WE COULD have told President Obama that backing off from nominating Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would not make it any easier to get the bureau off the ground.

In fact, we did tell him, but it was no great feat of prognostication. Congressional Republicans made it clear that, even though they were brutally demonizing Warren - who has built the agency and was the hands-on best choice to lead it - it wasn't about her, really. They want to cripple the bureau.

So it was no surprise that, within 24 hours of Obama naming former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to be the first CFOB director, Republicans made good on their pledge to block any nominee for the position unless the position was eliminated (you read that right) and the bureau's independence was severely curtailed.

Republicans can't be allowed to undo by other means legislation passed by the last Congress. If Obama can't make a recess appointment of Cordray, he must take the case to the American people. It would be much easier to fight for the charismatic Warren but no matter. If the best chance in years to protect consumers goes down, it should be swinging. *