Obama Should Withdraw Weiss Nomination

The already embattled nomination of Antonio Weiss to become Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance hit a particularly icy patch when additional Senate Democrats joined Elizabeth Warren’s campaign against confirmation. Bernie Sanders and Tammy Baldwin aren’t that surprising to find in the anti-Weiss camp. But “Obama’s Senator,” Dick Durbin, is in the “no” camp, as are two senators nobody would call big lefties, Jeanne Shaheen and Joe Manchin.

As Dave Weigel notes, that means the next Congress will begin with only 39 votes for Weiss’ confirmation–assuming other Democrats don’t come out against him before then. Conservative media will have great fun with the “Democrats in disarray” meme, with divisions over “Wall Street ties” getting maximum attention even as the administration begs for Republican votes.

This guy just cannot be all that indispensable, and a subordinate position at Treasury should not become the symbolic test of a Democratic administration’s willingness to reform the financial sector. The President should pull this nomination before it becomes even more toxic. Elizabeth Warren has earned her strong credibility on this subject, and conceding her leadership role would be smart politics and a good precedent for the White House.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.