Ask Dr. Vodkapundit: Doesn't Anyone Want a Job in the Treasury Dept.?
Today is an age of therapy -- support groups, SRI medications, Oprah, a large and very strong cocktail at five o'clock sharp -- and our president, for good or ill, is now our therapist-in-chief. Since at least as far back as FDR's fireside chats, we've expected the president to calmly explain things to us, to whip inflation, to feel our pain, to pat us on the backs and remind us that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
There are tons of perfectly good reasons to be uncomfortable with a national chief executive of supposedly limited and defined powers doing all these things. But as we've seen the last 50-some-odd days, there's one incontestable reason to ask our commander-in-chief to also be our sob sister: President Obama is lousy at it, and it's costing us trillions. That's trillions, with a capital T.
Which rhymes with P, which stands for "paucity of proper personnel picks."
For the third time in a week, a candidate for a major Department of the Treasury office has withdrawn from consideration. Thursday afternoon, H. Rodgin Cohen took his name back out of the hat because, as ABC News's George Stephanopoulos reports, "an issue arose in the final stages of the vetting process." And what issue might that have been? Tax evasion? Nannygate XVII? Murdering hobos for sport? We don't know, because no one is saying. What we do know is, Cohen was supposed to serve as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's right-hand (left-hand?) man, but will now be staying in the private sector.
(This is ironic, given that it was another Democratic president, Harry Truman, who once complained that he was going to find himself a one-armed economist who wouldn't be able to say to him, "on the other hand...")
It was late last week that Annette Nazareth withdrew from consideration for the same post, after "several interviews and vetting of her financial history," according to Fox News. It would be unfair to note that when Nazareth served as the SEC's director of the Division of Market Regulation, she tried and failed to catch Bernie Madoff at his pyramid games -- because I can't find any evidence that she ever actually tried.
Scant hours after Nazareth removed her thorny crown, Caroline Atkinson also withdrew her nomination to the almost-as-vital position of undersecretary for international affairs. The reason given was -- surprise! -- tax problems. It was at this point that the Telegraph's Washington reporter, Toby Harnden, was forced to conclude that there were "signs of chaotic decision making and inadequate vetting" in the Obama administration.