This is Your Treasury Secretary Under Fire
2:25 PM, Mar 18, 2009 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Florida Republican congressman Connie Mack has called on Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner to resign. Politico blogger Glen Thrush writes that Mack is the "first member (we think) to call for Tim Geithner's head." Give Mack some pioneer points, then, because something tells me he won't be the last person to say Geithner should go.
Geithner's nomination was almost derailed when he admitted to not paying payroll taxes as a banker at the International Monetary Fund. This, even though Geithner, as Treasury secretary, would be in charge of the IRS! Regardless, the Senate confirmed Geithner, though with 34 senators opposed.
Geithner was confirmed because he had a sterling reputation. At that point, his association with the previous administration was considered a plus. And Geithner was also thought to be a better spokesman than Lawrence Summers for the Obama administration's economic policies. He caught a break.
So what happened? Geithner's bank plan was a bust. He came under criticism during a recent Senate Budget Committee hearing. He rarely speaks in public, leaving Summers to appear on the talk shows and deliver speeches.
Geithner knew about the AIG bonuses last Tuesday, but did not get out ahead of them. Nor did he, it seems, organize a public relations strategy to deal with the fallout. As of Sunday, after all, Larry Summers was saying that, while he didn't like the bonuses, AIG was "contractually obligated" to pay them out. A misstep!
Next up for Geithner: announcing the details to his bank rescue plan, which could cost another $750 billion dollars. How will "Doogie Howser, Treasury Secretary," be able to convince Congress to give him the money?
It would be extremely unusual for Obama to switch Treasury secretaries before the end of his first year in office. But these are unusual times. And Geithner is setting himself up perfectly to be the fall guy.
Luckily, Geithner will be able to count on Obama, who stands by his associates in good times and bad and is not the sort who throws folks under the bus as soon as they become political inconveniences. ...