by John Hawkins | March 23, 2009 8:02 am
There are a lot of people calling for Tim Geithner’s head — and with good reason. Setting aside the fact that having a tax cheat as head of the Treasury Department is a hypocrisy on a previously unimaginable scale, Geithner comes across as confused, indecisive, and sucks confidence from the markets like a black hole.
That being said, there’s a cycle that occurs again and again in DC that makes it very difficult to fire cabinet officials, even if they deserve it.
It works like so:
* Official X is a complete incompetent.
* People notice.
* The President fires Official X.
* The press piles on and they all agree that Official X was a fired zero.
* Official X gets mad that his reputation has been trashed.
* Six months later, Official X is back with a book explaining how he was a genius who got screwed by the other idiots in the Administration.
* The press loves the conflict, puts Official X all over TV, and treats everything he says like it’s the gospel truth from a whistle-blowing hero.
* The Administration spends two weeks getting pounded mercilessly.
Occasionally, you’ll find people with class, like Donald Rumsfeld, who refuse to play that game — but they’re the exception, not the rule. Tim Geithner, who for all his flaws has forgotten more about economics than Barack Obama will ever learn, probably would be more likely to hold true to form — and his attacks on Obama could be devastating.
That’s why Tim Geithner’s job is considerably safer than it should be given his performance so far.
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