William D. Cohan profiles Larry Summers in the December issue of Vanity Fair and confirms what we’ve long known: the star economic counselor has been his own worst enemy.
The whole thing is worth a read, but here are some highlights:
- Iris Mack, a former derivatives specialist at the Harvard Management Company (responsible for investing Harvard’s endowment) claims that a betrayal by Summers lead to her termination. “I would say that there is 99.9999999999999999 per cent probability that Summers had a hand in my departure,” she wrote Cohan in an e-mail. (Summers replies he had nothing to do with Mack’s firing and could not have, because she did not work for or report to him. “[Mack’s] allegations were the subject of thorough internal and external reviews and found to be without merit,” says a Harvard spokesman.)
- Long-time critic Cornel West tells Cohan: “I think that both as Harvard president and now as head of the National Economic Council that with Summers you have this tension between braininess and a certain lack of long-term vision…and I really believe we need some long-term vision right now. The smartness and the brilliance, on the one hand, is fine, but I feel like you also have to treat others with a courtesy or a civility or even a decency at times.”
- Larry has not had the jobs he’s had because he’s misunderstood,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner tells Cohan. “He’s had them because some of the best leaders in our country understand quite well how much he has to offer.”
- Robert Rubin agrees, telling Cohan that “what [Obama] saw in Larry is what so many people have seen in Larry: not just a very bright guy, but a guy who sees many different dimensions of issues, sees the competing points of view… will keep sort of relentlessly searching to see if there’s some better way of looking at something.”
Read the full thing here.