James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Dobbs vs. Kudlow? Get the popcorn ….

Nov 19, 2009 20:14 UTC

Lou Dobbs will be landing on CNBC’s Kudlow Report tonight at 7 PM.  I am sure Larry will bring up the issue of trade, so too — I hope — the budget deficit, China’s currency and the role of the Federal Reserve. I already have my DVR set for this one.  BTW, I frequently appear on the KR and was on Lou’s radio show just yesterday …

On the calls for Timothy Geithner’s resignation …

Nov 19, 2009 19:56 UTC

If Republicans had any fear of the Obama White House on the economy, congressmen wouldn’t be calling for Tim Geithner to resign, much less right to his face as happened today. Then there is Peter DeFazio, the Oregonian Democrat, on MSNBC’s Ed Schultz show when asked if the treasury secretary should resign:

DEFAZIO: I do, especially if you look back at the AIG scandal and Goldmans and the others who got their bets paid off in full. Instead of saying, well, you bet, you lost, they got paid back in full with taxpayer money through AIG. We channeled the money through them.

Geithner would not answer my question when I said, “Were those naked credit default swaps by Goldman or were they a counter party?” He said, “I will not answer that question.”

I think they were naked credit default swaps. They were bets. They should not have gotten their money back.

SCHULTZ: So he‘s not coming clean with the Congress?

DEFAZIO: Absolutely not.

SCHULTZ: OK. So have you asked the Obama administration to remove him, or will you?

DEFAZIO: The populist caucus is considering questions regarding both him and some other members of the economic team in the near future.

This a sign that some Democrats do fear the Obama White House on the economy — they fear being too closely aligned with it. Look, the NJ and VA elections when combined with the high unemployment rate  are causing an absolute Dem freakout on Capitol Hill. Fun fact: Dems are defending 38 of the 50 most vulnerable House seats, as measured by the Cook Political Report.


Giethner defends naked swaps because he defends the status quo. That’s where his power base is. If congress is successful in providing meaningful reform Giethner will lose his advantage in dealing with the complex and corrupt financial system.

He’ll fight meaningful reform to the end. Because when it happens, he’ll be out of a job.