Saule Omarova, the committed anti-capitalist and former "Lenin"-award-winning academic who has written about ending banking "as we know it", has withdrawn her nomination to be President Biden's comptroller of the currency after several influential Senate Democrats joined Republicans in opposing her nomination.
That Omarova was ever selected by President Biden and his administration shows just how much influence progressives have on his agenda. Just last year, Omarova authored a paper proposing a new banking system where private banks were abandoned in favor of Americans transacting directly with the Fed using a digital dollar. Just the idea of this spooked the industry which rallied its lobbyists to oppose her nomination.
During her first hearing before the Senate, John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, tore her apart in this now-infamous exchange where he grills her about being a member of the "Young Communists", as he put it.
"I don't know whether to call you professor or comrade," he added.
While her backers, chiefly Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown, accused Omarova's critics of resorting to "McCarthyism", Republicans have insisted that her background in the Soviet Union, and her writings since arriving in the US, suggest she's a far-left socialist who she can't be trusted to regulate America's biggest banks.
But they've also drawn attention to things she has written and said to back their claims that her policy views are way outside the mainstream. For example, in addition to demolishing the banking industry, Omarova has said she wants oil and gas giants to go bankrupt in an attempt to address her climate change agenda, not thinking for a moment about all the chaos this would unleash.
In a letter to the White House on Tuesday, Omarova said it was "no longer tenable" for her to seek the position of comptroller of the currency. President Biden called Omarova a strong advocate for consumers and a "staunch defender" of the financial system while accepting her request.
"Saule would have brought invaluable insight and perspective to our important work on behalf of the American people," he said in a statement.
"But unfortunately, from the very beginning of her nomination, Saule was subjected to inappropriate personal attacks that were far beyond the pale."
But it's not just her policies that raise questions: Omarova also has a troubling record of shoplifting, as we discussed a few months back.
Still, none of this stopped Sen. Brown from vigorously defending Omarova while smearing his GOP colleagues who sunk her nomination of engaging in a "relentless smear campaign".
"Dr. Omarova is one of the most qualified nominees ever for this job because of her experience as a policymaker, in the private sector, and in academia,” he said.
Powerful interests had “distorted” Ms. Omarova’s views, Mr. Brown added.
"In a relentless smear campaign reminiscent of red scare McCarthyism, they have shamefully attacked her family, her heritage, and her commitment to American ideals,” he said.
Although one could argue that she certainly made it easy for them. We're starting to wonder if Biden ever actually believed she would be confirmed by the Senate.