Home > Personal Finance > Senator McConnell, Meet Senator Warren

Comments 0 Comments

In 2010, as Americans were fighting with all their strength to survive the meltdown of 2007-2009, Sen. Mitch McConnell infamously said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

The line was repeated again and again by Democrats and the folks on MSNBC. How could this Republican Senator’s primary goal in his capacity as a public servant be to defeat the president? What about the foreclosure crisis? Or the auto industry? Or job creation? To many, this seemed less like “principled opposition,” and more like a recipe for gridlock in Congress, by blocking the Obama Administration in its efforts to conduct the business of governing our nation. The apparent goal was to send the President back to Chicago and when it came to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to sequester Elizabeth Warren to her Harvard ivory tower.

Now the glittering confetti of Mr. McConnell’s exploded death star drifts harmlessly through the zero-gravity of deep space. My, what a difference a day makes.

The President will be living just down the road from Senator Warren for four more years, and he’ll be bumping into Senator Warren in the Senate cloakroom for at least the next six.

No doubt, that reality is beginning to set in for Sen. McConnell. The history books will record this as a victory for consumer protection, which the Republican party has obsessively caucused against at every turn. It won’t be quite so easy for them to decimate Dodd-Frank now, nor are they likely to prevail in their efforts to defang the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senator-elect Warren, whom they sought to marginalize, will now be front and center in the fight to defend the fledgling agency in its efforts to protect families from predatory financial practices.

Last year, emboldened by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, the Koch brothers and their Tea Party “patriots,” Republicans in Congress tried every tactic they could muster to undercut the CFPB — from attempts to dilute its leadership to proposals to shackle the agency to the congressional appropriations process to radically increasing oversight by other regulators that were less sensitive to consumer issues. We can expect Senator Warren to fight back forcefully against such anti-consumer (and anti-legitimate business) flim-flammery.

Be careful what you wish for, fellas. Republicans sought and succeeded in having Warren passed over as head of the CFPB, but now they have to live with her.

Warren’s victory is both historic — she will be the first woman to represent the state of Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate — and gratifying — she delivered a shocking 8-point slapdown to her “handsome” opponent and his Wall Street backers. Her victory will come to be seen as a victory for consumers. If her public career is anything like her life up until now, she’ll be an articulate, passionate voice in the Senate. She will make it her mission to fight ferociously against all those who would rig the system against the middle class and enrich themselves at the expense of American families. It should be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks they can put profit or party politics above the good of our nation and the interests of American consumers.

Not every American shares my enthusiasm for the outcome of Election 2012. The American Banker for one, said of the Warren campaign:

“The financial services industry has been watching her race closely, fearful that Warren may continue her harsh attacks on banks as a member of Congress and press for stricter regulations.”

They weren’t just watching, either. According to the LA Times, a whole lot of bankers from across America poured a whole lot of money into her opponent’s campaign. Apparently, the harsh prospect of being held accountable to American consumers was highly motivating — much more so than the harshness of the foreclosures and bankruptcies endured by American homeowners, for instance, to which the mega-banks somehow managed to remain sublimely indifferent.

Now, despite the money guys putting their (well, someone’s) money where their mouth was, their water-boy, Senator Brown, the once — and soon to be former — champion of the financial services industry, will shortly be consigned to pasture in the rolling hills of Massachusetts, while Senator Warren may well be assigned to the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

Many say, and I completely agree, that she’ll be a firewall against efforts to lessen the impact of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — an institution created during this Administration to protect American consumers and businesses from the myriad dangers in the consumer financial marketplace.

Without question, her win has the predatory elements in the financial services industry running scared. They should be. Because one thing that Americans should know about Elizabeth Warren by now is that while she is fair, she is also tough when it comes to defending the interests of American consumers. She is the avowed enemy of those who made a killing by tricking and squeezing financially vulnerable Americans through the shilling of predatory loans or the illegal collection of statutorily barred or non-existent debts, racking up profits while steering the economy into a ditch.

“I will always carry your stories with you in my heart,” Warren said in her victory speech. “I won’t just be your senator. I will be your champion.”

You can take that to the bank.

Image: Tim Pierce, via Flickr

This is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily reflect the views of the company.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team