May 29, 2006
The Top Commerce Job and Cronyism
Matt's pretty funny, discussing the possibility of former Commerce chief (and bestest buddy of the POTUS) Don Evans becoming the next Secretary of the Treasury.
Evans was Commerce Secretary in the first term, a job that traditionally goes to a Presidential crony unqualified for a real job. Obviously, they put lots of unqualified cronies in important jobs, so being the crony so cronyish that you had to get the post actually designed for a crony is a real achievement. Putting him in charge of the Treasury Department would be ridiculous but, hey, you never know.
Also under consideration is the current Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, who used to sell breakfast cereal and appears to have no relevant experience whatsoever.
This whole search really is reaching (has already reached?) the level of farce. A slew of people with actual careers and accomplishments have turned the job down, one of the few truly impressive guys with a senior post in this administration wants the job, but they won't give it to him (too competent?) - so are we really facing the croniest of the cronies? Eh, even if we are, it's hard to imagine him being worse than the current Secretary.
Posted by armand at May 29, 2006 11:50 AM
| Posted to Pure Unadulterated Snark
It amazes me that you can say with a straight face that being Chairman and CEO of a huge NYSE-traded company (Kellogg) doesn't count as "actual experience" relevant to being SecTreas, but being a career wonk does. SecTreas's key day-to-day functions involve talking to the Street -- Wall, not First. Gutierrez isn't necessarily a slam-dunk, but in his role at K he would have dealt with the Wall St investment banks on a daily basis. Writing him off as someone who "used to sell breakfast cereal" betrays a fundamental misunderstanding either of what the Treasury Secretary does or of how the Street works. Of course, Matt doesn't have any actual business experience himself, so his lack of understanding isn't surprising.
Then again, maybe Matt (and you?) would feel differently if Gutierrez had gone to Harvard.
1) I didn't say it, Matt did. 2) Yes I find it funny, but obviously it's also a joke (I don't think Matt REALLY thinks he was going door to door selling breakfast cereal). 3) Uh, so we can only hope to understand the jobs we've actually had? 4) I really don't agree (if this is what you are saying) that heading Kellogg prepares you for the vast array of economic matters (particularly in our interdependent world) that a capable Secretary of the Treasury would have to deal with (in the perfect world, not this one, where the person who holds that job has appropriate authority).
Finally, first you imply that I'm a cheerleader for the Clintons - and now you suggest I'm a Harvard fan. Again, your assumptions are incorrect.
*I* did not "imply that [you were] a cheerleader for the Clintons". I used the Clinton impeachment as an example. E.X.A.M.P.L.E. And clearly (or so I thought) presented as such. Do you somehow have me confused with Morris?
As for this post, if you present an Yglesias quote with approving commentary, I assume the quote speaks for you as well. Are you suggesting I shouldn't? If so, on what basis?
Really, this isn't worth my time anymore. Baltar, drop me a line when you get back to blogging.
Actually this gets at one of the things I find most peculiar about blogging - how people think that if you note something or link to it, for some reason you agree with it. Maybe I'm just too used to teaching (where I spend vast amounts of my time extolling the possible virtues of things I don't particularly agree with). I link to stuff all the time that I don't agree with 100% - I just happen to think these things are funny or interesting or raise good points worth considering.
Today the WSJ says it'll be Henry Paulson, the CEO of Goldman Sachs. I don't know much about him, but he appears to have a much stronger resume for this job that the Commerce Secretarys. Though if he's naming a Goldman Sachs guy he's comfortable with, you kind of wonder why Steve Friedman isn't the pick. But maybe he didn't want it.