Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brad Delong Makes Bid for Larry Summers' Job

Brad Delong is a smart, savvy economist and political animal.  I always enjoy his essays/posts on economic history, but I everything else he writes is tainted by his own ambition to return to Washington D.C. to serve a Democratic administration (in this case Obama's).

In his latest post, Brad gives a bit, wet sloppy kiss to Larry Summers' departing ass to prove that Brad is prepared to be exactly the same kind of Wall Street tool that his old boss Larry is.  Oh, Brad doesn't say he wants the job.  He even recommends others to fill the position.  But c'mon!  It is pretty clear that he wants the job, that he has taken on the mantle of Obama/Summers propagandist/apologist with the hope of getting something out of it.

The job of Assistant to the President for Economic Policy has two components:
  1. Making sure that the President hears and considers the arguments, and makes an informed decision.
  2. Making sure that everybody thinks that the president has heard and considered their arguments, and made an informed decision, and that they are valued and respected members of the team who are being given due influence and deference.--and also to make sure that the president hears everybody's arguments and makes an informed decision.
Larry is superb at figuring out how to present complicated arguments to make them comprehensible to non-experts, and at setting up frameworks for discussion and debate that kept policy discussions on track and organized. That is most of the job. That is (1). And at that Larry is the best in the world.
The other part, part (2)--making sure that everybody thinks that their point of view has been given a fair shake, and that they are valued and respected measures of the team? Well, given who Larry is, he far, far exceeded expectations. Only one public shouting fight in the halls of the West Wing in two years is... quite good, really.
In rebuttal, I offer two words (or one name): Brooksley Born.