The Misstress of Spin

The Mistress of Spin

A reader recently emailed that she was surprised by how brazenly Elizabeth Warren speaks out of both sides of her mouth. The specific event that caused her incredulity was Warren’s initial public support of regulatory relief for community banks and her subsequent assertion that community banks didn’t need regulatory relief because they were doing just fine financially.  After telling her that speaking out of two sides of a mouth is a gift commonly demonstrated by those born with a forked tongue, I pointed out that Ms. Warren’s been stretching the boundaries between lies and damned lies for, literally, years.

Back in 2008, she went on the warpath (this was in the days before anyone called her questionable claim of Native American ancestry) over what she claimed on her blog (yes, Liz was a blogger) was a proposal by national banks to claim preemption from all state foreclosure laws. The fact that those banks were claiming preemption only overextended foreclosure moratorium and similar laws, not the general binding nature of each state’s foreclosure process law requirements, didn’t enter her discussion. Instead, she made this spurious allegation as to the position of the banks:

State laws are pre-empted whenever a national bank holds the mortgage, so the states can’t make them follow the local rules. Pre-emption has been used successfully by the credit card companies to fight off state regulation, so now the banks want to escape local restrictions on foreclosure as well.

That was not the position of the banks regarding foreclosure laws at the time. It was also not the position on national bank preemption of either the OCC (which issued preemption regulations and opinions) or of the federal courts. In fact, the then-applicable OCC regulation specifically stated that state debt collection and foreclosure laws were not preempted. Warren’s characterization that the banks were arguing that they were preempted from all state foreclosure laws and, therefore, could, apparently, seize homes at will, was false. Of course, as a practical matter, some national banks did, in fact, seize homes without due process (even those on which they did not hold a mortgage), and even the owner’s pet parrots, but that was through incompetence, not the intent.

While intellectual dishonesty has served her and will continue to serve her, well as a US Senator, Ms. Warren’s ability to let no fact stand in the way of a populist narrative should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to her public pronouncements for any length of time. I mean last year, she blamed the 2008 financial meltdown on Ronald Regan. Next up: ISIS was created by Billy Graham.

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