Treasury staffing: Still Going Nowhere

Felix Salmon highlights more depressing news on Obama’s failure to staff Treasury:

To lose one deputy treasury secretary might be considered a misfortune; to lose two — and both before they are even officially nominated, no less — looks suspciously like carelessness.

George Stephanopoulos has the depressing news:

Democratic sources say that H. Rodgin Cohen, a partner in the New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, and the leading candidate for Deputy Treasury Secretary, has withdrawn from consideration.
It’s the third withdrawal of a top Treasury Department staff pick in less than a week…
Democratic sources said that an issue arose in the final stages of the vetting process.
As one source put it, “it’s back to the drawing board.”
Cohen had risen to the top after the withdrawal last week of expected deputy treasury secretary pick Annette Nazareth.
Nazareth was forced to withdraw from consideration for the deputy treasury slot because senators made it clear she would face tough questioning over her time at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Deputy treasury secretary is a huge and important job: it’s the position that Larry Summers held when he appeared on the cover of Time as part of the Committee to Save the World. But it seems that the very experience which qualifies any given person for the job is also liable to disqualify them.

What’s even more depressing than the difficulties filling these positions is the weird way in which the Obama administration is pushing the line that there isn’t a problem here at all:

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O’Donnell is right, and the Obama spin doctors are wrong. The fact that Treasury has failed to fill substantially all of its senior political positions, four full months after Geithner was nominated, is a national scandal. We’re not impressed by Geithner’s vague sketch of “the beginning of” his bank plan; we want a bank plan! And we want it a couple of months ago, before Citigroup stock dropped below $1 a share on utter uncertainty about what on earth was going on or might happen.

O’Donnell is right, and the Obama spin doctors are wrong. The fact that Treasury has failed to fill substantially all of its senior political positions, four full months after Geithner was nominated, is a national scandal. We’re not impressed by Geithner’s vague sketch of “the beginning of” his bank plan; we want a bank plan! And we want it a couple of months ago, before Citigroup stock dropped below $1 a share on utter uncertainty about what on earth was going on or might happen.

Do read Felix’s entire commentary – this is important. I nominate David Goldman as that would provide two grownups in the executive: Volker and Goldman.