Mick Mulvaney has really been putting his angry leprechaun imprimatur on the CFPB since he was ordered to seize control of it a few months back. And his new vision of the agency as “The Opposite Day Regulator” has clearly irked Senator Elizabeth Warren on an almost metaphysical level.
Warren of course birthed the CFPB from her mind using the Obama administration as its midwife, but she really didn’t participate actively enough in its formative years and the agency was considered to flounder a bit even in the estimation of its supporters. So one can understand that she is feeling angry and conflicted about Mulvaney’s seemingly crusading drive to tear the CFPB down from the inside out.
And his clearest indication yet that the CFPB will abandon all pretense of doing what it was created to do was his loosening of rules for payday lenders, or as Mulvaney calls them in an obvious attempt to trigger Warrenistas “small-dollar consumer lenders.” At the end of January, Warren and five of her colleagues sent a letter to Mulvaney asking why he was so brazenly loosening the noose around payday lenders, and whether or not he’d been lobbied by the industry to do so.
Ignoring that Mulvaney’s answers would be “Cuz I wanna” and “Of course I fucking did, I’m Mick Mulvaney” Warren brought as much attention as she could to the passive-aggressively written and footnoted letter, and waited for Mick to respond.
Today we learned that he waited about two weeks before doing so, but the responding letter is classic Mulvaney insofar as it is terse, tart, imperious and incredibly dickish:
This is an amazing artifact of today’s Washington.
Elizabeth Warren is – for lack of a more tactful phrase – a premier political pain the ass. As we’ve said, Warren has one move; to attack, annoy and sarcastically cajole anyone she sees as slightly against her until they bend to her will. Mulvaney has taken her professional baby and turned it against her, so of course she’s going to use his well-known history as friend to the financial industry as ammo against him. If anything, Warren’s original letter showed restraint and – for her – political deftness. The accusations against Mulvaney were framed inside a sarcastically official tone and she makes a kabuki-level attempt to preserve the artifice of high discourse.
But, again, this is Mick Mulvaney we’re talking about. This is a man who is so prone to fits of barely concealed rage and high-handed conservative liturgical lecturing that his first name is essentially redundant. After getting pissy about being accused of something that he’s been accused of a lot, Mulvaney lectures Warren on civil discourse and then attacks her without so much pausing for a paragraph break. And then pretends to gauge her interest in a debate that he has no interest in ever having.
It’s a master class in being a total prick, given by a master of the medium. And it’s most stunning because the letter is so thoroughly catty and bizarre that it makes Elizabeth Warren look like the measured party in a partisan argument.
And Warren’s response to Mulvaney’s response only reinforces this narrative:
While no one can say whether or not Merkley and Blumenthal held Warren back as they wrote this, the tone of it is can best be described as “Calm down, dickhead. And also you never answered our question.”
But what makes this letter really great is that it gives Mulvaney a deadline to actually respond to the original question so we look forward to seeing what he scrawls in his own blood and feces on March 8th.