This AIG thing is really turning into a mess for the Democrats.
Questions about Barack Obama's confidence in Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are swirling.
From the New York Times:
The White House and Treasury have been besieged by questions about why Mr. Geithner did not know sooner about the bonus payments due this month, and whether he could have done more to stop them, prompting White House officials to assert President Obama’s continued confidence in Mr. Geithner.
“He more than has the president’s complete confidence,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff. As angry as the president is at the news about A.I.G., which he learned Thursday, Mr. Emanuel said, “his main priority is getting the financial system stabilized, and he believes this is a big distraction in that effort.”
Yeah. Incompetence often is a big distraction, Rahm.
From an AP analysis, written by Laurie Kellman:
"The president has complete confidence" in Geithner, [White House press secretary Robert] Gibbs said.
Both Emanuel and Gibbs used "complete confidence." What a coincidence!
Is Obama satisfied that Geithner informed him of the impending bonus payments in a timely fashion?
"Yes, the president is satisfied," Gibbs replied.
Those, of course, are statements that wouldn't need to be made if Geithner's status were clear. Not just a president's confidence, but his "complete confidence" can be a well-worn political signal that the subject should start circulating a resume.
AIG is the demonized insurance giant now 80 percent owned by the government after getting $170 billion in federal bailout funds to pay money it owed to U.S. and foreign banks. Geithner told senior White House officials about the bonuses last Thursday and they in turn told Obama the same day, according to a timetable provided by the White House.
Geithner sent a flurry of letters to lawmakers Tuesday night on measures he's taking—including bringing in Attorney General Eric Holder—to try to recover as much of the bonuses as possible.
For the time being, Geithner, formerly president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, remains a key player in the gargantuan task of slowing the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.
But his future could soon be as murky as the economy's. His short tenure has been shaky at a time when the new president and the Democratic-led Congress are trying to project confidence to the markets and the nation.
When asked, Democrats issued statements of support for Geithner that ranged from concise to vague, but none called for his resignation.
It seems the lib media are frustrated with Geithner. First, they had to excuse his tax evasion. But they were sold on his brilliance and they wanted to give Obama anyone he wanted. Now, Geithner is revealed to be clueless and sloppy and not at all the man they made him out to be.
Regarding this AIG mess, Mark Levin made an interesting point on his radio show Tuesday. He said that this is a Democrat scandal.
After playing clips of Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, and Barney Frank criticizing AIG and calling for the return of the bonuses, Levin noted that they all supported and voted for the stimulus bill that includes Chris Dodd's amendment assuring the bonuses would be paid.
The lib media are missing in action. They have failed to blame Dodd for sticking this amendment in the stimulus bill. The lib media aren't noting the utter hypocrisy of Dodd and other Dems now running around threatening to enact a law to tax the bonuses in order to regain the money if it's not returned to the government voluntarily.
The bonuses were paid because they were protected under the stimulus bill.
Levin points out that not a single Republican House member voted for the bill. Nearly all Dem House members voted for it. Every Senate single Dem voted for it and three Republicans -- Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins. It was overwhelmingly a Dem creation.
The Dems voted to award the AIG bonuses.
Most importantly, Barack Obama signed the bill. HE SIGNED IT. He signed it with great fanfare in Denver.
Weird that Obama's outraged over the bill that he insisted had to be passed so quickly.
He should be held accountable for failing to veto it. It's that simple.
The bonuses account for just 1/1000 of the bailout, yet they are the lightning rod du jour. Naturally, the Democrats are exploiting that, waging class warfare, and feigning outrage because they see it as a politically smart move.
But the fact is this AIG bonus thing is their baby.
In terms of accountability, remember that Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold both voted for the stimulus bill. They voted FOR the AIG bonuses.
The Dems have been in power for just two months and look how royally they've managed to screw up already.
Quite an accomplishment.
Read Lawrence Kudlow: The AIG Outrage
[A]s for the $165 million or so in AIG bonus payments, the Obama administration -- including the president, Treasury man Tim Geithner, and economic adviser Larry Summers -- knew all about them many months ago. They were undoubtedly informed of this during the White House transition.
So there’s no big surprise. Nobody should be shocked. But President Obama is doing his best play-acting ever. He knows full well that the nationwide outcry against federal bailouts and takeovers is only going to get worse on his watch. His poll numbers are already falling, and this AIG episode is going to pull them down more.
...And what is Treasury man Geithner’s role in all this? He appears to be the biggest bungler in what has become a massive bungling. My CNBC friend and colleague Charlie Gasparino thinks Geithner can’t survive this. I am inclined to agree.