Warren’s Insidery Tell-All

Such an ingrate, this Elizabeth Warren. She’s plucked out of academic obscurity for a life in Washington policy making and what did she do? She dared to what she thought was right, what she thought she was brought here to do.

That’s just not done, as the now Sen. Warren was told, according to her new book, A Fighting Chance.

A fierce consumer advocate supposedly brought in for that reputation, Warren soon learned that she was not supposed to aggravate the powerful – not an easy thing to avoid doing, for a real consumer advocate who isn’t there to assure consumers something is being done — that isn’t.

Larry Summers, then National Economic Council boss, laid down the rules for Warren.

He teed it up this way: I had a choice,” Warren writes. “I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don’t criticize other insiders.”

There’s not much difference in how those rules apply to the Washington news media. Want scoops? Be good to the insiders. Piss off the insiders and you’re lucky to even get a press credential. Access journalism is all about serving insiders and getting dirt on their opponents (unless, of course, they are insiders you’re also protecting) or, waiting for the green light to attack one of their own who fell out of the club.

Warren seems most disappointed that Obama himself wasn’t on board for taking on the Wall Street bad guys she wanted to slice into chunks and feed to starving pigs.

After coming up with the idea for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, audaciously intended to keep banks from bilking their own customers, Warren was the presumed choice to head it. Obama had told her so.

But then the President told Warren she made Senate Republicans and Wall Street “very nervous,” urging her instead to take on advisory role. As it turned out, a White House aide said that meant merely to serve as a “cheerleader.”

If an agency charged with stopping banks that wreck lives for profit isn’t supposed to make anyone “nervous,” then it sounds like that agency should just close up shop and hand over their printers and paper weights to bureaucrats who cheerfully don’t do what we think they’re supposed to do. That way we get back to how Washington works, and the insiders can rest easy.

Obama summed it up for her, Warren writes. And he did it with words I find telling about his Goldilocks presidency, always trying to find just the right temperature and stay one step ahead of the bears.

“You’re jamming me, Elizabeth,” Obama told her, and she writes that he “urged me not to overplay my hand.”

“Trust me,” Obama said.

49 thoughts on “Warren’s Insidery Tell-All”

  1. I’m sure she’s got the rhythm down, but it’s hard to get the part if she’s tone deaf, can’t remember the words, and forgets where the conductor is standing.

  2. what summers advised is not surprising coming from him. wiki writes

    Business interests[edit]
    On October 19, 2006, Summers was appointed a part-time managing director of the New York-based hedge fund D. E. Shaw & Co. for which he received $5 million in salary and other compensation over a 16-month period.[45] At the same time Summers earned $2.8 million in speaking fees from major financial institutions,[46][47] including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers.[48]

    and later according to wiki

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Summers called Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) asking him to remove caps on executive pay at firms that have received stimulus money, including Citigroup.[58]

    On April 3, 2009 Summers came under renewed criticism after it was disclosed that he was paid millions of dollars the previous year by companies which he now has influence over as a public servant. He earned $5 million from the hedge fund D. E. Shaw, and collected $2.7 million in speaking fees from Wall Street companies that received government bailout money.[59]

  3. more from that same wiki page makes me think that ms romer might also have a bone or two to pick with larry.

    According to The New Republic, economic advisor Christina Romer initially recommended a $1.8-trillion package, which proposal Summers quickly rejected, believing any stimulus approaching $1 trillion would not pass through Congress. Romer revised her recommendation to $1.2 trillion, which Summers agreed to include in the memo, but Summers struck the figure at the last minute.[57]

  4. One of my biggest disappointments with Obama is his refusal to afflict the comfortable. I know that it is bad politics to piss off or make nervous the monied few, but hell, isn’t that what the CFPB would by definition do if it did its job?

  5. I will never forget the change I saw in Obama just days after the election when he got his first really comprehensive security briefing. He was one somber dude in the press conference just after that, maybe even a little scared, especially for someone who had just won a Cinderella election. Don’t know what they did to him, but it was something.

  6. I guess it would be sobering to know that his predecessor was told shortly before the 9/11 attack that the guy who backed the attack was determined to attack the US, and despite the formidable intelligence capabilities of the US he couldn’t do anything to prevent it. Obama’s a lawyer – and I suspect he remembers the old crim law paradigm of who, when, where and how – (with why thrown in by some) and had to think something like “Holy shit, we don’t know enough of the answers to prevent anyone from striking us whenever and wherever by any means (and who gives a crap why?) “

  7. Obama never does anything risky or controversial … he tries to please everyone, all the time.

    This is good for advancing your career but it is not leadership.

    Obama is a “careerist,” not a leader.

  8. Craig.Crawford: Don’t know what they did to him, but it was something.

    They showed him the pictures, don’t know what he did but they must be some good ones.

    I’ve long suspected the Intelligence committee members are being blackmailed.
    The modern NSA, J edgars wet dream


  9. BTW, I gave up on Obama years ago.
    We are on our own.
    Here is a bucket, start bailing.


  10. Jack, we’re gonna need a bigger bucket. (There are about 248 R’s who are dumping water into the ship with their own buckets.)

  11. Our .01-Pcters have their American passports at the top of the bundle for all the right reasons. That doesn’t mean that they reciprocate their country’s loyalty to them.

    Basically, I put them in the same ethical class as Snowden. They just have different commodities to trade.

  12. Craig.Crawford,

    You saw the change. When I first saw him at the June 2007 meeting he was outstanding. He blew away all of us who attended his speech. That is when I finally joined into his campaign (in a way that is, I was running for office at the time and was not going to do much for a 2008 candidate).

    But, he changed in office. And the metamorphosis was not to the good. Although he has worked and accomplished quite a lot, it is more about what he has not accomplished. The Republican effort to destroy a black man in the White House continues to fizzle, but it also harms America due to the lack of economic recovery.

    What happened? I can only speculate. But, I also put some of it to being cautious as the first man of color leading the United States. Fear of failure, fear of doing something wrong, fear of something. What, maybe he will tell us in 2017.

  13. Pogo
    and the Democrats aren’t?
    Right now they are both lost causes.
    And those few who aren’t get shunted aside.
    Time to shut up and start bailing.


  14. Jack, the dems are amateurs compared to the R’s. IMHO the dems are merely ineffective at stopping the water being poured in by the R’s. But at that level they are all suspect. Bu then I’m a dem, so go figure that would be my take.

  15. What a concept – someone with ethics actually applies them. Speaking of which last night’s Cosmos was about scientists shilling for the lead industry and the scientist who defeated them after 20 years. That this show is on the entertainment FOX channel when the Fox News channel continues to pooh pooh Climate change is among the things that makes me go hmmmmm.

  16. Favorite Easter Movies :
    A Day Late & A $ Short

    1. Nosferatu either the 1922 or the 1979 version will do nicely. He is risen !

    2. God Is Great and I Am Not 2001

    3. The Passion of St.Joan 1928

    4. Michael Collins 1996

    5. The Silver Chalice 1954 Accidentally bizarre

  17. If Elizabeth Warren has Presidential ambitions, would the Democratic hierarchy be behind her, or would they slap her down with the “anyone but Carter” syndrome a la 1980? Too many good people aren’t done in by the voters; they’re done in by their own Party leadership who fear an independent soul. It’s like being subjected to the worst high school clique cubed then squared.

  18. from newyorker

    When the electorate is convinced that the political system is broken, and wants change, how does one market an insider who has been on the national stage for more than twenty years, and who wants to advertise experience and sound judgment as her primary qualities?

    In many ways, this is the same test that Hillary Clinton faced, and ultimately flunked, in 2008. Fortunately for her, there is no Barack Obama on the horizon this time. There is, though, an Elizabeth Warren, and that is the first question for Clinton: how to head off a possible run from Warren, supported by the left wing of the Democratic Party.

  19. Too many good people aren’t done in by the voters; they’re done in by their own Party leadership

    sjwny, hubert h humphrey example of your 1st clause and hillary of the 2nd.

  20. sjwny,

    … I agree… I don’t take all this talk about Warren running for president seriously because I seriously don’t see the powers that be in the Democratic party machine allowing it to happen.

  21. I suppose Elizabeth could run in 2016, but unless she has been doing a lot of homework, I think she will have an uphill run in the fundraising department. But then again, Obama didn’t start fundraising for real until February 2007. Hillary on the other hand has had fundraising apparatus in place for at least 10 years now – and started with money from her senate campaign – but she got dwarfed by Obama’s fundraising in the latter part of the campaign, so anything goes, I guess.

  22. httpv://youtu.be/WbwC281uzUs
    part 1 of “Original broadcast of CBS News Special Report with Walter Cronkite about the first Earth Day, 1970. Also known as Earth Week 1970.”

  23. httpv://youtu.be/6HUtM_LTyIw
    part 13 the conclusion of Cronkite’s special report on earth day/week 1970

  24. WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has upheld Michigan’s ban on using race as a factor in college admissions.

    The justices said in a 6-2 ruling Tuesday that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions. The justices say that a lower federal court was wrong to set aside the change as discriminatory.

  25. I figured they told him aliens really did crash in Roswell & they are actually in charge now.

    Happy Earth Day!

    Biden/Warren? The Clinton’s might want to spend time with their growing family instead of schlepping to Iowa, etc., in campaign mode.

  26. I love Warren, but I’d still support HRC on the basis of Admin experience. And, yes, I know, ronnie “Yes, Mommy” reagan and babybush proved that the country could even elect a marble bust and administration would carry on. However, I still like the idea of someone with sense, courage, brains, and experience, sitting at the top of the bureaucracy.

  27. How could I have forgotten calvin “Wake me when the clock strikes 1928″ coolidge, and Leslie King (dba gerry ford) ?

  28. blueINdallas,

    Biden and Warren? To me that’s a plausible ticket. I think Biden would love the opportunity of teaching Warren how to be Chief Lobbyist instead of the bridge burner that I now perceive her to be.

    Personally, I think there’s only a 30/60 chance that Hillary will run; being a grandparent is not a part-time job or commitment.

  29. geeez… what is this talk about Hillary maybe not wanting to run because she’s going to be a grandmother. If it were Bill (or Tom, Dick & Harry) thinking about running would anyone here suggest maybe not because he’s going to be a grandfather…

    I wish Patsi were here to tell y’all exactly what she thinks of such attitudes.

  30. The Clintons will DESTROY any Dem who dares to actually, seriously, run against them. Their surrogates have already publicly warned Warren.

    The only primary “challengers” will be fakes ones who have been secretly approved, with the understanding that they only throw weak punches. They may even be given a script to follow in “debates.”

    Their reward will be a choice job in Hillary’s administration. Biden is perfect to play the fool. Maybe they’ll make him ambassador to France.
    (Great food & drink, no heavy lifting.)

    I am not being a simplistic “Clinton basher.” I base my assertions on observations of how the Clintons have operated from the first day Bill entered politics. The record speaks for itself.

  31. RebelliousRenee,

    If I had one child who was having her first child and I was approaching my 70s, I would think long and hard as to which would have priority, family or ego.. I think I would probably opt for grandfatherhood which combines the best of both.

    Is that sexist? Only if you choose it to be.

  32. nytimes article “With Eyes on Possible Clinton Run, Questions on Room for Other Women”

    Few doubt that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nomination for president would be good for women. But her candidacy would also likely block the paths for other women running for the White House, and, notably, for those who would like to be vice president.
    “It’s certainly possible to have two women,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California. “I am not sure it’s wise. You want a ticket that represents men and women .”

    ” a ticket that represents men and women” just like we’ve always had, dianne?

  33. Flatus…
    I really thought Democrats were long past this by now… guess I was wrong.

    Since Patsi’s not here let me take a stab at what I think she would say… if it walks like a pig, talks like a pig, and smells like a pig… well… oink oink

  34. RebelliousRenee,

    Renee, you miss the point. It’s ageist, not sexist. Had Patsi lived long enough to be placed in this position, she might be more empathetic about how I feel.

  35. from yahoo

    The Democratic National Committee has asked Chicago, New York and 13 others to make a pitch to host the presidential nominating convention in 2016.

    if they eventually choose nyc, party bigwigs decided it’s a hillary ticket.

  36. Who was the last strong Democratic President? LBJ. He was in ways personally repugnant, but he got things done (in the Senate & as President) that needed to get done for the betterment of this country. Using fear can be a great motivator; unfortunately the current Party leadership is reactionary / inert instead of taking action.
    Here’s a proposal: put James Carter IV in charge. His 47% Romney video was a game changer. I like the cut of his jib. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do to get things done.

  37. meanwhile back at the ranch

    KLAS in Las Vegas obtained property records showing that Bundy’s parents purchased the family’s ranch in 1948. The Bunkerville, Nev. ranch has been the site of a tense standoff with the federal government over Bundy’s use of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

    Those records appear to contradict Bundy’s own history of the ranch, as well as his biography.
    “My rights are before the BLM even existed, but my rights are created by beneficial use. Beneficial use means we created the forage and the water from the time the very first pioneers come here,” Bundy said.

    But court records obtained by KLAS indicated the family’s cattle didn’t begin grazing the land until 1954. The Bureau of Land Management was created in 1946 (the same year Cliven Bundy was born.)

  38. I think we tend to look at the political world from a “what could be, what should be” perspective when it is really a “what is” political world. Obama marked a changing political gestalt that appeared to provide for the inclusion of previously excluded classes of office holders at the top levels. Only time will tell whether it was a rule change or just an exception. I like the possibility of a woman in the oval office – tends to make the case that the rules have indeed changed. I believe we’re watching an inevitable transition, the only factor is how much time it will take for the previously excluded to become mainstream. Sooner rather than later, I say. Enough with old white men holding the beliefs of their grandfathers running the country.

  39. flatus, in the case of grannies, generally speaking, ageism is sexism. however, my impression was that renee’s outrage was directed more at dems spokesfolk as a whole rather than at you.
    ms. patsi’s colorful comments are sorely missed at times like this.

  40. Flatus… patd is correct… my remarks are almost always directed at the world at large. I’ve been reading these types of remarks since Chelsea announced she was pregnant. And… I’m not only outraged.. I am saddened as well.

    I mean… really… some Democrats seem to think Hillary should dust off her sewing machine and brush up on her chocolate cookie recipe because of Chelsea’s decision. And then they point the finger at the GOP’s “war on women”…. how ironic.

  41. patd,

    You said that quite well. I understand. Simplifying my thoughts to the max, a person can be right or be happy. If that person hasn’t lost his or her marbles, as aging progresses, being happy gains weight over being right. I think I know what makes me happy.

    Patsi and I were solidly in the same camp. I miss her silver tongue.

  42. Heck, if an old white guy IS the best choice for President, God Bless. Or a young white guy. Or a woman of any age. Or a person of color. Or a person who is LGBT. We need a Leader who is smart enough not to be outsmarted by anyone else, and intelligence is the ultimate equalizer. It’s giving those very people the opportunity and atmosphere to thrive by pruning out the dead wood in politics that is needed – in all Parties.

  43. sj, dont forget the holding the beliefs of their grandparents part. Its the reliving failed policies based on beliefs proven wrong that concerns me. Young men (or women) holding those beliefs fit into the “not again” category. Paul Ryan comes to mind.

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