Commentary Magazine


Heckuva Job, Timmy

The president has uncorked some doozies lately. There was the one about not liking big government. Who can forget the line about not wanting to spend money? But this one on Tim Geithner tops them all:

Nobody’s working harder than this guy. He’s making all the right moves in terms of playing a bad hand.

Is there a single member of Congress — a single American, for that matter — who agrees with this? Hmmm . . .  well . . . no. Because it is so obviously and hysterically false, the president’s comments will, I think, almost certainly undermine his own credibility and fuel the competency concern — the nagging sense that he really doesn’t know what is going on, or how to run the government. Frankly, this ranks up there with “Heckuva job, Brownie.”

The AIG mess is taking on the familiar feel of a disaster. An out-of-touch president, a populist frenzy, a disgusted media, and an opposition party waiting to pounce. The president’s entire appearance today had an air of unreality about it. Comparing Geithner’s challenges to Alexander Hamilton’s? (Well, you might get a lot of volunteers for a duel, but really?) Talking about the need for a regulatory regime when the government owns AIG.? Saying no one in government was supervising AIG? (Well, that’s certainly true.)

Change? This seems queasily like George W. Bush on a bad day.