There's a lot of ways to measure a good-to-great president. We tend to focus on both their policies and their skill in communicating with the American people, but another key task is the ability to admit mistakes, especially when it was a doozy. Remember JFK and the Bay of Pigs early in his presidency?
And Timothy Geithner as President Obama's Treasury Secretary is looking like another one of these. I don't quite understand why Obama ever thought Geithner would be a good choice -- but his failure to develop a plan that's bold enough to tackle the problem of zombie banks, his staffing problems and his style that doesn't inspire much confidence are all good reasons to show Geithner the exit door before it's too late for the American economy, and, less importantly, Obama's political future.
Here's a good analysis:
The Pentagon ordered the US Navy to apprehend Somalian pirates. However there has been no such 'Counter Piracy Execute Order' from the White House or US Treasury and aimed at Wall St. buccaneers. On the contrary. The US Treasury, like the British government, is capitulating to the pirates of the finance sector with a haste and a timidity that is unseemly, and if I may say so, unmanly.
Britain's government announced yesterday that while it was obliged to take a 65% stake in a 'broke' bank - Lloyds - it was refraining from exercising its full rights. The government would not, for example, use its stake in the bank to give taxpayers full control. Nor would they call for the resignation of CEOs and board members responsible for breaking the bank. Lord Mandelson the Business Minister said this was neither "necessary or desirable".
The US Treasury has set the pattern. While filling the vaults of Wall Street banks with taxpayer-backed funds, Secretary Geithner has refrained from asking for letters of resignation from the board members and CEOs that broke the banks. These banks have used their control over the nation's deposits and savings and over interest rates to hold the whole economy to ransom.
Geithner and his timid, inept policies are a drag on Obama's presidency, a drag on America -- to keep in the pirate analogy, he's a 16-ton anchor. It's not to early to cut him loose (and send Larry Summers out to sea with him) and chart a new course on the banking industry.