A nagging question about Geithner

posted at 5:55 pm on January 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

As Allahpundit noted, Tim Geithner appeared today in his Senate confirmation hearing and attempted to defuse the controversy surrounding his tax failures of the past.  He more or less threw himself on the mercy of the Senate, insisting that the mistakes were unintentional.  Geithner ascribed the failures to his inability to successfully navigate TurboTax — and the Senate seemed content with his excuses.

Perhaps if a nominee of another Cabinet post had this problem, it could be overlooked.  After all, the Secretary of Commerce or HHS doesn’t run the IRS.  However, the Secretary of the Treasury does, and his own serial incompetence at doing his taxes certainly doesn’t recommend him as a qualified candidate for the Treasury.

However, we’re constantly told that not only is Geithner qualified, he’s practically the only person in America who can do the job — by both Democrats and Republicans:

Geithner has broad experience in global economics, financial regulation, currency and monetary policy. And lately, as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, he has been at the center of the government’s efforts to manage the financial chaos, sharing some criticism for its mixed record but not blame.

“These are not the times to think in small political terms,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who just returned from Afghanistan and Pakistan with Vice President-elect Joseph Biden Jr., and briefly met with reporters on Wednesday alongside Obama. “I think he is the right guy.”

Graham thereby validated what the president-elect had just said: That Geithner, by bipartisan agreement, is “uniquely qualified.”

Uniquely qualified?  Meaning that Geithner’s the only person in America who can run the Treasury?  Somehow, I find that extraordinarily difficult to believe.  If for some reason Geithner withdrew, would Obama not fill the role with someone else?  It’s more difficult to believe that a man who couldn’t figure out his own taxes is the best-qualified man for the job.

But let’s take this argument on its face for a moment.  We’re in an economic crisis, and therefore we have to have a man who has experience in the kind of work at the heart of this crisis.  We can’t assign this task to someone who hasn’t worked in the credit-industry trenches and built a record of success.

If that’s true … then why did Obama appoint Leon Panetta to head the CIA?  After all, we’re in a war against terrorists, which I’d say is a fairly serious crisis.  Our national security and the lives of Americans are at stake, as we saw on 9/11.  Using the logic of Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill regarding Geithner, shouldn’t we have a CIA Director that has actually worked in intelligence and built a record of success there?

Because if Leon Panetta can run the CIA, then Barack Obama can find someone else to run the Treasury.

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After all that’s come out, I’m amazed this clown is still in the running for the Treasury job. Scary how standards in this country have fallen so low that this is the best person Obama can nominate for the job. But then again, I did mention ‘standards’ and ‘Obama’ in the same sentence, which is the ultimate oxymoron.

RickZ on January 22, 2009 at 1:17 AM

We are not at war, really, anymore so some stuffed shirt is fine for the CIA. And we can pull *all* troops out of Iraq since there is no war there either.

And why not have a normal guy who can’t figure out how to do his own taxes run the economic machinery that is slowly swallowing free enterprise in this country? The MBAs ran the banks and car companies into a deeeep hole, how could he do any worse?

Face it, America as we knew it is over. This is the new America; an America that hates no one and is run by the elites so we can wander around our silly little pedestrian lives so the Euros will like us and terrorism will cease.

Neo on January 22, 2009 at 2:06 AM

Exit question: What would you call this new party?

My top three are the American Party, the Federalist Party, or the Conservative Party.

highhopes on January 21, 2009 at 8:47 PM

The Liberty party.

MB4 on January 22, 2009 at 2:11 AM

“This is the equivalent of the Head of Education not sending his kids to school or Home Schooling for 5 years, and than apologizing and being allowed to lead it.
This is outrageous”

Or someone who is illiterate.

DSchoen on January 22, 2009 at 4:07 AM

Because if Leon Panetta can run the CIA, then Barack Obama can find someone else to run the Treasury.

Hell, I’ll do it. I got TurboTax to work just fine last year.

BacaDog on January 22, 2009 at 7:56 AM

The tax issue does not concern me as much as his experience. The number of institutions based on Wall Street that failed under his watch at the NY Fed and the fact he did not see any of this crisis coming and had a good sized part in TARP gives me ZERO confidence he can do anything but make things worse.

cadams on January 22, 2009 at 8:10 AM

The most insulting part of this thief is his incredible arrogance.
First any person with a conscience would have withdrawn his name from consideration given the pact that he intentionally broke the law.
Secondly it is most insulting that he appologized, not to the American people that he stole from , but to the members of the Senate panel who are adoring him for” Wasting their time”. I think that is hat they are paid to do.

Amazed on January 22, 2009 at 9:39 AM

Would YOU appoint an arsonist to be Fire Chief ?

Mark_Tampa on January 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Would YOU appoint an arsonist to be Fire Chief ?

Mark_Tampa on January 22, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Well Spoken (or written as the case may be)

bullseye on January 22, 2009 at 11:31 AM