The Charismatic Blonde Women and the Consent Decree

DDay reported on OCC’s attempt to preempt a foreclosure settlement on Monday. Today, Yves Smith has a long post giving the consent decrees the banks are trying to roll out in lieu of a real foreclosure settlement the disdain they deserve.

Wow, the Obama administration has openly negotiated against itself on behalf of the banks. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so craven heretofore.


The part I am puzzled by is who is behind this rearguard action. It clearly guts the Federal part of the settlement negotiations. If you pull out your supposed big gun (ex having done a real exam to find real problems, and it’s weaker than your negotiating demands, you’ve just demonstrated you have no threat. Now obviously, a much more aggressive cease and desist order could have been presented; it’s blindingly obvious that the only reason for putting this one forward was not to pressure the banks, as American Banker incorrectly argued, but to undermine the AGs and whatever banking/housing regulators stood with them (HUD and the DoJ were parties to the first face to face talks).

So the only part that I’d still love to know was who exactly is behind the C&D order? Is it just the OCC?

But what I’d like to know is why, coincident with the roll-out of this Potemkin resolution to the foreclosure problem, someone told Reuters that the Administration was considering Jennifer Granholm and/or Sarah Raskin to head the Consumer Finance Protection Board.

The White House is considering Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Raskin and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to head a new agency charged with protecting consumers of financial products, a source aware of the process said Tuesday.

You see, as Yves reminds us, one part of the whole AG settlement that this consent decree seems intended to replace was that Tom Miller, Iowa’s Attorney General, would get the CFPB position as his reward for shepherding through such a crappy settlement.

So now, with the consent decrees the apparent new plan to appear to address foreclosures without penalizing the banksters, the Administration rolls out the claim that it is considering Granholm and Raskin?

And the report is all the more weird given that Granholm was previously floated for the position in late March, at which point she declined to be considered and–the next day–accepted a position with Pew. This morning, in response to the Reuters story, Granholm tweeted,

This story says I’m under consideration for the CFPB job. I have declined to be considered for this post. I’m happy in my new roles at Pew, Berkeley and Dow. And, by the way, while I don’t know Raskin and she may be great, I think nominating Elizabeth Warren is a fight worth waging.

See, best as I can guess (and this is a guess), by pulling the plug on the AG settlement, the Administration lost its best case for appointing someone not named Elizabeth Warren to assume the CFPB position. Whereas they might have been able to claim (falsely) that Miller had achieved this great progressive settlement for homeowners, now they’ve decided to stick with the status quo rather than even a bad settlement. Which leaves them with the increasingly urgent problem of who heads the CFPB when it goes live in July.

And so they float a report that the one blond woman who is as much of a rock star as Warren is might get the position? Do they think Democrats can’t tell the difference between charismatic blonde women (or that progressives would confuse the down-to-earth but centrist Granholm for Warren)?

It’s like they’ve got a Craigslist posting up somewhere:

Wanted: blonde woman with great people skills and rock star looks to serve as figurehead for a position purported to exercise real power to protect American consumers, but which will instead be asked to serve up Timmeh Geithner coffee and complete deference. Democratic affiliation a plus but not necessary.

  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Timmeh must be a fan of Ocean’s Twelve, but the sexy blond assistant really is a cliche, no matter how artfully delivered the line is.

    It’s clear this administration, like its predecessor, is deathly afraid of agency heads who actually run their agencies in the manner and for the purposes the public imagines it’s paying them to promote. Like Bush, it wants White House control and conformity.

    Heavens, we can’t protect public lands instead of enable resource extraction for free or at below market prices. We can’t protect consumers against banks that have morphed from Main Street stalwarts into predatory capitalists; how would they justify their mega-bonuses? We couldn’t possibly have a homeland security department that promotes security instead of security theater, and which understands that there is a conflict and an easily upset balance between “security” and civil liberties.

    Of anyone under consideration, Ms. Warren represents a figure whose professional career has been consumer focused; it’s no mean feat to combine that corporate unfriendly focus with teaching and research skills that earned her a tenured position at Harvard Law School. If allowed to run her agency in the manner Mr. Obama tells the public it’s supposed to run, she would be a counterweight against the multifarious influences of Wall Street. Mr. Obama, it seems, wants none of that.

    Mr. Obama wants only the imagery. Conflict makes him squirm, which is odd for someone who has wanted to be president his whole life. His soon to be incessant urging that we support his re-election to that role will fall on many deaf ears unless he starts responding to Main Street’s concerns instead of always listening to the whispers from Wall Street.

  2. prostratedragon says:

    Except for the Craig’s List part, increasingly I really do think the operational method in use is something like typecasting a C-level production of a D-level script.

    Good to hear someone, Granholm that is, exercise the dying art of direct speaking, isn’t it?

    • emptywheel says:

      Granholm actually ISN’T the most frank talker (Warren is more so). But I think she got a whiff of what they were trying to do.

      Granholm is far more moderate than me, but particularly after spending the last half-decade trying to clean up after this shit, I think she sees that Warren is a no-brainer. AND I suspect she’s no fan of being perceived as “generic blonde woman.”

  3. bear says:

    … we dont pepper spray banks and yet “we” pepper sprayed a second grader this week …nice.

    on it goes the conditioning of perpetual wars as a path to peace.. the rules that apply to us do not apply to the club; continuing to erase the perceived powers of the electorate.
    Do not question the way in which your freedom is provided.

    It’s delineate the line … force it into view … enforce compliance … do not self impose this process as doing “gods” work transcends accountability.
    What do you do for money honey how do you get your kicks?
    We mainstream/capture consciousness.

    Is it not the conditioning within society of “men” wielding government perpetuating their monopoly on power that led to this child picking up the “stick” to begin with and with the pepper spraying did we not just teach this child that wielding power equates to the big stick, so on it goes. Let me guess … as I have not seen her …they killed the great mother as well ? new paradigm ?

    anyway … What happens if I dress in orange, cross a line and play off the board … to my eyes this is the last thing they want us to conclude from a reality delineated by staying inside your domestication. Thinking orange we know gets you inside a smaller box, wondering … if thinking/wearing orange not seeing the lines … which of course is dangerous to the existence of the adjustment bureau as that would open the bus door that points to the road that nothing is real, which seems to manifest the Hammer.

    how can you control folks that venturea into nothing is real type of thinking …
    jesse you cant start believing in conspiracy theories as that takes folks down the path that nothing is real … how can we control them if they operate from nothing is real ?

    no longer will appealing to their greed keep them in line … yelling look over here a shinny penny will not work, hence the wielding of sticks ?

    if we the people can not apply to the club the rules that keeps us line ….perhaps we take a step backward into filtering nothing is real … how much of the club is revealed, as it steps forward in response, before the club is no longer effective ?