High Heels and X-Ray Eyes

First, you hear the high heels. These are not the pretty heels of Ginger Rogers, floating in ostrich plumes for some impromptu dance across a marble floor.

No no, these are the no-nonsense high heels whose rhythmic ticktock, louder and louder, signify the approach of authority – firm, fair and with eyes that see through every excuse. It’s Dr. Warren, and she’s ticked.

Elizabeth Warren, head C.O.P. over at the Congressional Oversight Panel which is “charged with the job of reviewing the state of the markets, current regulatory system, and the Treasury Department’s management of the Troubled Asset Relief Program [and] required to report their findings to Congress every 30 days.” She is a longtime researcher of bankruptcy and professor of bankruptcy law, and she saw the crash of the middle class coming from miles away.

In videos like “The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class” (early 2008) and her various net-based reports, TV appearances, and appearances before Congress, she combines absolute clarity of message with a mildness that tempers that message, often dismaying in its implications, enough so it can be heard and digested.

Messages like this graph. And those numbers are from 2001.

She’s just been named the ‘Bostonian of the Year‘ by the Boston Globe, complete with an interesting video that catches her offstage persona. It’s a lot like her camera persona, but madder. Worth watching, if only to see her berating Timothy Geithner, (about 3.02) whose smirking response should infuriate anyone who sees it. Read the accompanying article, too.

A few Elizabeth-quotes from the Globe video:

“The mortgage lenders have behaved abominably.”

“It seems to me that far to often women are the people who do what needs to be done. It’s about how the old boys club who brought us not just to the brink of ruin, but beyond that, they still want to play the same way. And, well, somebody’s got to say no. If all the old boys want to roll their eyes over it, well then let them roll their eyes over it.”

“AIG was not a bank!”

“Here we are in the middle of a financial crisis. The market is broken. We have a system where very large financial institutions systematically take advantage of hardworking American families. The role of government is just to level that playing field a little bit, and the financial institutions are fighting that tooth and nail. They’re willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to block that kind of legislation, and I’ll just tell you, I find that deeply and profoundly shocking.”

“I am not looking for jobs with these guys. My job is not to get out there and kowtow to these guys so they’ll be nice to me. I figure this is the one time I will have a true public-service job. I’m going to do everything I can to execute this job the way it ought to be done. If there’s some politician, Republican or Democrat, who has a problem with that, I just don’t care.”

Every couple of weeks I scan the internet looking for new reports and video from our COP on the beat. So should we all.

Bravo, Dr. Warren.