THE BLOG

Will the President Pass the Warren Test?

06/09/2011 10:19 am ET | Updated Aug 09, 2011

This is not a high bar.

Will the president name the indisputably best leader -- Elizabeth Warren -- to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency that she conceived, championed and constructed?

Senate Republicans, eager to curry favor with the big banks, have vowed to block ANY nominee to the post. So naming Warren will entail a fight. And if the minority succeeds in blocking the nomination with a filibuster, Warren will have to be named in a recess appointment.

This should have been done months ago. But opposition to Warren comes not only from Senate Republicans, but, by all reports, from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the last man standing in the president's economic team.

So the White House has dithered. It once more would rather switch than fight. And now the administration is floating the notion that it will name a Warren deputy to head the bureau.

That trial balloon won't fly. Every informed citizen with a whit of sense, every consumer activist, and legions of legislators, bloggers, organizers and opinion leaders will be simply outraged if Elizabeth Warren is not nominated.

The Warren test cannot be ducked. There are no "acceptable alternatives." If the president names someone else, he gets the worst of both worlds. The Republicans will still block the nomination, demanding that the bureau be neutered. And the White House will be savaged across the progressive community for demonstrating once more that it caters far more to bankers than to the customers who are too often their victims.

It really is simple. Do the right thing. Name the best person to the job. Take on the fight. Help Americans see who is on their side and who is not. This is not a hard test, but it can't be postponed much longer.

(To sign a petition protesting the obstruction of the Warren appointment, go here.)