A friend reports chatter within the Obama administration that Tim Geithner was a bad choice for Treasury Secretary and that Quadrangle partner Steve Rattner (currently the car czar) was brought in partly to have a good relief pitcher on hand.
This doesn’t surprise us: We think that, in this crisis, Tim Geithner is clearly the wrong man for the job. But this is also only unconfirmed chatter at this point.
Would Steve Rattner be a better Treasury Secretary than Tim Geithner? Our immediate reaction is yes. Steve has worked on multiple sides of the fence–as a journalist, banker, and investor–and he has a lot more experience than Tim does.
Is he too close to Wall Street? Possibly. But Wall Street experience isn’t bad in this case: Knowing how the game works and what the special interests are is good. The key is to not have that as your only frame of reference–as, in our opinion, both Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner do.