This past Sunday, when National Economic Council director Larry Summers was asked if the end of his time in the White House was nigh, Summers told Jake Tapper that he served at the pleasure of the president, he wouldn't indulge in "hypotheticals" that were based on "personality stories" and that he wasn't going anywhere, et cetera. On the other hand, Josh Green of The Atlantic is convinced that Summers is leaving, "sooner rather than later, possibly before the mid-term elections, and if not then, soon afterward."
Green's take on the matter, he says, is one of the "angles" that emerges from his recent profile of Tim Geithner. Says Green: "I contend that Geithner, not Summers, has emerged as Obama's key adviser on financial matters, and that Summers isn't happy about it."
Of course, high up in the piece are mentions of those very "personality stories" that Summers waved off with Tapper, such as Alexis Simendinger's Summers-is-an-ego-monster-who-didn't-get-enough-golf-dates-with-the-president piece for the National Journal, and Jonathan Alter's forthcoming insider tome "The Promise". But eventually Green himself speaks his piece:
But what really makes me believe that Summers won't stick around is that all this Machiavellian intrigue has failed to win him what he wanted most: power. Summers gets plenty of presidential face time, but he's not the nexus of White House activity that everyone expected him to be, and that doesn't sit well according to the Summers associates I spoke with. In my Atlantic piece, I go into considerable detail about how Geithner, and not Summers, came to be the key person on financial matters. But it wasn't just finance. Energy and health care care were also routed elsewhere, to Carol Browner and Nancy Ann DeParle. The hand-holding of anxious lawmakers that became an integral part of the NEC job under Summers's mentor, Bob Rubin, is being handled by another economist, Mark Zandi, a former McCain adviser. Marc points out that Summers does "ride herd over the administration's infrastructure renewal program." But I'd wager that infrastructure renewal is not what Larry Summers pictured for himself when he arrived at the White House. The question in my mind is not why Summers would leave, but why he would stay?
Uhm, I don't know? Maybe to renew all that infrastructure?