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Izvestia's Sheryl Gay Stolberg teabags Larry Summers

Not pleasant for the onlooker. Just two examples of Stolberg's stenography on "thought leader" Summers:

Mr. Summers, as many in Washington know, did not arrive without baggage; his Harvard presidency ended in forced resignation in 2006 amid concerns over his brusque management style.

Airbrushing; in fact, untrue:

Last year, Summers sparked international outrage by speculating at an economics conference that innate differences between men and women might be one of the reasons women lag behind in science and math careers.

This led to an apology and a no-confidence vote in the faculty of arts and sciences in March of last year.

That's no more "brusque managment style" than Jon Favreau, drunk, groping an image of Obama's future Secretary of State is behavior that would make his mother proud. And Harvard* wasn't proud of Larry.

Back to Stolberg. Then there's this:

Mr. Obama has assigned [Summers and Geithner] to oversee the auto industry overhaul. ...

In his spare wood-paneled corner office on the second floor of the West Wing, he sometimes seems to be doing a hundred things at once: zipping off to Capitol Hill at a moment’s notice, brushing up on policy in matters as varied as health technology and digital television, holding midnight conference calls to noodle around ideas he does not have time to think about during the day.

[Summers] is also assembling a brain trust of hotshot economists to expand his reach into every realm of policy making, from housing to agriculture.

Sounds great, but isn't. Stolberg's oblivious "is assembling" obfuscates the danger that the slowness of the Obama team in making its personnel choices will put the implementation of their policies at risk; that's a big management problem. Shouldn't Summers be making sure the new hires are in place before "noodling around ideas?"

NOTE * Lovely detail in the FT (via Yves):

“He is a brilliant economist but not really very curious about how other disciplines function and what is at stake today in those disciplines,” she said. Ryan regularly sat in on tenure meetings with Summers. “He really tends to translate things into economic models and he would start to talk about his impressions of the field. Our visitors were astonished. He would ask the meaning of words that I thought were part of most people’s vocabulary.” “Syntax” was one example, she said.

Good one. To me, though, the real issue is how Summers could possibly have managed relationships with those around him so that things got to that point. I mean, faculty politics at Harvard is a snake pit, right? But surely Summers knew that going in, and the Village is, if anything worse (though they overlap). That doesn't augur well.

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nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

before he does to the U.S. what he did to Russia and wanted to do to the third world -- sacrifice the poor to the self-indugent whims of the rich.