Washington worked itself into a tizzy this morning over Senate Republicans’ unsurprising decision to block Richard Cordray‘s nomination as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
But Cordray, ostensibly the man of the hour, has been notably absent from the whole flareup — which is a shame, because he is totally awesome.
Even Republicans can’t bring themselves to hate on Cordray — they’ve made it clear that their beef is with the CFPB, not with the man himself. A bookish lawyer with an awesome resume, Cordray has a quality rarely found in politicians — he’s really hard not to like.
Now that Cordray’s nomination has been tabled, at least temporarily, we thought people should know what they’ll be missing.
Here’s why we’re obsessed:
He’s a five-time Jeopardy! champion. Seriously. He won $45,303, and was even a semi-finalist in the Tournament of Champions. While impressive, this isn’t that surprising — Cordray earned a masters in economics as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, and was later editor-in-chief of the University of Chicago Law Review. People who know Cordray say his intelligence is unnerving. (The Sunlight Foundation has an awesome quiz based on Cordray’s Jeopardy! questions).
Even Republicans like his resume . Unlike a lot of political nominees, Cordray doesn’t have a deeply partisan past. He got his start in politics as an intern for Sen. John Glenn — a Democrat who also happens to be an American hero — and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee and frequent swing vote. He’s represented the federal government in front of the Supreme Court several times — twice under Bill Clinton, and once under George H. W. Bush.
He’s not an ideologue. Softspoken and bookish, Cordray is definitely not a natural politician — he shies away from the media, avoids flesh-pressing and is known to walk around his office in his socks. Cordray is basically the polar opposite of his charismatic, bank-hating predecessor Elizabeth Warren, whose enthusiasm for consumer protection is rooted in fiery populism and ideas about income equality. Conversely, Cordray’s approach is more pragmatic with an emphasis on legal justice. He’s not likely to become the new icon of the 99%, but that might not be a bad thing.
He gets things done. What Cordray lacks in sparkle, he makes up for in hard work. As Ohio’s Attorney General, Cordray successfully sued AIG, Bank of America, and other banks, winning billions of dollars in settlements in the wake of the financial crisis. He was also one of the first to raise the red flag over robo-signing and foreclosure fraud. But Cordray largely focused on curbing the abusive practices of what he calls the “wild and woolly” fringes of the financial services sector. Which was what the CFPB was designed to do in the first place.
He looks just like Kenneth the Page. Cordray’s resemblance to 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer is uncanny. Check out the photo below for evidence.
The good news is that Cordray probably won’t disappear forever. Obama says he hasn’t ruled out a recess appointment. And if that doesn’t work out, Cordray has hinted he’s thinking about running for Governor of Ohio.
Disagree? Let us know why in the comments section.
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