The late great Don Knotts used to do a character called "the nervous man." You can see it on display in "The Ghost And Mr. Chicken" when Knotts addresses a Chamber Of Commerce picnic. The papers in his hands shake violently, his voice squeaks, and his every utterance begins with the phrase "let me clarify this." He's got nothing on Timothy Geithner.
Watching Geithner's jittery announcement of the new public private partnership that will solve the nation's banking ills was to be left with only one thought...this is the guy that won the argument??!! How exactly did Axelrod and Emmanuel try to make the alternate case that bankers should be held accountable...by assuming fetal positions and weeping?
Geithner of course was hailed by pundits as the indispensable man, whether or not he pays his taxes. It's the heralded Beltway tradition that once opposed Dan Rostenkowski going to jail on the grounds that he was the only one who understood how to jiggle the handle at the Ways and Means toilet.
For all we know, the banks may have used the first 350 billion in TARP money to give 700 executives $500,000,000 bonuses. But, as is all the rage, let us not look back. Let us look ahead to the fruits of the public private partnership, where the public will shell out and the Robert Rubins of the world will cash in.
Timothy Geithner trusts the people who write the fine print on your credit card statement. If Don Knotts was alive, he'd be nervous.