With so much attention focused on the Affordable Care Act as Pres. Obama’s signature piece of legislation, most people forget another serious legislative accomplishment: the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Set up to stand for people who’ve lost large amounts of money to the same financial conglomerates that crashed and burned down the world economy in 2007-2008, it was the singular brain child of then Associate Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren.
The real action in any administration is executive in nature: knowing what regulatory buttons to push, which enforcers can really go for blood, who to put where, and how to manage them.
It’s a job Warren’s done before, when she was charged with building the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from scratch. It’s an agency she initially proposed in an article as a law professor more than a decade ago and it has a singular mandate: to stand up for everyday Americans against the financial industry and the banks.Elizabeth Warren has just one plan, Emily Stewart, VOX, September 19, 2019
Warren was, according to this article, so effective an advocate, she pissed off then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. All the same, love her or hate her, there was little doubt that not only was Warren committed to bringing her plan alive, she was “ruthlessly effective at making them real.” It is this ruthless effectiveness, more than anything else, that’s convinced me she’s the best choice for President this year.
With an agenda virtually identical to Sen. Bernie Sanders (despite the nonsensical lie that Warren’s really a neoliberal shill), the difference between them is Warren’s effectiveness as an advocate, organizer, and bridge-builder. In the wake of these past three years, there is much work to be done not so much repairing the extensive damage to the Executive Branch, as reshaping it with an eye toward something new. Relationships between the Executive and Congress need work (although much of that work would await the loss of a Republican majority in the US Senate, which I don’t anticipate), and Warren has demonstrated a willingness to work across party line without compromising her fundamental vision and values. She also has the skills needed to bring together the left-wing of the party and its moderate center. Much of her campaign has been about doing just that, creating working coalitions that will outlast this particular campaign.
Should the Democratic Party win the Presidency this year, that President will need to recognize the extent of the damage done to our institutions, the trust between the Executive and the public, and the Head of State with other countries. It will require not just creative rethinking, but plans for moving forward that recognize the instability of the status quo, both within the Democratic Party and in the country as a whole. Only Elizabeth Warren has demonstrated this ability at creative rethinking of governance. She has my vote next week in the Illinois Presidential primary.