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Cardiff Garcia Watches Tim Geithner Get His Inner Shrill One on...


FT Alphaville » Geithner: Nice committee, you guys are hilarious: Just a bit of Friday afternoon tomfoolery before we get back to our day job. This has made the rounds already (HT Joe at Clusterstock and see also the WSJ’s Washington Wire, for instance), but we couldn’t resist mentioning it. We remember a time when Geithner would sit in front of a Congressional committee and he actually gave a crap and would keep a straight face throughout, even when he was once accused of being the “chief of staff” of Goldman Sachs. Those were serious times and there were serious questions that he took seriously and tried to answer with a lot of seriousness…. But things have changed a bit lately, with Obama’s numbers climbing and the administration embracing a more confrontational approach, and Geithner knows he’ll be saying goodbye to all that after the election anyways. So yesterday, after pouring an extra dollop of Awesome Sauce on his lunch, he spoke to annoyed Republicans of the House Budget Committee about Obama’s 2013 budget proposal. And, well…. [T]he best roundup of his newfound feistiness in the hearing comes via The Hill. A few selections:

  • “You are right to say we are not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution. What we do know is we don’t like yours.”

  • “I am not minimizing long-term problems. I know them better than anybody,” he added.

  • Geithner said that if Republicans can come to the table and accept significant revenue increases, then progress on long-term problems can be made. Accepting the Obama budget, which has $1.5 trillion in new taxes, would be a first step, he said. “If we can’t agree on the next 10 years, why are you are so focused on the next 100 years or millennium?” he asked.

  • Geithner punched back claiming the GOP had just spent six months trying to renege on U.S. debt obligations by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. “If you call that leadership that is fine with me,” he said.

  • ”Wanna keep going?” Geithner said, smiling, at the end of his hearing.

Well, a bit of levity never hurts, we suppose. Now back to whatever it is that we’re supposed to be doing around here.

My view is that if more senior administration officials had treated the Republican members of congress with the contempt that they were so eager to earn that the press would have felt itself more able to tell Americans what has really been going on in Washington over the past three years. So from my perspective this is very nice to see...