I've been puzzled for a year and a half as to why there didn't seem to be many surrogate spokespeople for the president. Axelrod, Geithner, Biden, and Obama himself seemed to be the only communicators.
I thought that was a strategy. I didn't understand the purpose, but I at least thought it was a plan. And Axelrod and Geithner, frankly, aren't real good at it. Biden is, well, he's Biden.
But I got a little--more than a little-- disturbed when I read that Geithner was appointed by the president to handle the negotiations with the GOP leadership on the tax cut deal. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but that seems wrong to me. Geithner is the Secretary of the Treasury. That is a BFD of a job (as Biden might say). It's not a mix-it-up with the opposition job. It's not a role where you should be haggling over budget cuts and trade-offs. It's really not a position that should have any direct involvement in the sausage making of legislative deals. The Secretary of the Treasury of the United States is one of the most powerful people in the entire world. His slightest mistatement or hint of change can set markets reeling internationally. The job of Secretary of the Treasury is defined by gravitas and credibility, not horse trading.
Instead, we have the image (and reality) of Geithner haggling with Boehner and Ryan over tax rates, tax credits and lengths of extensions. I know Lew went too, but that's Lew's proper role as budget director. It's sort of incredible to me that the administration doesn't seem either to have anyone else or doesn't trust anyone other than Tim Geithner to represent them. Either by choice or by accident, there's no bench, and that is very worrisome.