04/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why Can't Poor Tim Geithner Staff Up At Treasury? A Scandal That Calls For Diogenes?

OK, so the heat is on Poor Tim, that's clear. Richard Shelby, that pillar of political rectitude, is leading the charge of the vengeful to secure his resignation. Like Boss Limbaugh, they are happy to see America fail if it means Obama fails--and that's practically Shakespeare's definition of tragedy. For them, the Fall of Poor Tim would be the first step down the road to universal ruination. And they are fine with that.

But real tragedies cut in all directions. Here's an interesting question: why, after all this time, in this moment of desperate urgency, can't Poor Tim fill senior positions at the Treasury Department? Why is he all alone in that echoing building working with office assistants and maintenance people? Why no deputy secretary and no undersecretaries for domestic finance and international affairs?

Well, you no doubt remember that Poor Tim himself slipped past the vetting process with tax issues of his own, no more or less serious than the ones that caused Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer to slither off stage a few weeks later. Poor Tim just happened to be the first one caught, so he got by--as an "exception."

There has been a lot of chatter about how the unprecedented rigor of the vetting process is responsible for these delays. But the flip side of that is this: could it be that the elite class of American experts on the economy--in business, in government, in academia--does not contain one honest man or woman who can step up to the mark and simply say: I'm clean? No nanny hired off the books, no illegal aliens mowing my lawn, no taxable favors from this or that powerful sponsor or friend?

Is that possible? Is it possible that there is nobody to be found in those exalted precincts who can pass a real integrity test? I believe it is possible, and that's a real scandal.

Calling Diogenes.