December 7, 2004

THE WORLD'S ONLY SUPERPOWER IN WARTIME IS ONE THING, NOW COMES THE REAL CHALLENGE....:

What's in the cards for loyal Andy? (Thomas Oliphant, December 7, 2004, Boston Globe)

PRESIDENT BUSH'S emphasis on loyalty as opposed to stature has met its ultimate test. He has saved the biggest of his choices -- the anemic Treasury Department -- for last. The issue can be defined simply: Does he have the nerve to promote his chief of staff, Andrew Card, to the position Card appears to covet? And does he have the nerve to thumb his nose at the tut-tutters who would fault such an appointment on qualification grounds?

Hard to think offhand of a more inane notion than the guy who's run the entire country for four years is unqualified to run a department. Recall that when Jim Baker and Don Reagan swapped jobs the former Secretary found himself in over his head while the ex-Chief barely broke a sweat.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 7, 2004 10:48 AM
Comments

Is Oliphant the columnist also Oliphant the cartoonist? Anyone know the relationship there?

Posted by: Andrew X at December 7, 2004 11:22 AM

No, they're not the same, though ideologically they see eye-to-eye.

Baker did have a bit more of a financial resume than Card did going in, with his family's connections to Texas Commerce Bank. That doesn't mean Card would make a bad Treasury Secretary, only that those in the press or on Wall Street who wanted to throw around the "inexperienced" label had a tougher time doing it with Baker than they will trying to do it with Card.

Posted by: John at December 7, 2004 11:55 AM

John:

Family connections to a bank are "more" than running a $2.4 trillion government?

Posted by: oj at December 7, 2004 11:58 AM

No, they're completely separate Oliphants, as far as I know.

I quit reading Oliphant the columnist years ago. Back when Massachusetts had two Republican congressmen. Oliphant wrote a bizarre column, floridly praising one of them, while attacking the other as a "shadow seeker." It turned out that the former had voted for Clinton's budget while the latter had voted against it. Both had been told that a yes vote would get them some positive publicity in Boston media, while a no vote would get them a negative mention. Oliphant denied being the DNC's hatchet man, or indeed that this sort of thing ever happens. Then the congressman who was attacked, Peter Blute, produced the letter on White House stationery, with the threat.

I quit looking at the cartoonist Oliphant's work for no specific reason. He just stinks.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at December 7, 2004 12:04 PM

If Oliphant didn't look, speak and dress like a refugee from a road company version of an Oscar Wilde play, would anyone care about him at all?

Posted by: Bart at December 7, 2004 12:13 PM

OJ --

I'm just anticipating the line of attack on Card if Bush does nominate him for Treasury. When Baker moved over their, the TCB connection provided the Reagan Administration with a comeback that the media and Democrats couldn't brush off (though had the same thing happened a few years later -- when Texas Commerce's problems led them to be taken over by Chase -- the connection actually would have worked against Baker among the media and congressional Democrats).

Posted by: John at December 7, 2004 1:35 PM

John:

They're going to filibuster a Treasury Secretary? Never mind Andy Card? And say it's because he's unqualified? I can hardly wait to see which Senator thinks he knows more than a Chief of Staff.

Posted by: oj at December 7, 2004 1:40 PM

OJ --

You have more faith in the reasonableness of Senate Democrats than I do (Corzine will be the point man as he prepares to head out the door to the N.J. governor's race, and the media will portray him as a veteran sage of Wall Street as he trashes Card for his lack of experience).

Posted by: John at December 7, 2004 2:50 PM

oj,

Most of the Senate Democrats know they are more qualified than Andy Card. Don't you learn anything from TV? Republicans are stoopid poopy-heads. Just ask Maureen Dowd.

John,

Corzine wants to lay low and sneak out the back door and into Trenton. The last thing he needs is a focus on his activities at Goldman Sachs, about which he refused to make his tax returns public because it would violate the terms of his separation agreement. A 'What are you hiding, Jon?' campaign in the Congress and on Fox and in the Blogosphere, picked up by the good-government crowd would not be in his interest.

His decision to become the governor of a state with no statewide network TV tells us that he lacks national ambitions.

Posted by: Bart at December 9, 2004 4:28 PM
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