So Republicans have declined to confirm Obama’s nominee, Richard Cordray (Ohio’s former attorney general, beloved of the trial lawyers). But being Republicans, they are not, of course, demanding repeal of this despotic CFPB coup — just as they have no real desire to slash any of the bulging administrative behemoth. Yes, they talk about slashing it, but what they actually want is to control it. So their bold pitch is to make the CFPB marginally more accountable and, as night follows day, bigger: to subject it to Congress’s appropriations process (as if that will give the public a real say in how it operates); to have bank regulators check its likely excesses (playing into Obama’s narrative about protecting Wall Street at the expense of Main Street); and to expand its leadership to several board members rather than a single unelected technocrat (because creating more patronage slots has been so effective in reining in the EPA and the rest of the bureaucratic maze).

#ad#Because the GOP establishment is statist lite, they play into the president’s hands. Removing the Dodd-Frank deadweight from a crippled economy, killing an authoritarian bureaucracy in the cradle — that is the kind of campaign that would have stoked passion, highlighting a very different vision of a country breaking free of its regulatory chains. But no one is going to get whipped up over a few technical tweaks on the one-way road to bigger Big Government. Obama has a simple story to tell: “Obstructionist Republicans are trying to stop me from saving you.” By comparison, the Republican story — “We’re all for statist cures, just with a Washington-style nip here and tuck there” — makes your eyes glaze over…

Our community-organizer-in-chief understands the uses of lawlessness (known in the biz as “direct action”). Republicans have implicitly endorsed his CFPB and his nominee. With that, and with the media spinning the story his way, Obama is not a law-breaker but the courageous crusader for the little guy; Republicans are not liberty’s vanguard but the petty obstructers of progress.