The Cordray Cave is Causing Spasms Among the Tea Party Right

Yesterday, after Harry Reid forced Senate Republicans on their knees and put an end to filibustering the president's nominees to executive branch posts, Richard Cordray was confirmed as the head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. The vote was not even close: 66-34. Beyond the cave on the filibuster itself, this was the GOP's biggest cave, since the CFPB and its consumer-friendly structure was the biggest thorn on the side of the Republicans - at least the biggest thorn they thought they could do something about.

After the president's health care reform, the CFPB was the Republican's biggest target. They wanted to handicap and neuter it from doing its job of consumer protection. As I wrote back when no one read TPV, the CFPB was brilliantly designed by the drafters of Dodd-Frank to be free from political abuse. Because it is funded directly from the revenue of the Federal Reserve, it is immune from politicized budget battles of Congress that could continually hamper its operation. By giving it one director instead of a "board" to make all the decisions - though a overseeing board can overrule the Director with two-thirds vote - the law makes the agency agile and quickly able to address issues facing consumers.

It is these two things about the Bureau that the Republicans wanted to change. They wanted the ability to hold its budget hostage to political whims in Congress, and replace the single Director with a board, someething that would make it harder for the agency to act quickly. They wanted to change those so much that they promised in a letter signed by 43 Republican Senators block any nominee to head the CFPB unless the president agreed to kneecap the Bureau itself.

This is why the Cordray confirmation was the biggest loss for the Republicans. They didn't simply agree to withdraw their objection to a nominee and allow for a vote. They agreed, in practice, to entirely give up their demands to change the structure of the CFPB. They may be crowing that they still want to change it, but for all intends and purposes, they folded by giving up all of their leverage to force those changes.

That folding has the GOP's corporate overlords resigned.
The banking industry has publicly backed the changes sought by Republicans but privately officials said they had grown tired of the debate. Many industry officials have said the bureau has been a reasonable regulator under Cordray’s leadership.

But while the corporate anti-consumerists know when to fold and go home, the Tea Party doesn't. They are apoplectic. A Canada Free Press article written by Human Events head Neil W. McCabe spreading like wildfire among Tea Party and conservative groups and blogs, is seething:
Cordray was the big one.[...]

Obama and Reid tried Dec. 8, 2011 to confirm Cordray, but the cloture motion failed 53 to 45. Three weeks later, Obama declared the Senate to be out of session and made a Jan. 4, 2012 recess appointment [...]

But, that was then, this is now. Back in 2012, Republican leaders dismissed action-oriented conservatives: “Don’t rock the boat. When we win back the Senate and the White House, we will do everything you want.”

They say hope is not a plan, well, apparently neither was W. Mitt Romney.

Still, a reelected Obama still needed to get a legitimate confirmation for Cordray to keep everything legal.

There could have been a showdown on principle when Reid brought the bureau director’s name to the floor, but that is not how Republicans play, or roll. Republicans could have threatened their own nuclear option, promising to withhold unanimous consent for all the casual things in the Senate that are U.C.’d, such as dispensing with the reading of bills or the naming of post offices. Instead, 18 GOP senators, 16 of whom voted in 2011 to filibuster the man, voted to end debate on the Cordray nomination.
Bwahahahaha! The CATO backed Americans for Limited Government is ripping the GOP as well:
“These rogue Republican senators have supposedly ‘saved’ the filibuster — by apparently promising never to use it again on executive nominees.

“They even apparently agreed not to block nominees to the National Labor Relations Board who have not even been nominated yet nor faced a single committee hearing. They have handed President Obama absolute discretion over his next nominees to the National Labor Relations Board. This appears to be carte blanche for Obama to nominate the most radical members he can find.
There is all kinds of spasm going on in right wing land over this today. Because they know when they have definitively been defeated.

Poor bastards.

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