In a move that has angered Republicans, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced he’s making a recess appointment of Richard Cordray to be the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, sidestepping the Senate confirmation process. I’m so happy that Obama has finally grown a sack and is doing what he sees is best for the country. The Senate has shown that they will continue to play party line politics to gridlock policy decisions and decision-making, and have attempted to mire the president in bureaucracy from being able to do his job that the American people hired him to do. So in doing what was best for the average man, President Obama gave a big F U to the Senate and went with the man who was best for the job.
So who is Richard Cordray? He is a 52 year old former attorney general of Ohio, a politician, a lawyer, a husband, and father of 2. He attended Michigan State University and then did his grad school at Oxford University where he was a Marshall Scholar, a program named after the George C. Marshal, creator of the WWII era Marshal Plan, it is a scholarship program that grants Americans the chance to study at Oxford, Cambridge, or the London school of Economics. He was later the editor in chief of the law review when he attended the University of Chicago Law School. He also was a 5-day undefeated champion on Jeopardy in 1987. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the House of Representatives, and Senate. But was elected as solicitor for Ohio state where he argued several cases in front of the Supreme Court (where he clerked in law school). He then went into private practice for several years, before throwing his hat back into the political ring in 1998 when he ran for Ohio attorney general and state Senator in 2000. Both times he was defeated. He finally was elected to State Treasurer in 2006, and later Attorney General for Ohio in 2009.
In December 15, 2010, Special Advisor to President Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren appointed Richard Cordray to lead the enforcement arm of the newly created United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Then on July 17, 2011 Cordray was selected over Warren as the head of the entire CFPB. However, his nomination was immediately in jeopardy because 44 Senate Republicans had previously vowed to derail any nominee in order to push for a decentralized structure to the organization. This was part of a pattern of conflict between Republicans in the Senate and the Obama administration that had led to record numbers of blocked and failed nominations (Wikipedia).
What does this mean for us? Well hopefully it means that we as consumers are finally going to have someone who actually cares about us in a position to do something. As head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or the CFPB Cordray will educate, inform, and study what financial institutions are doing for and or to the consumer. I am not sure how much bite this watch dog agency will have, but hopefully Barack will be doing his best impersonation of the Baha Men and will be singing “Who let the dogs out?” from the oval office. Visit their website to find out more information. http://www.consumerfinance.gov/the-bureau/
Why is that everything that Obama does garners so much controversy? I asked myself that same question, and the answer is quite simple. The Senate thought they had scared him after the way they handled the tax-cuts at the end of the year. When really all they did was embolden him. What Obama did with this appointment was that he showed that he has a clear understanding of the powers of the Executive Office and what the Constitution says are within his rights as president. What Obama used a clause in the Constitution known as a recess appointment, which merely allows the president to fill a vacancy in a position if the Senate in recess, which they are until the end of the month. This is not a permanent filling of the position and the House must approve Condray by the end of the next session. But the message of what Obama is doing is clearly sent to the Senate, “If you will not get on board with what I am trying to do to better this country, then I will just circumvent you.” And a second message is also being sent to the American people. While Congress is enjoying its vacation, I am in the White House busting my ass to make sure this country is as strong as it once was.
So all in all this is one Dick the Senate will have to get used to, even if he came in through the back door.