Too thorough, that is, in the sense that they supposedly got bogged down in other issues and didn’t pay as much attention to taxes as they should have. Er, is that remotely plausible? Geithner paid his back taxes on November 21, the same day Obama nominated him for Treasury. From that day on, Team Barry had every reason to check and re-check the other nominees’ exposure to prevent precisely this sort of pattern from emerging and a media frenzy from erupting. Did they neglect to do that? Or did Daschle just lie to them when they asked? According to the Times, he didn’t mention his tax problem to them until late December or early January, weeks after he was nominated on December 11, despite having known about it since June.
The fact that they went ahead with Killefer’s nomination, whose tax lien was imposed four years ago, notwithstanding Geithner’s and Daschle’s snafus makes me think it’s not so much a vetting problem as a Messiah problem: They assumed the public would support The One no matter what, all the more so in a crisis environment with a deep blue Congress wielding a rubber stamp, so they gambled on pushing them all through. Only when the Geithner story took off did they realize they’d miscalculated. Oh well. Exit question via Jim Treacher: That John McCain sure did a sloppy job vetting Joe the Plumber, huh?