What Does Not Kill Tim Geithner Makes Him Stronger

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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

You have to give Tim Geithner this: He has held it together. Sure, he's blown his top from time to time, but considering how tumultuous the two years he's spent as Treasury secretary have been, he's remained remarkably stoic, and during some really trying moments, like when he has had to explain to a member of Congress yet again that HELLO! he has never worked at Goldman Sachs, and during the recent spate of humiliating interviews he has apparently been forced to give to basically every media outlet there is — including, God help him, Vogue — in an attempt to quell the rage over the bailout by explaining that as bad as things look now, they could be much worse. How is he managing through all of this? Zoloft? Primal Scream therapy? After-work sessions with a dominatrix? After reading the latest in what is quickly becoming a canon of Geithner defense pieces in The New Yorker this week, we have some idea.

For all the wrath that has descended upon his slight frame, he appears to have succeeded in putting out another inferno. “Why do policymakers screw up financial crises?” he said before I left his office. “They screw up financial crises because the politics are horrible, and that deters action. They are slow and late and tentative and weak because they are scared to death of the politics. But sometimes a policymaker has to say, I’ll take pain now against pain later.


Emphasis ours because, having spent some time in our lives around nerdy adolescent boys who feels themselves under siege, there's something weirdly familiar about that last bit. Is it possible that Geithner has been reading Nietzsche ? And if so: Let's hope he doesn't progress to Ayn Rand.

No Credit [NYer]