Sunday, December 07, 2008

Op/Ed Writers Write—That’s Their Job

But even Frank Rich just turns the crank, at times. This morning’s New York Times Op/Ed column being one of those times. Back from a two-week vacation, Rich tells us that Obama’s economic team choices may fit David Halberstam’s original meaning of the title of his book, “The Best and Brightest”. Rich says Halberstam was being ironic with his description of the JFK team. They may have been bright but they surely weren’t the best. And they lead us into the Viet Nam war that “would destroy the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and inflict grave national wounds that only now are healing.” Then Rich points to Obama’s choice of Lawrence Summers as his top economic adviser and Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary and rips them apart for being bright, but hubristic, highhanded and worst of all, for being the protégés of President Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, who, according to Rich, is responsible for the “toxic mortgage-derivatives on Citigroup’s books” because he was asleep on the job. Rich says: “Washington’s cheerleading for our new New Frontier cabinet superstars has seldom been interrupted by tough questions about Summers’s Harvard career or Geithner’s record at the Fed.” Both of which, Rich claims, were less than wonderful and in Geithner’s case, possibly led to Lehman Brothers’ demise Okay. So? What’s it been, a week since Obama let the world know who his top job choices are? Washington has “seldom” asked tough questions? Is it possible there might still be time? Come on, Frank. I’m aware you had to churn something out for today’s column and I’m aware you probably had to write something negative about a couple of Obama’s choices lest you fall into the cheerleader camp. Still, your tag line gave you away when you wrote, “In the end Obama chose Paul Volcker as chairman of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board. This was a presidential decision not only bright but wise.” Right. Rich actually thinks Geithner and Summers are decent enough choices. And as Rich himself pointed out earlier in his column, “Well, nobody’s perfect. Given that John McCain’s economic team was headlined by Carly Fiorina and Joe the Plumber, the country would be dodging a fiscal bullet even if Obama had picked Suze Orman.” Bottom line: Frank Rich earned his fee for the week and the rest is blah-blah-blah.

1 comment:

Barry Schwartz said...

It’s not even original—that illogical ‘Best and Brightest’ slur has been doing the rounds.