Westchester in the Cabinet
When the Obama administration finally gets into office, it'll be a Westcheserite in charge of trying to pick up our country's dismal economy. Timothy Geithner, a native and resident of Larchmont, was today named Obama's treasury secretary. What did the press think of his pick?
Well, some outlets were quick to come up with some interesting praise for the man—it sounds like they have a burgeoning crush:
"Mr. Geithner looks a lot younger than his 47 years (though not as young as he did before the crisis began). He skateboards and snowboards and exudes a sort of hipster-wonkiness, using 'way' as a synonym for 'very' as in 'way consequential' and occasionally underlining his point with the word 'f---'. In temperament he seems similar to Mr. Obama: he is suspicious of ideology, questions received wisdom, likes a competition of ideas and is keenly aware of how uncertain the world is."
"There are a few reasons why Geithner might be a better pick than [former treasury secretary Larry] Summers: He's more popular, for one, since a lot of people can't quite seem to forget that whole women-can't-do-math imbroglio; he's been a key player in the current economic crisis; and at 47, he's a fresher face than, you know, some people in a Cabinet that's starting to look a little Clinton-era. Also, and obviously it doesn't matter (but it doesn't hurt either)—he is kind of easy on the eyes."
—New York magazine
"He's not Sheila Bair, it's true, but he's definitely not Larry Summers, and he's better looking to boot."
Others seemed surprised—or saddened—that Geithner will leave his current position as president of the New York Federal Reserve:
"All of these people are sterling choices . . . except for Geithner. And Geithner is wrong not because he won't be a good Treasury Secretary, but because he's such a very good president of the New York Fed. Within the Federal Reserve system, New York is special. New York has been the financial capital of the country as long as we've had a Federal Reserve, and its Fed chief therefore plays an extremely important role in the system."
"I'm pleased and surprised at the news that Tim Geithner will be the next Treasury secretary. Pleased because he's an insightful pragmatist who's more than qualified to do the job; surprised because I had thought that he might prefer to stay where he is, in what is essentially a tenured and extremely high-powered position at the New York Fed, rather than move to Washington for an uncertain period of time."
"The appointment of Timothy Geithner as U.S. Treasury secretary would deprive Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke of his top troubleshooter on Wall Street, compelling the Fed chief to act fast to find a replacement. Geithner’s departure would mean the loss of the Fed executive Bernanke has relied on most to keep the financial system from collapsing in this year’s credit crisis."
But, once the shock and infatuation has worn off, the press seems pretty happy with the president-elect's pick, and says the two will work well together:
"Our next treasury secretary won't be a guy who made a fortune on Wall Street (like Robert Rubin or Henry Paulson), or who served as CEO of a Fortune 500 company (like Paul O'Neill or John Snow), or who's been a distinguished economist (like Larry Summers), or who held high elective office (like Lloyd Bentsen). Rather, Geithner has been an extremely effective meritocratic bureaucrat for 20 years—a sort of community organizer for the financial world."
"Before the storm fully broke, Geithner made heroic efforts to get Wall Street's biggest financial institutions to voluntarily come together to rein in the wild west world of credit swaps. But without the active support of the White House or a succession of Bush administration Treasury secretaries, he was just one man attempting to bring order to an entire territory of outlaws. Now he gets a chance to be the top sheriff, with the full backing of an administration determined to find a new balance between regulatory supervision and market freedom. It's a smart pick."