Granted, Prime Minister Obama might defy convention if he thought his government had already put the right economic policies in place but they hadn’t yet shown their benign effects. But no one, including the neo-Keynesians who advise Obama on fiscal policy, really believes anything like that. Under the circumstances, a similarly situated prime minister’s failure to get himself a new finance minister would be widely viewed as an admission that his government had run out of ideas.
President Obama is in worse shape than that unenviable prime minister. If this New York Times article is accurate, he has been reduced to pleading with his widely disparaged Treasury Secretary to stay on:
“Mr. Obama and his chief of staff, William M. Daley, have been urging Mr. Geithner to stay, administration officials say, not only for continuity when the economy has weakened and to avoid an all-but-certain confirmation fight in the Senate over a successor, but also because Mr. Obama has developed a close rapport with Mr. Geithner.Got that? The ever-loyal Geithner is ready to fall on his sword. Yet Obama thinks he needs to hold onto him--a Treasury Secretary who has presided over an economy sinking again after a tepid recovery--in the name of continuity.
“Whether the president persuades Mr. Geithner to stay will be a central development for the White House as it girds for a re-election race expected to turn on the economy and the continuing battle of the budget with Republicans.”