09 June 2014

Timothy Geithner, American Brahmin

Timothy Geithner's book Stress Test reveals some striking things about him, if Matthew Stoller's review in Vice, The Con Artist Wing Of The Democratic Party, is to be believed.

And then there’s the mystery of how he managed to climb up the career ladder so quickly. He never really explains how this happens. He wasn’t a good student. He notes, as a grad student, that he mostly played pool. “During my orals, when one professor asked which economics journals I read, I replied that I had never read any. Seriously? Yes, seriously. But not long after we returned from our honeymoon in France, Henry Kissinger’s international consulting firm hired me as an Asia analyst; my dean at SAIS had recommended me to Brent Scowcroft, one of Kissinger’s partners.”

I’m sorry, but what? How does this just happen? And it goes on ....

I found that quote through Mike The Mad Biologist, who has more choice quotes and concludes:

I don’t think there’s some ‘Smoking Man’ level conspiracy here–I disagree with Stoller. It’s much more mundane (and tawdry): Geithner rose on political skills, connections (lots of connections), hewing to the ‘company line’, and dumb luck.

It turns out that Stoller has more quotes from the book on his blog, like this one:

I never planned to follow in my father’s footsteps, and he never put any pressure on any of us to take any particular path. But Sarah and David also went to Dartmouth, and Jonathan also went to SAIS. Sarah also followed our father into a career in global development, and is now a World Bank consultant, while Jon is a military analyst at a Washington think tank.

Just running the world. The way you do.

This story reminds me of a few classic favorites about the workings of American power which I have linked before.

Digby's classic explanation of the left blogosphere expression “The Village”:

It's shorthand for the permanent DC ruling class who have managed to convince themselves that they are simple, puritanical, bourgeois burghers and farmers, even though they are actually celebrity millionaires influencing the most powerful government on earth.

A spooky little story from A Tiny Revolution:

How interesting that the DC press corps feels it's their place to make decisions for the rest of America .... How interesting that Cohen felt it was appropriate to tell all this to a small group of fresh-faced, ambitious, grotty Yale youths, but not to the outside world. And how interesting that we were being socialized into thinking this was normal.

The Good Shepherd, Robert DeNiro's film about a fictional Yale graduate who becomes a spook in the early CIA.

We have the United States of America. The rest of you are just visiting.

1 comment:

J'Carlin said...

Politics has never been an interest of mine except to vote the bastards out. Generally futile, as the choice is generally a Democratic bastard and a Republican bastard.
There is hope the game may be changing, but November may prove that to be futile as well. At this point all who can must register and vote if only to reduce the percentages for the bastards.