An even bigger problem though is that by focusing so heavily on Summers, the president has inadvertently narrowed the field down to only two candidates: Larry Summers and Janet Yellen.
The widening circle applauding megamillionaire Larry Summers -- of Harvard University, Washington, D.C. and Wall Street -- agrees on one word to describe the colossal failure -- Brilliant!
A Fed Chair who made it her mission to restore effective supervision would not choose "boring," "dull," or "bureaucratic" people. She would be putting a giant bull's-eye on her back and would ensure that she never have another boring day.
"I wouldn't want Larry Summers to mow my yard." That little gem was uttered Monday by Senator Pat Roberts in what has to be a fight the White House really doesn't want to have right now.
Many people make the error of believing that the banksters are dull, humorless stiffs in gray suits. Many banksters have a finely developed sense of irony and utter contempt for financial reporters' intelligence and independence.
"Could be student loans, bonds, online education, maybe even housing again," Pinske says. "The point is, it will most likely start with Wall Street, with large banks, and if we want that to happen, we need a guy to go easy on Wall Street again. And that guy is Larry Summers."
Summers had ample opportunity in his prior jobs to demonstrate a commitment to rein in the financial sector. All the evidence shows he pushed in the opposite direction. The Obama administration's effort to portray him as the frustrated regulator should not be taken seriously.
When the great actor Matt Damon recently said that President Obama "broke up with me," he hit the jackpot of telling political truth in the eyes of many progressive Democrats and independents.
Where these people will go after government is hard to predict, but the odds are pretty high that they will return to their corporate, and highly profitable, roots.
Larry Summers' record in office is littered with bad decisions. We are now paying the price for his favoring of Wall Street over working families.
The news in the last couple of weeks has had endless references to two people who we have been repeatedly told are brilliant: Larry Summers and Jeff Bezos. The paeans to the genius of both men say a great deal about the quality of public debate in elite circles.
These guys aren't trying to copy what Harvard does. Minerva won't have a physical campus and won't have a library. Students will take their courses in six or seven different cities, moving every six months or so with a cohort of about 150 peers: San Francisco, London, Singapore.
We have just had a near-death experience in the world economy thanks to the unprincipled behavior on Wall Street. You might think that financial integrity would therefore loom large in the selection of the new Fed Chair.
Our country could implode and this crowd would still desert their posts to take their paid vacations -- on our dime. Who else among us hard-working, struggling Americans receives five weeks off with pay these days?
Is Larry Summers smart? Maybe, given that he became one of the youngest tenured professors at Harvard at age 28. But so what?
In a world where D.C. politics have ground to a dysfunctional halt, where the Euro continues to struggle on the precipice of failure, and where the growth rate of China is grinding downward, the head of the Fed has become a figure of global importance.