Can Obama save Geithner?

A Senate Democratic aide says there has been no indication privately that the White House is considering replacing Geithner. This aide said administration officials are sympathetic to Geithner’s predicament — as treasury secretary at a time of economic upheaval, he’s been forced to manage a series of crises whose solutions are sure to be politically unpalatable…

But the reality of why Geithner, despite the firestorm around him, seems to have job security is also more complicated. Any move to replace Geithner now could be viewed by the markets as a sign of panic. It would open up Obama to charges that he bungled one of his first significant personnel picks, as Geithner was chosen about three weeks after Obama was elected. And it would only exacerbate the situation at Treasury, where many top jobs remain unfilled and several top appointees backed out in recent weeks over issues that arose during their vetting…

The danger for a relatively unknown public figure like Geithner is that the public impressions of him — which are still fluid — will harden into a damaging caricature. The longer he’s on the national stage, the harder it will be to shape his image. Think of it as the Dan Quayle problem.