Sunday, November 9, 2008


NY Times - Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers's policies and his tenure as Harvard president have surfaced as issues. Timothy F. Geithner, also seen as a Treasury candidate, has been criticized for a link to policies of the current secretary. . .

In the days since Mr. Obama was elected, liberal bloggers have sought to ignite an online opposition by recalling the rocky five years Mr. Summers spent as president of Harvard, where he angered many women and blacks before resigning in 2006.

Reaching back farther, other Web sites have resurrected a 1991 memorandum that Mr. Summers signed as an economist at the World Bank that suggested parts of Africa could be repositories for toxic waste. . .

Mr. Geithner presents a different problem for Mr. Obama, who staked his campaign on a call for change in Washington, especially in areas of economic policy. Though a nonpartisan Federal Reserve official, Mr. Geithner is tightly linked with the policies of the current Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., and the Bush White House. Among the public, there remains deep skepticism over the wisdom and fairness of the bank bailouts.

Many on Wall Street still question Mr. Geithner's role in allowing the investment bank Lehman Brothers to collapse into bankruptcy, an event some believe exacerbated the financial crisis. Some also say Mr. Geithner relies too much on financial executives for guidance and, except in the Lehman case, is too quick to come to their rescue.

"He is too tied to Wall Street and too tied to this administration," said Joseph Mason, banking professor at Louisiana State University and a critic of the bailout plans. . .

In angering feminists, blacks and environmentalists over time, Mr. Summers has hurt himself with three groups that make up much of the base of the Democratic Party - making him a prime example of the constituent politics that Mr. Obama must maneuver around in coming weeks.

While at Harvard, Mr. Summers sparked a furor by suggesting that innate factors might help explain why more men than women go into scientific fields and excel there.

"There is no need for Obama to open that can of worms and court controversy when there are other good people" who could lead the Treasury, said one Democratic source who asked to remain unnamed. While Mr. Summers could weather the attacks, he also faces skepticism among colleagues, even those who admire him as an outstanding economist with a successful record at the Treasury, as being arrogant and sometimes condescending. . .


At November 9, 2008 9:50 PM, Anonymous wellbasically said...

I'm tired of these people at Harvard and their continuous earbleed over Summers comments.

Summers was a pretty clueless Treasury secretary who has been too high on himself to re-examine the financial record of the US. That's why he should be viewed with suspicion, not because he said something that any professor at Harvard should be able to handle.


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