Consumer advocate and perennial independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader isn’t pleased with President Obama’s decision to appoint Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The conception of the agency, now teeming with 400 new employees, was developed by Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, who was widely believed to be a frontrunner for the position. Warren’s possible appointment was strongly opposed by Republicans.
Nader told Democracy Now on Tuesday that “our spineless president” had “just thrown overboard the toughest federal cop on corporate crime, fraud and abuse.”
According to Nader, the decision showed that Obama is “basically a political coward.” He said that congressional Republicans would be encouraged to influence future appointments.
“He doesn’t stand by his people, unless these people stand for Wall Street, like William Daley, Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers,” Nader said. “You’d think he’d give at least one post — one post — to the consumer constituency, the liberals and progressives, that brought him to the White House. But that is not the way he calculates it.”
Nader said that sexism also played an important role in the decision. Treasury Department men “don’t like an uppity woman,” he said, citing congressional informants. (Warren: Consumer bureau ‘in reality is much better than the dream ever was’)
The consumer advocate said that Cordray will not have the same influence as Warren would have had. This is a disappointment, he said, because corporations regularly abuse consumers, turning them into “contract serfs.”