Published March 21, 2011
A pair of recent New York Times columns has put the potential job prospects of Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law School professor and consumer advocate, back in the public eye.
An adviser to President Obama, Warren is currently setting up the newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. When the agency officially begins its work in July, Obama can nominate Warren to become its first director — a widely-watched decision.
Recapping her Capitol Hill testimony last week, the Times’ Joe Nocera on Friday wrote that Warren should be nominated, even if her confirmation faces staunch opposition from Republican lawmakers. “Let’s face it: there isn’t anybody in Washington more fearless about standing up to the big banks,” Nocera said. “No wonder they don’t like her.”
Echoing his colleague, Paul Krugman today wrote in favor of Warren’s nomination, in part because it’s “a perfect opportunity to revive the debate over financial reform.”
But will Obama nominate Warren? One of the two architects of financial reform legislation, Rep. Barney Frank, isn’t sure the president wants to. Speaking on NBC this morning (as noted by The Hill) Frank said, “I think the president is too unwilling to make the kind of fights that don’t necessarily win. And I’m not sure she couldn’t be [confirmed].”
The Newton Democrat also said “the fight over Elizabeth Warren would be worth having.”
Of course, the consumer board directorship is not the only job some Massachusetts residents are eyeing for Warren. Many Democrats see her as a coveted challenger for Scott Brown’s Senate seat — an idea she hasn’t “slammed shut.”
Earlier this month, Warren was a candidate on a WNEC telephone survey polling Brown against potential opponents. The very early survey found Brown with a large lead — 51-34 — over Warren.