Reports have broken today that Timothy Geithner’s choice, although not officially named, for Deputy Treasury Secretary, Annette Nazareth, has withdrawn her name from consideration.
In the midst of the greatest financial freefall in decades and great uncertainty in financial markets around the world, Secretary Geithner has failed to name, let alone have confirmed, a single top deputy or assistant secretary. Simply stated, this is inexcusable.
Many Republicans supported President Obama’s pick of Geithner for Treasury. He is reputed as smart and as having a close relationship with Fed Chairman Bernanke and past Treasury Secretary Paulson. However, he has underperformed, if it can be said he has performed at all.
Secretary Geithner has underwhelmed Wall Street with his mortgage financing bailout proposals, first, lacking necessary detail and, then, proposing a plan which John and Jane American can hardly understand and which financial advisors are struggling with, as well. Neither attempt has instilled confidence in the financial markets on Wall Street and abroad, nor on Main Street.
Amongst many missteps in the first forty-five days of this Administration, the nomination and approval of Timothy Geithner ranks near the top of the list. While originally earning plaudits, clearly, this is a nomination which should not have been made.
The question is now, what does President Obama do about it? Does he cajole Geithner to move more expeditiously to assemble a financial team around him and hope that the “team” can justify Geithner’s appointment? Does he cut his losses and identify a new Treasury Secretary that can start fresh in dealing with the many financial issues which demand immediate attention?
The answer is not easy – but it is a question, a problem created by none other than President Obama himself and his White House staff, who in their zeal to look immediately proactive, forced the nomination of someone clearly not ready for prime time.