Video: DeMint calls on Geithner to resign, Geithner admits he contacted Dodd; Update: Harry Truman, call your office!

posted at 6:20 pm on March 19, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Are they crazy? Don’t Jim DeMint and Johnny Isakson know that Tim Geithner is the only one working at Treasury? Well, I guess the problem is defining the word “working”, after the AIG debacle blew up in the faces of Geithner and Barack Obama, thanks to Chris Dodd singing like a canary yesterday.  DeMint and Isakson publicly called for Geithner’s head:

Sen. Johnny Isakson suggested Thursday that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner should resign because of his tarnished credibility, which he believes is hurting the Obama administration’s ability to respond to the economic crisis.

Isakson is one of a growing number of Republicans — along with a few Democrats — who have sharply criticized Geithner in the wake of the AIG bonus fiasco.

“I think his credibility has been hurt to the point where he’s not going to be effective, and if I were him I would” resign, Isakson told POLITICO.

When asked about Geithner on Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) didn’t offer a ringing endorsement but says the Treasury secretary needs time to perform: “I think the jury is out,” Feinstein said.

Not for long, though, and he can thank Chris Dodd for that.  After CNN caught Dodd in a lie over the change in the amendment that enabled the bonus payout, Dodd wasted no time ratting out Geithner and the Treasury as the real culprit.  After publicly stoking outrage over the bonuses, Democrats suddenly found themselves the target of public ire.

Geithner’s only been around for two months, but he’s done next to nothing so far — not even staffing his team.  It might be time to ready the understudy, as the Obama administration might need to toss someone under the bus to mend fences on Capitol Hill after this epic fail.  If Feinstein is offering support this tepidly, I’d say Geithner’s days are numbered.

Update: Geithner now admits that he pushed Dodd into changing the language of the bill:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner confirmed Thursday that the department did talk to Sen. Chris Dodd about a clause he put forth in the stimulus legislation that would have strictly limited executive bonuses.

A loophole in the bill allowed bailed-out insurance giant American International Group to keep its bonuses.

The Treasury Department was concerned that legislation that would restrict contractual bonuses would not hold up to legal challenges, Geithner said in an interview with CNN’s Ali Velshi.

“We expressed concern about this specific version. We wanted to make sure it was strong enough to survive legal challenge,” Geithner said.

Well, if so, when will Obama stop “shaking with outrage”?  When will he accept responsibility for his own actions and that of his Treasury, rather than continue stoking public anger over the bonuses?  Oh, wait … it’s above his pay grade.  Hope and Change!

Update II: This administration’s unraveling like a cheap sweater.  Politico reports that Geithner wants to blame the whole thing on … staff:

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, taking his turn on CNN tonight, says not to blame Chris Dodd for the AIG bonus mess — but don’t blame him either.

The responsibility, he said, lies with “staff” — whoever that is. …

CNN’s ALI VELSHI: But inadvertently might somebody at Treasury have told Senator Dodd to do something that has now resulted in these payments not being  able to …

GEITHNER: No, again, what we did is just express concern about the vulnerability of a specific part of this provision, the legal challenge …  Treasury staff were working Senator Dodd’s staff throughout this process. Again, that’s part of the legislative process.

VELSHI: But you weren’t involved in that directly?

GEITHNER: I did have with other officials some conversations with Chairman Dodd as he was going through this process but other provisions.

VELSHI: So not about this particular one. It wasn’t you telling …

GEITHNER: No, but I’m not sure that’s relevant because Treasury staff did express concern about whether this provision was vulnerable to legal challenge.

As Harry Truman once said, “The buck stops at, er, … my staff.”

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Yeah, the STAFF did it. That’s it, “one of those guys, I don’ know his name, he did it, yeah, HIM”.
That’s as believable as when Dodd said it.
Hey, is there NO penalty for LYING to the American public anymore? Oh, sorry, we’re talking Democrats here, aren’t we.

GarandFan on March 19, 2009 at 9:49 PM

where’s grandma?


notagool on March 19, 2009 at 9:58 PM

Who cares. The One’s on Leno. Just hasta be a great President if he’s on Leno.

Move on. Nothing to see here, folks.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 19, 2009 at 10:42 PM

No wonder Russia is rearming. They see the US as they were in 1991.

hadsil on March 19, 2009 at 9:38 PM

If Obama can’t: make his Treasury nominations, read the bills he’s pushing, buy the right kind of DVD’s for PM Brown, how much attention is paying to what the Russians are doing? That business about putting Russian bombers in Venezuela and Cuba–those were probes, designed to see how Obama would respond. And how did he respond? Crickets chirping.

smellthecoffee on March 19, 2009 at 10:46 PM

I thought he can’t get staff? Did he finally hire some folks we didn’t hear about? Or are these also ghost employees (Kundra teach him a thing or two maybe?)?

jusgottabeme on March 19, 2009 at 11:24 PM

I’m still looking for any currency with Geithener’s signature… Imagine what those bills will be worth if he gets his butt canned after only signing a month’s worth???

bullseye on March 20, 2009 at 1:31 AM

Geither isn’t going anywhere.

Once you understand why he was appointed to Treas

you will understand there is no way this investment will be allowed to be for naught.

VinceP1974 on March 20, 2009 at 5:19 AM

Since when do liberals get so concerned about whether a provision will hold up to legal challenge? They aren’t concerned about card check. They weren’t concerned about the War Powers Act. AIG was in a defacto bankruptcy where extraordinary acts of the Government saved it, and it was insolvent. In those circumstances given that bankruptcy would have voided those contracts it isn’t likely a court would have upheld those contracts, and given the fact that there is no basis for any reasonable belief that the bonuses were earned based upon performance they could also have been voided. If Geithner wasn’t doing such damage to the economy, and was just damaging the credibility of the Obama administration and Obama himself, I’d say keep it coming, don’t resign. But Geithner appears to be the navigator of the HMS TitanObama

eaglewingz08 on March 20, 2009 at 6:05 AM

Tragically we have shark-like enemies around the world who smell blood in the water and will act on it.

RobCon on March 20, 2009 at 8:11 AM

Nice for him to give all that money to AIG without strings, nice that they gave all the money to the banks without making a provision that it was to be used for LENDING. Nice for him to deny he knew anything about bonuses when he was actually on the other side making the arrangements. What a bunch of lies and coverups. Almost like having the Clintons back.

workingforpigs on March 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM