Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post and author of the recent book Fiasco was being interviewed on NPR this evening, and he was saying that Obama faces the worst international situation of any President in a long time, and that isn't even his biggest problem, which is of course the economy. We (I) mustn't forget that as we evaluate the early days of his presidency. He deserves a break as he starts to wrap his mind around and gears up his administration to address all these problems. I'm very glad that he is the one in that office right now, with his blend of intelligence, vision, character, cool, and pragmatism. And I'm very glad that in general he has brought in a lot of experienced help from the previous Democratic administration, because we don't need a lot of novices right now.
I remain very skeptical about his economic team of Summers and Geithner. They represent no break whatsoever with the past economic orthodoxy that led us into this economic nightware. In fact, their good friend and mentor Bob Rubin himself helped create the deregulated environment that allowed financial institutions like Citigroup (where Rubin has worked in the last decade) to help create all the toxic securities and derivatives that now threaten to strangle us.
Sure, since they were a part of the problem, they would be very familiar with it. But that would be like hiring Cheney to come solve the Iraq problem since he knows so much about it.
Obama needs fresh economic thinking outside the box. I have no confidence that he's going to get that from Summers and Geithner. Selecting that duo was a mistake and a serious one.