Friday, May 26, 2006

Heck of a job

If, as seems increasingly likely, George Bush appoints his Texas oil crony Don Evans as his new Treasury Secretary, the other profiles that you read will ignore his most important contribution to Bush's political career: his declaration, eagerly taken up by the punditocracy, that John Kerry "looks French." Ironically, Kerry has more orderly hair than Evans' future counterpart in Paris, Thierry Breton.

UPDATE 30 MAY: We were wrong. It's Henry "Hank" Paulson from Goldman Sachs. Two points. First, it's small potatoes by Bush standards, but the timing suggests that he came very close to lying at the Bush-Blair news conference last week:

Q ... Has Treasury Secretary Snow given you any indication that he intends to leave his job any time soon?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Secretary of Treasury Snow?

Q Has he given you any indication he intends to leave his job any time soon? And related to that, Americans -- macroeconomic numbers are indeed good, but many Americans are concerned, increasingly concerned about rising health care costs, costs of gasoline. And does that make it hard for your administration, Treasury Secretary Snow, and everyone else to continue to talk up the economy?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he's doing a fine job.

[further update -- Think Progress has more on the lie and the belated spin to rationalize it]

Second, in Snow's obsequious resignation speech, he used the same construct that Bush has used in the past, that the current huge budget deficit is not a "real deficit." Paulson's seemingly narrow definition of his job, focusing on "competitiveness" suggests that he will have no greater latitude to tell the truth about the US fiscal picture.

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