Elizabeth Warren: I’m Saving All the Rocks in My Pocket for the Republicans

I just got off a conference call with Elizabeth Warren. And while she said her plans extend no further than taking her grandkids to LegoLand, it’s pretty clear she’s going to be spending her time beating up on Republicans. Rather than respond to questions about why she didn’t get the job as Director of CFPB, she said she was “saving all the rocks in my pocket for the Republicans.” She also said, in the context of fighting for the CFPB, that

Having a nominee frees us up to have a big political fight. … Republicans want to embrace the system that failed. My view is we can now have that fight. … Republicans are counting on the word [that they’re opposing the CFPB] not getting back to their constituents at home.

This is the kind of fight we haven’t heard from Warren for the entire year she’s been cooped up at the White House. And it’s the kind of fight that, when she is allowed to make it, she generally wins.

So whether or not Warren intends to run for the Senate (she demurred when asked that question), it seems she’s prepared to, finally, make this a political fight, to make Republicans pay for their intransigence on this issue.

In the end, this won’t necessarily get us a CFPB Director, and therefore it won’t necessarily gets us a fully-functional CFPB. But it will finally brand Republicans for the anti-consumer policies they’ve embraced.

Let’s hope the White House doesn’t undercut Warren’s arguments by embracing the same kinds of policies.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

33 replies
  1. September says:

    Good for her; and this is a good move. The GOP has vested a lot in “prestroying” her, and now that’s all wasted.

    Instead they get a popular (among progressives anyway) challenger for a Senate seat. Huzzah.

  2. Scarecrow says:

    The question I want answered is whether she eventually says, ” this rock is meant for any Dem, include the Prz, who spouts tea-GOP talking points. “

  3. emptywheel says:

    Scarecrow: Not yet, I don’t think. My guess is they’ll send her out to try to bask in her progressive aura. But that’ll probably only last so long as she believes they’re still behind the CFPB.

  4. sandra williams says:

    “Let’s hope the White House doesn’t undercut Warren’s arguments by embracing the same kinds of policies.”

    Yeah right. Good luck with that.

  5. marksb says:

    I will be shocked if she isn’t running…and she intends to make the campaign a very loud national indictment of GOP economic “policy” (or lack thereof). I think she knows what a Big Deal it is for her to take on Scott Brown and how much national attention will be paid.
    Thus, the rocks.

  6. emptywheel says:

    I’m still not convinced she has either 1) decided whether she’s running or 2) will run.

    If she’s campaigning in MA, then she’s gonna have to stay there. That limits how much beating up of Republicans she will be able to do. If I were her, for example, I’d want to spend some time in Issa’s and McHenry’s district talking about what bankster shills they were.

  7. Glen Etzkorn says:

    I want her running for President of United States as I can not stomach the thought giving Obama a second chance. I would rather see a real democrat in that position instead of a fraud.

  8. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Good timing.

    The EU bank stress tests look strange, and gold is hitting $1600 while the banks and finance have not done squat on job creation — despite the disgusting Goldman Sachs ads they serve up all over my Internet sites. Gold doesn’t sell that high unless people are stressed out, IMVHO. Meanwhile, JP Morgan’s stock is up 13%.

    Given the background indicators of economic, social, and personal stress, Warren’s voice is badly needed.
    And the timing appears to be excellent.

  9. Abusto says:

    While Warren may be less constrained to discuss issues, any idea that she’d be allowed to stray from the DLC that exemplifies Obama LLC doesn’t fly. Hope she tenders her resignation and becomes free of the ideologs that is the WH

  10. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Found you guys.

    Just wanted to mention that Ms. Warren is a Coog. Not everyone down here has a background as a Republican redneck.

  11. cregan says:

    I think the mistake that Warren makes, and the same one the GOP makes is making this all a game. A political game, wherein only one side is wrong and the entire scope of an issue is not examined.

    The “system” at failed was a lot bigger than Warren makes out. So, some crooks get pinned down while the others go free. And, the rest of us are left with a broken system while the political leaders in charge of that week’s message take the votes to the bank.

  12. EoH says:

    It ought also to brand the Democrats for being anti-consumer. Mr. Obama is not pushing a consumerist agenda. He has shown no interest in confronting Republicans about their virulent anti-consumerism, let alone actively opposing them over it.

  13. phred says:

    Alas, undercutting good policy is O’s stock in trade.

    More power to Warren. Even if she only hurls her rocks at Republicans, more than a few will likely hit the Dems who support those Reps and that can only help her (our) cause…

  14. nahant says:

    I sure hope she can make a difference some how some way. the “Little” people have been being screwed for years by the Banksters!!
    Sorry that you left the Lake but I sure will come by and read ALL you great Reporting!

  15. PeasantParty says:

    Well, if she is carrying 5 smooth stones for that Goliath of an evil GOP I wish she would change them for jagged ones.

    Seriously, instead of knocking them down once in a while they need to be knocked out for a while!

  16. Rayne says:

    Well…I guess the next question to pose to Ms. Warren:

    Who looks like a Republican to you?

    The current Mayor of Chicago looks like one. So does the occupant in the White House; he’s farther to the right than Betty Ford, for crying out loud.

  17. dustbunny44 says:

    Getting good legislation and policies passed is the goal, but when they block it, having them pay a political price for doing so might be the best alternative that remains. Failure to make them pay that price effectively makes us pay for it later, because they spend their political capital.

  18. PeasantParty says:

    Is there any way to convince her to run for President? With our economy so bad, she would be an instant winner!

  19. phred says:

    Jim, thanks for that link about Ivins. Even for the government, that is some spectacularly circular logic. I particularly like the fact that in trying to defend themselves against a wrongful death suit from the family of an anthrax victim, they might be setting themselves up for a wrongful death suit by Ivins’ family, since it appears the government hounded the man to death.

  20. emptywheel says:

    Phred
    Yeah, we’re both looking through some of the filings now. It’s pretty clear their case against Ivins is for shit, but they don’t want to admit that bc 1) they’ll lose this suit 2) they’ll have a contractor or private lab running around unpunished for domestic terrorism.

  21. Peterr says:

    For the record, Legoland rocks. Seriously. Glad that Warren has her priorities in place.

    As for the rest of Marcy’s post, it strikes me that Warren is doing what she’s been doing for some time: putting the work of protecting consumers at the top of her “to do” list.

    Marcy, did she comment on her status as “Assistant to the President” and “Special Advisor to SecTreas for CFPB”? Do these come to an end, now that there is a nominee, or does she still have an official title within the administration?

    These comments from her sound as if the official ties are cut and she’s more of a free agent than she was before — but I haven’t seen any “Warren’s last day will be . . .” stories.

  22. phred says:

    Thanks EW. The ineptitude of the Feds at sorting out the anthrax attack is really something to behold. In the grand scheme of things, there aren’t that many places to look. And here, they confess that Ivins’ lab didn’t have the necessary equipment to make the powder? They should have been able to spot that in an afternoon.

    One might get the impression that they weren’t trying very hard to find the culprit. Of course, one should never rule out incompetence, but that is one hell of a lot of incompetence.

  23. SaltinWound says:

    I know nominees are tightly managed, but the odds were against Warren from the beginning. I wish she would have spent the last year speaking the truth and letting chips fall where they may. Same with Dawn Johnsen before that. What did they gain by keeping their mouths shut while they were nominees? Nothing. The benefit went entirely to the White House.

  24. Bob Schacht says:

    Peterr on July 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm said:

    “…Marcy, did she comment on her status as “Assistant to the President” and “Special Advisor to SecTreas for CFPB”? Do these come to an end, now that there is a nominee, or does she still have an official title within the administration?”

    Excellent question. I’d like to know the answer, too.

    Bob in AZ

  25. Pepe says:

    Let’s hope the White House doesn’t undercut Warren’s arguments by embracing the same kinds of policies.

    That’s the rub then isn’t it. Hopefully she’ll save some rocks for the Dems and the WH.

    And if she made it into the Senate, she’d be completely co-opted yet again. She needs to be on the outside ginning up trouble for the banks. She would be hamstrung and ineffectual in the Senate.

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