Another Transition Stumble, TestAnother stumble from the messiah-in-chief involving his pick for Treasury Secretary will test the degree of Teflon there remains on our last hope to save the world. So far Obama's pick for Commerce had a commercial problem, and now his pick to assume management of our tax system has a problem with, among other things, failing to pay taxes. He may have also employed an undocumented alien as household help. In the past, illegal maids (recall Zoe Baird, BJ Clinton's first pick for attorney general), or even providing shelter to an indigent illegal immigrant (recall Linda Chavez, Bush's original nominee for Labor secretary), have sunk cabinet nominees.
Lesser men have folded under similar circumstances. But Obama is made of sterner stuff. Plus, Geithner has two aces in the hole. One, of course, is the democrats, who want so much to recreate the nation in their own image that they will do nothing to impair the lubricant in the governmental canal that Obama is sliding into. Then we have the republicans, who seem to fear the alternative to Geithner. They have no faith in Obama, and seem to believe that this nominee is the best they will get from the new president. In that they are probably right.
What seems to have been lost here is the most simple of qualifications for public office - propriety. Congress, more than the other branches, is drunk with power. I do not use the cliche loosely. They seem to be literally drunk, no longer concerned with consequences, lurching forward with no regard to law or the constitution. They vote trillions of dollars in "bailout" funds with no regard to pretending, even, that they have a way to "pay" for it. Deficits? They don't need to worry about no stinkin' deficits. One trillion? Two? What's the difference?
What good is the rule of law when the lawmakers are lawless? Geithner is only the latest in a litany of lawless moves by the people in power. It will be a litmus test for Obama. We shall see if he sticks with his nominee, or throws him away, like Richardson, Ayers, or Wright. It would be a test for Congress as well, except there is little doubt that the democrats will confirm any nominee the chosen one wants.