Posted by | November 9, 2010 14:41 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

After it appeared as if Elizabeth Warren would be the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency in September, the White House appears ready to pull a disastrous bait-and-switch on their progressive base. POLITICO reported yesterday that Melissa Bean is being floated around as the new head of the CFPA pending the result of her “too close to call” election with Republican challenger Joe Walsh in Chicago’s 8th congressional district. Are you kidding me? Melissa Bean’s reputation as “Wall Street’s favorite Democrat” precedes her. And why wouldn’t she be, given that over 40% of her 2009 campaign contributions came from the finance, insurance and real estate sector. Bean also received more money from the corporatist US Chamber of Commerce than any other House incumbent.

Bean’s rap sheet as “Wall Street’s favorite Democrat” includes voting against auditing the Fed, pushing for loopholes in the House derivatives regulations, and introducing an amendment to gut a House bill to limit bonuses for TARP recipients. Going from a strong progressive fighter and consumer advocate like Elizabeth Warren to Melissa Bean is like going from a Ferrari to a bus pass. If you asked me who would be the worst Democrat to head the new CFPA and protect consumers from banker abuse, I would have honestly said Melissa Bean.

But this is an unfortunate pattern with the Obama administration. If you’d asked me who the worst person Obama could have picked as Treasury Secretary, I would have said Tim Geithner, and then Larry Summers. Geithner was head of the New York Fed, directly in charge of regulating the New York banks, as Wall Street was imploding around him. Larry Summers helped create the 2008 financial meltdown with his lust for financial deregulation in the 90’s.  And here were the two main parts of Obama’s economic team.

If you’d asked me who the worst Democrat is to implement health care reform I would have said Liz Fowler, the former WellPoint executive who helped write loopholes into the health care bill on behalf of the health insurance industry. So of course, that is who Obama picks.

Forget picking the best person for the job, at some point, can Obama just pick someone who is not literally the worst person available? Is that too much to ask for? Can we at least get someone who is just the second or third-worst person this time?

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