Jamaica verandah

Why I support Tim Geithner

I learned some things during the Bush years that I have really come to appreciate.  Probably the most important is that I am a lot less emotional than I used to be.  After seeing first hand how Bush and his cohorts used emotions to whip their evangelical followers into a religious fervor totally hijacked the lines between church and state, I made a promise to myself that I would undertake a personal transformation, turn down the rhetoric and start assuming a more pragmatic and careful assessment of situations and arguments being presented to me.  I might add here that this is a lesson the GOP has clearly not learned as they keep fielding people like Joe the plumber, the infamous Sarah and the bellicose Rush, all of whom are meant to foment a rebellion of sort, because God knows they are the only ones’ who truly have their finger on the pulse of the “American people.”

I often wonder who these people are to whom they are referring, because clearly I have never met them.  I suspect they live in some alternate  universe where hyperbole is the norm and where they only get trotted out when needed to illustrate the universality of an idea, no matter how inane. What I have found to be true is there is no universal idea that holds true for any of the Americans I know or interact with, which is after all the beauty of this country.

Of course pulling back to an observant sideline is by no means an indication that I am in a retreat mode, or about to give ground on things I feel strongly about, far from it.  Rather it’s about learning how to choose my battles; knowing which fires are worth putting out and which should be put out in short order.  Which brings me to Tim Geithner.

My curiosity as to  what about this man so scares the GOP and the cable show pundits that they seem to be on an all out witch hunt for his head, sent me to the internet in an effort to educate myself about Mr. Geithner.  What I learned was most interesting beginning with his qualifications. Clearly this is not someone who just came out of nowhere to his new role as Secretary of the Treasury

From the Department of Treasury’s website

http://www.ustreas.gov/organization/bios/geithner-e.shtml

On January 26, 2009, Timothy F. Geithner was sworn in as the 75th Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury.Before his nomination to the Treasury, Secretary Geithner served as the ninth president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he began on November 17, 2003. Secretary Geithner first joined the Department of Treasury in 1988 and worked in three administrations for five Secretaries of the Treasury in a variety of positions. He served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs from 1999 to 2001 under Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers.He was director of the Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 until 2003. Before joining the Treasury, Secretary Geithner worked for Kissinger Associates, Inc.Secretary Geithner graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor’s degree in government and Asian studies in 1983 and from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a master’s in International Economics and East Asian Studies in 1985. He has studied Japanese and Chinese and has lived in East Africa, India, Thailand, China, and Japan.

In fact CNN, a network that always seems alternately to always be looking for a bandwagon to jump on, or whipping people into a frenzy with their over the top style of reporting, seemed to agree: http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/20/news/newsmakers/geithner.questions.fortune/index.htm

 When Obama announced in November that he intended to nominate Geithner, financial markets rallied. Observers applauded Geithner’s experience, including the six years he has spent as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” I find it interesting that all that good will has faded in just a matter of months as we have been subjected to the onslaught of pop culture journalism.  Which makes the excerpt from Yahoo news even more meaningful in light of my premise that emotionalism has no place in serious media because it is a weapon that undercuts serious journalism.  I like to think of Charlie Rose as the antithesis of much of the hot air that permeates cable news, and the excerpt describing Mr. Geithner as a “thoughtful man” is precisely what we miss when we run headlong after sound bites and the people who perpetrate them. From Yahoo News http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20090312/ts_ynews/ynews_ts254“To be fair, Geithner gave a fuller accounting of himself and his ideas in an hour-long interview on PBS’ “Charlie Rose” a few days later. The thoughtful man sitting across the table from Rose seems a far cry from the dithering caricature being pilloried in the media.” So what is my point.  At the end of my research is that those who would like to have Mr. Geithner’s head, are the ones who most fear the fact that he is right.  That he will actually help the Obama administration turn the economy around to one that is more responsible, equitable and accountable and not given to playing Russian roulette with people’s future.   

It is imperative that we not lose sight of the much larger picture, in that removing Mr. Geithner will open the door of attack against the very foundation on which President Obama is defining his presidency. 

 Comparatively speaking, my co-workers and I are not high rollers, when our 401k’s take a hit, it means something, especially since most of us are in our 50’s.  What I don’t need, however, is someone who is full of spit, vinegar and hot air trying to sell me a quick fix for getting us out of this hole.  Personally,  I  am more comfortable with Mr. Geithner at the helm of this present economic nightmare.  Emotions might have worked before, they shouldn’t  this time, and they won’t if people step back from the bait, educate themselves and start questioning the credentials and motives of some of these people who are doing all the talking.  I have found a good place to start is  turning off most of the cable shows and turning on the Newshour which seems to be one of the few places that provides a balanced assessment on the state of the economy without the yelling and posturing..   At the end of the day, if I have to thank George Bush for anything, it is for making me less emotional and more pragmatic.  As such, I think I will stick with Mr. Geithner who has demonstrated much grace under pressure, as he has withstood the onslaught of those in Congress who are jockeying for points they hope will play well with their constituents during their next campaign; all at the expense of this decent man who is solid and more knowledgeable on the subject,  than anyone else in the room and is  using a methodical approach to finding a solution that will be sustainable and not just a temporary fix.  After all the man has children too, I would think he has a vested interest in what happens to their future. For those who truly need a media darling and the surrounding hoopla, well he sort of looks like Warren Beatty.

About the author

verandah