BOSTON -- Elizabeth Warren's extremism has hit new heights, as her demagoguery of a prominent Obama appointee has invited a "swift and furious reaction" from Democrats. Warren's continued use of personal invective and cheap shots are under fire as her headline-grabbing crusades lose momentum.
By Patrick Temple-West and Ben White
Wall Street and the White House had a swift and furious reaction to Elizabeth Warren’s blazing attack on Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White: Senator, you’ve gone too far.
Defenders of White’s tenure at the regulatory agency said Warren’s 13-page letter attacking the SEC chair raised highly questionable points and badly mischaracterized the actions of a widely respected former federal prosecutor.
Warren’s letter represented the Massachusetts senator’s most sweeping attack on an agency that she has long targeted as ineffectual in its role as financial-services cop. But in choosing to take on White directly — declaring that she lied to her and shirked her responsibilities — Warren also provided an opportunity for her many critics on Wall Street to rally around a person they consider a tough but fair enforcer of the rules.
But Warren clearly “messed with Mary Jo” on Tuesday, and the White House was not happy about it. “The president continues to believe that the reasons that he chose her, based on her experience and her values, continue to be important today,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “The president does continue to believe that she is the right person for the job.”
The backlash against Warren Tuesday was the latest indication that populist firebrand’s efforts to push for tougher financial regulation may be losing some momentum. She failed to stop Obama’s push for trade promotion authority in the Senate last month, though she’s still trying to convince House Democrats to deny the president the votes he needs to pass the bill and thereby crush a major legacy item for him. She’s had trouble finding co-sponsors for a bill regulating auto-dealer loans. And Tuesday, liberal groups shut down their efforts to recruit her to run for president, finally acknowledging that she’s not going to get into the 2016 race.
Still, some Democrats worry that Warren in her sharp attack on White, the most prominent female regulator in Washington, is now pushing the party even farther to the left in ways that could complicate the election prospects for likely nominee Hillary Clinton as well as the party’s congressional candidates. Warren’s outsized political presence is already putting pressure on Clinton to declare where stands on issues including free trade deals — which the public broadly supports — and busting up the nation’s largest banks.
Warren is raising the stakes for Obama as he vets potential replacements for two outgoing commissioners at the agency, which has become the latest front in the raging battle between liberal Democrats and Republicans over governing Wall Street.
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