Deck Chairs, Titanic, Etc.

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 10, 2012

President Obama can change chiefs of staff until the cows come home, but that won’t do much to change the sense of disarray in his administration. No change in personnel will magically make the economy better, or magically restore enthusiasm to a disappointed Democratic party base, or magically make the president himself as appealing and attractive to people as he was in 2008.

Jack Lew–currently the Director of the Office of Management and Budget–is much beloved by Democrats, and respected by quite a lot of Republicans, but I wonder how many people in the president’s base will like him once they read this:

From 2006-2008, Jack Lew was chief operating officer of Citibank’s alternative investments division. And it was his division that made billions of dollars betting “U.S. homeowners would not be able to make their mortgage payments,” as the Huffington Post reported.

The piece also reported: “Lew made millions at Citi, including a bonus of nearly $950,000 in 2009 just a few months after the bank received billions of dollars in a taxpayer rescue, according to disclosure forms filed with the federal government. The bank is still partly owned by taxpayers.”

Of course, one should not begrudge Lew his personal, professional, and financial successes. But one might wonder what kind of message the president is sending with this appointment.

“I welcome constructive input from folks in the financial sector. But what we’ve seen so far, in recent weeks, is an army of industry lobbyists from Wall Street descending on Capitol Hill to try and block basic and common-sense rules of the road that would protect our economy and the American people,” Obama said in 2010. “So if these folks want a fight, that’s a fight I’m ready to have.”

As the Weekly Standard story mentions, the president said nothing about these aspects of Lew’s background upon announcing his appointment as chief of staff. Quelle surprise.

  • MarkH

    Maybe it only shows that Obama trusts in competence, knowledge of the world and capability to take direction. Maybe Lew is one of the best people he could have considered for the job.

    Or, maybe you just want to bash Obama for any and everything he does or says or doesn’t do or say.

    • Pejman Yousefzadeh

      And maybe I have a point in this case. Of course, to claim that I want to “bash” Obama “for any and everything he does or says or doesn’t do or say” is ridiculous. The archives can help you find posts that had me agreeing with the president’s action in, say, repealing DADT, or applauding him on the bin Laden killing. But I guess you aren’t willing to do the not-so-hard work to find those posts.

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