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big-time lapses of judgment

Geithner Loses It

Tim Geithner has been under a tremendous amount of pressure since being appointed Treasury secretary. He's been faced with a historic, gargantuan task and every step he's taken has been received with a barrage of criticism. It's not surprising that he would have a lot of feelings about this, or that he's been storing said feelings inside where they have steadily expanded until he was taut and uncomfortable in his skin like some kind of helium balloon of rage. But what is surprising is that he's let himself explode. In public. According to this morning's Wall Street Journal, Geithner "blasted" a group of regulators — among them Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, SEC head Mary Shapiro, and FDIC chair Sheila Bair — in an "expletive-laced" rant last Friday over their criticism of his regulatory overhaul plan. Per the Journal, "Mr. Geithner told the regulators Friday that "enough is enough," said one person familiar with the meeting. Mr. Geithner said regulators had been given a chance to air their concerns, but that it was time to stop, this person said."

Friday's roughly hourlong meeting was described as unusual, not only because of Mr. Geithner's repeated use of obscenities, but because of the aggressive posture he took with officials from federal agencies generally considered independent of the White House. Mr. Geithner reminded attendees that the administration and Congress set policy, not the regulatory agencies.


Whoa. This is not appropriate behavior for the secretary of the Treasury, and we are frankly worried about his sanity. Here's what needs to go down, in our opinion.

First of all, Obama needs to get involved. There needs to be a press conference, wherein Geithner is forced to repeat all of the dirty words he said, so that the American people know how bad an expletive situation this is — like is it everyday bad ("toxic butt monkeys," "cock gobblers," "fucking fucknuts") or lost-his-mind bad (Like did he go ahead and call his Sheila a cunt)? Because it matters. Afterward, Obama will present Geithner with a bar of soap and tell him he has to hold it in his mouth until he reveals who taught him the bad words. Geithner will hold it, eyes tearing, for like five minutes before fingering Larry Summers. Then they'll get sent to a nice hideaway in the mountains or perhaps Utah to do sharing exercises and we'll get a whole new economic team, with maybe Paul Krugman and that nice Joe Stiglitz.

Geithner Vents at Regulators as Overhaul Stumbles [WSJ]

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Photo: Getty Images