Gee, I don’t even want to talk with Geithner…


Just got this e-mail:

My name is Jen
Parsons, I’m with Ketchum PR.
I wanted to see if
you’re doing any profiles on Tim Geithner.  We work with
Keith Bergelt, the CEO of Open Invention Network, and
he worked with Geithner in the early 90’s while they were in Tokyo.  Keith can
offer some good insight into Geithner’s work style, career ambition,
Let me know if you’d
like to chat with Keith.


Now, that’s service for you. Unfortunately, I don’t even know what I’d ask Geithner himself if I were to have a few minutes of his time. For me, the broad, high-altitude overview Obama provided today regarding economic policy was way more detail than I need.

So no, I don’t need to talk to somebody who just used to work with Geithner.

When I receive a shotgun release like that, especially on Thanksgiving week — when we tend to be more shorthanded even than the skeleton crew we normally have, and I’m cranking as hard as I can with routine, boring tasks that you do NOT want to hear about, just getting the pages out, without even thinking about interviewing or writing, even about subjects I know something about, much less the new Treasury secretary, I find myself wondering whether people who send out releases like that have the slightest idea what’s going on out here in newspaperland. The answer comes quickly: Probably not.

Sorry about the length of that sentence. I didn’t have time to write short ones.


16 thoughts on “Gee, I don’t even want to talk with Geithner…

  1. p.m.

    “The televised news conference, which came shortly after President Bush made brief remarks at the Treasury Department with Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., created a stark image of the transfer of power that is under way in Washington. Mr. Obama and his new team arrived in a room of dozens of reporters, while Mr. Bush stood nearly alone on the steps of the Treasury Department.” – NYT
    Stark image of transfer of power?
    No, stark image of press bias, as in this statement from the same article Brad linked:
    “By naming a team deeply experienced in dealing with financial crises — Mr. Geithner (Treasury secretary designee) was heavily involved over the weekend in the efforts to stabilize Citigroup — Mr. Obama underscored his determination to assure Americans and foreign investors that he would aggressively step into a leadership vacuum in Washington during the transition.
    What vacuum? The one the NYT imagines but opts not to illustrate?
    And am I to leap with joy that the “team deeply experienced in … financial crises” has such experience because Geithner worked on Citigroup over the weekend?
    That’s deeply experienced? One man on the team working on something over the weekend?
    The NYT is a journalistic joke that has made itself a wing of the Democratic Party.

  2. bud

    The Obama team needs to learn from history and avoid the mistakes of his predecesors, especially Ronald Reagan. Despite all the glowing praise the conservative movement has heaped on the Gipper it is clear now that the economic philosophy engendered during his tenure was significantly flawed in many respects. Those flaws have manifested themselves in the current crisis.
    First of all Mr. Reagan set a bad tone for his ongoing efforts to stamp out Labor Unions. That was made abundently clear with his firing of the air traffic controllers. Corporations then felt free to fight against better financial packages for their workers. The result has been a stagnation of real wages while upper management has enjoyed lavish pay packages that bear no resemblance to their contribution to the economy.
    Second, Reagan’s over reliance on economic growth contributed to the current unhealthy “borrow and spend” economy. Frugality was the new “F” word when it came to budgeting. It was during the Reagan years that the federal budget first began it’s steep decline into deficit spending. Bush Jr. continued this borrowing philosophy until it could no longer sustain itself. Hence the housing bubble, auto crisis and a whole host of industries that relied on excessive borrowing. Tragically the solution that is offered is to attempt to continue down the borrowing path.
    What is needed is a complete paradigm shift in thinking. Obama should reject the failed economic philosophies of Reagan and Bush and return more of a pay as you go strategy as exemplified during the Clinton years. The results between the frugal Clinton years and the profligate borrow and spend thinking of Bush should provide the necessary evidence to reject the trickle down/borrow model. That has worked only to benefit, and only temporarily at that, a few extremely wealthy individuals in the highest tax brackets. Despite the ridicule it received the idea of “spreading the wealth” has some intellectual merit. Frankly corporate CEOs are so vastly overpaid in relation to their actual economic value in the market their compensation can only be regarded as a form of welfare. So let’s tap into that wealth and move forward in a more frugal way.
    Haven’t we learned enough by now to reject modern conservative economic plans? It’s time for some good liberal thinking on the economy. And not a moment too soon.

  3. bud

    This speaks volumes about the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties. The Democrats successfully nominate and elect a man who is half African American. The Republicans, on the other hand, live in the racially segregated past by actually considering a man who belonged, until VERY recently, to a “whites only” country club. Ironic isn’t it. The POTUS elect cannot be a member of the Forest Lake Country Club. And people wonder why the GOP was trounced so in the recent election. How disgusting is the GOP? Read this and you decide. From Buzz Flash:
    Katon Dawson, the South Carolina GOP chairman, announced his candidacy for RNC chair yesterday. And guess what: Back in September, when Dawson was first quietly laying the groundwork for his RNC run, The State newspaper reported that he resigned his membership in the nearly 80-year-old Forest Lake Club. Members told the newspaper at the time that the club’s deed has a whites-only restriction and has no black members. Dawson claimed to the paper that he’d actually been working since August to change the club’s admission practices after reading about them in the press. Nonetheless, his membership could become an issue in the RNC chair race. After all, the paper says he was a member for 12 years, so it seems like a pretty fair question to ask whether he started working to change the club’s rules this summer, and then resigned, in preparation for his RNC chair candidacy.

  4. Birchibald T. Barlow

    bud – Did you know that before this election cycle, the Democrat Party had never nominated a minority to be president? That plus the all too well known past of Sen. Byrd of West Virginia speaks volumes to that fact that until 2006, the Democrat Party was just a bunch of disgusting racists. Thank goodness they changed their ways
    Or perhaps it is a fallacy to condemn an entire group based on ONE of its members.
    I have absolutely no problem with you calling the Republican Party racist or saying they live in a “racially segregated past” but you are going to have to offer more evidence than one of their members used to belong to some kind of whites-only club, especially when that person publically disagrees with the policy in question.

  5. Birchibald T. Barlow

    bud – On your points on Obama and Reagan:
    I have a tough time going along with your point on unions at a time when we are about to see an industry collapse (or recieve a bailout at a huge cost to the national debt) in large part due to unions.
    On Reagan’s “borrow and spend” policies, you hit the nail on the head. Every Republican since Reagan has seemed to abandon fiscal responsibility and cling to this model, especially our current reckless President. However, I would not put the housing bubble or auto crisis at the feet of these policies. They made their own beds — though they did have help from Clinton, Bush, congress and a huge boost from Wall Street.
    If Obama supports free trade and balances the budget like Clinton did, then I will certainly applaud his Presidency. I am not optimistic that this will happen but all I can do is wait and see.
    As far as CEO pay goes, I just don’t care to the extent that I am not a shareholder in that business. Heck, every dollar paid out in compensation to CEOs is a dollar that gets taxed as compensation anyway as opposed to money that gets reinvested. Unless it goes to shareholders, where it will get taxed at a much lower rate. So let these companies pay what they want. If it causes management-labor relations issues, then may that company get what they deserve when it comes back around to bite them in the butt.

  6. p.m.

    Bud, the current crisis is caused by paying relatively unskilled workers too much to do simple things and then loaning those workers (and others even less skilled) too much money to buy houses bigger than they could afford or would bother to pay for.
    The crisis is a legacy left us by Bill Clinton, not Ronald Reagan. It’s a Democrat disaster wrought on America by numbnoodles like Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Janet Reno, and it will be a red, white and blue miracle if Obama and his Clintonite administration don’t ruin the United States once and for all.

  7. marconi

    …In other less worthy news today, Editorial Page Editor Brad Warthen of the State Newspaper felt that while Mr. Geithner was indeed a subject of compelling interest, and whereas Mr. Warthen perhaps had the inclination and wherewithal to ask him questions other than the “broad, high-altitude overview Obama provides was way more detail than I need,” he simply did not have the time, especially on Thanksgiving week, having a flood of both obituaries, Turkey salutations, and baby announcements with which to contend.
    Mr. Warthen further elucidated that “though I’m cranking as hard as I can” he wished to disabuse the notion of writing about Mr. Geithner in lieu of lamenting about his own vastly more important tribulative martydom related to his own lauded, or perhaps self-lauded position.
    After having reshouldered the burden of his his etymological cross with great difficulty, he proceeded to render unto those nugacities of a most mundane and insipid nature, provoking great lamentation amongst the Ketchum PR personnel representing Mr. Geithner, the fly fishing retail outlets in Canada, on the East Coast, and in Jackson Hole where Mr. Geithner fishes, and amongst Mr. Geithners class of graduates at the high school education at the International School of Bangkok in Thailand, who were of great sorrow to hear that the virtues of such a personage was not be extoled in the State paper.
    Upon completion of his activities, Mr. Warthen slothfully undoffed his sack cloth and ashes, and took peremptory slumbers upon yon keyboard…
    And there was much rejoicing.

  8. bud

    As the Bush tenure draws to a close I think it would be a good time to re-evaluate the question of whether Bush is the worst president of all time or merely one of many very bad presidents in our history. Other candidates for this (dis)honor include the following:
    Franklin Pierce (who is he anyway)
    Andrew Jackson (an evil man who wrecked havoc on the Indians against the orders of the Supreme Court)
    James Buchanan (Did nothing while the Civil War ignitied)
    Herbert Hoover (Exacerbated great depression)
    Richard Nixon (He was a liar and a crook)
    Lyndon Johnson (Got us embroiled in disasterous, optional war)
    As for Bush?
    In 50 years people will wonder who he was.
    He is certainly evil in the way he’s handled detainees.
    Did nothing to prevent 9-11 attacks, then read a child’s book for 5+ minutes while attack was known to be under way.
    Has exacerbated current economic collapse with counterproductive policies and lack of leadership.
    Lied about illegal wire tapping, making him a crook.
    He got us into the disasterous, flawed war in Iraq.
    Failed to lead during Katrina. (I can’t find another president who failed so miserably during a comparable domestic crisis.)
    So there you have it. Bush has many negative qualities that make him a great candidate for worst president ever. He even has the unique distinction of total failure during a domestic tragedy. Yup, he seems to be the worst president ever, hands down.

  9. Lee Muller

    If these guys will give you some background on Geithner for free, take it. If they are trying to peddle stale information, forget it.
    The more immediate problem with Geithner and other economic appointees is their well-paid roles in the failures of Citicorp, FNMA, FMAC, and various Wall Street firms.
    Timothy Geithner blocked a bailout of Lehman Brothers, then championed a bailout of Citicorp, set yesterday at $300 BILLION.
    Larry Summers was the architect of deregulation of the derivates markets under President Clinton. He and Robert Rubin were also backers of FNMA and FMAC insuring the junk mortages under the CRA, and ending the regulations that had separated commercial banks from investment banks.
    Since most of this occurred under the nose of the NY Times, they are compelled to raise questions, which do not even scratch the surface of conflicts of interest:

  10. marconi

    And upon perceiving that he was being observed “working,” Mr. Warthen decried, cast down thy device the mechanism that modulates of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light to convey sound to the ear.
    yea, and it was so, and he did again engaged in his tasks in lonely silence.

  11. marconi

    And upon hearing that he was observed working, Mr. Warthen did cry out to cast down that modulator of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light.
    Yea verily, it was done, and he again toiled in silence, having closed this topic anon, and migrated to the issue of the esplanade in Columbian lore…

  12. p.m.

    Bud, learning how to spell “disastrous” would make your blather more credible, but not relevant.
    Debating who the worst president was serves no purpose. You say Bush; I say Carter. So what? Obama having won doesn’t make you right, particularly now that he’s abandoning the positions you championed. He’s just another Democrat who plays fast and loose with the truth, like Clinton, like Gore, like Clinton, like Biden…
    Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives, incomprehensible, like the mind of a Democrat.

  13. bud

    Let’s revisit the Carter Administration. He made mistakes for sure. But worst president ever?
    He was the catylist for the most dramatic middle east peace initiative in history. The treaty he brokered between the Egyptians and the Isrealies has stood the test of time.
    Carter helped create the environment that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. His role in that is understated while Reagan gets all the credit.
    He appointed Paul Volker to head the Federal Reserve Board. Volker’s actions ultimately led to the end of the vicious stagflation episode instigated by the Nixon and Ford administrations.
    Carter does not get nearly enough credit for his handling of the Iranian hostage crisis. Compared to the bungled handling of similar hostage crisis by Reagan, Carter stands out for NOT giving in to the demands of the hostage takers. And again, unlike the Reagan hostage episode, ALL the hostages came home alive and NO financial reward was paid to the Iranian thugs.
    Carter was spot on with his energy proposals. Had they been followed up by the Reagan administration we’d be a whole lot better off now.
    So on a scale of 1 to 10 Carter probably gets about a 6. Reagan probably a 4. Bush Jr. a big fat 1. The best president since WW II was Clinton but even he would only earn an 8 or so.

  14. Lee Muller

    Where in the hell does “bud” get his phony histories?
    Are they teaching those fairy tales in school?

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