing bubble.”
At the time, a report by outside investigators “concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae [did] not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.”
Minor details like those do not stop President Obama from continuing to attribute three-plus years of his own economic failure to GW Bush, a man who saw it coming and sincerely attempted to head it off, but was thwarted by Barack Obama’s Democrats.
In response to the GOP filibustering Cordray’s nomination, leaving him “7 shy of the 60 votes needed to get a final confirmation vote,” the President indignantly defended his pick, saying, “Financial institutions have plenty of high-powered lawyers and lobbyists looking out for them. It’s time consumers had someone on their side.”
‘Potent Potables’ aside, is Obama referring to consumer protection watchdogs such as Maxine Waters (D-CA) who, when referring to Fannie Mae, claimed Bush was trying to “fix something that wasn’t broke,” or push-for-homeownership Democrats like Barney Frank (D-MA), who promised that we wouldn’t “see the collapse that you see when people talk about a bubble?”
Is that the kind of protection the president hopes to establish on behalf of the American consumer?
Either way, Barack Obama vowed he would not back down on Jeopardy champ Cordray’s appointment, and prior to Christmas Obama simply refused to “take ‘no’ for an answer.” Just as he did on immigration reform, the President let it be known that he’d be open to “bypass Congress and change things on [his] own” and “circumvent Congress and seat Cordray as a recess appointment.”
If nothing else, Barack Obama is really proving to be a man of his word, because that is exactly what he did. He used recess appointment powers to install Cordray as head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. One small problem: the “recess appointment” was made when the Senate was still in session.
For the White House, this is not a problem, and it continues to soldier on, arguing that “Republican senators have been stonewalling his nominees for so long that Mr. Obama had no choice but to circumvent them.” President Obama called the “Senate Republicans’ ongoing blockade of his nomination ‘inexcusable.'”
Prior to leaving for Oahu, right before Congress agreed to a temporary payroll tax extension contingent upon a “Republican-written provision compelling [Obama] to make a speedy decision on whether to build the [Keystone] pipeline,” the President said that what goes on in the game of politics “cannot be about who wins and loses in Washington.”
Yet to prove how much he wants to be the one seated in the ‘Winner’s Circle,’ one day after returning from Hawaii to DC, against the wishes of Republican lawmakers and in opposition to his own Justice Department, Obama flagrantly cheated at the game he was just talking about prior to going to Hawaii by appointing Mr. Cordray to oversee consumer concerns.
In the run-up to the 2012 election, champion game-player Barack Obama is attempting to send a message to America that he cannot be stymied by an unreasonable Congress, and that any “inexcusable” attempt on his part to outwit the balance of power and neuter the American Constitution is purely a concerned President working on behalf of the American people.
By flouting established precedent in what House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH) called an “unconstitutional power grab,” once again Barack Obama is the one who has put the nation in jeopardy with another renegade decision that, according to Boehner, could have a “devastating effect on the checks and balances that are enshrined in our Constitution.”