Dodd concerned about Warren overcoming obstructionism

DODD CONCERNED ABOUT WARREN OVERCOMING OBSTRUCTIONISM…. By most measures, Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren seems like the obvious choice to lead the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The bureau itself almost certainly wouldn’t exist were it not for Warren’s work, and by most accounts, she’s the one who proposed creating the office in the first place.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters the other day that Warren, currently the leading watchdog of the financial industry bailout, is “a great, great champion for consumers,” adding that she’s “obviously a candidate to lead this effort” at the CFPA.

This isn’t to say there aren’t other qualified candidates, but Warren appears to be in a class of her own. So, what’s the problem? There have been widespread rumors about Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner raising concerns, but today, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) suggested there’s a more obvious impediment.

Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said he sensed rumblings among colleagues that Warren, the chairwoman of the panel overseeing the 2008 Wall Street bailout program, might not get the 60 votes necessary to win confirmation.

“I think Elizabeth would be a terrific nominee,” Dodd told NPR’s Diane Rehm on Monday. “The question is, ‘Is she confirmable?’ And there’s a serious question about it.”

“The question is, can we get someone who is confirmable? She may be, but that’s not the only potential nominee — there are many fine nominees,” he said.

Just so we’re clear, in a 59-41 Senate, with the White House’s party in the majority, the president may be discouraged from nominating the most qualified choice to lead a key consumer protection agency because conservative senators probably won’t let her have an up-or-down vote.

Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that this is no way to run a government.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.