Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Larry Summers - Um, no

Josh Marshall is wondering what the deal is with the rumors that Larry Summers is being considered for Treasury Secretary. I've only heard a couple of rumors, haven't dug terribly deep myself, but I think this is a trial balloon. Make that a trial lead balloon - I don't think anyone in the Obama camp is serious about this.

Summers brings nothing but baggage. My guess is that his name was leaked to pay lip service to the leftover wannabes from the Clinton administration that might have some kind of ideas about being first in line for plum new posts. Summers is a high-profile old Clinton hand. By floating his name, the Obama camp lets it be known that they are willing to consider Clinton folks - a nice gesture to the previous regime, to whom attention must occasionally be paid.

But the Obama camp should also know that Summers at Treasury is a dog that ain't gonna hunt, and Josh Marshall's reaction is perfectly indicative of the new reality on the ground. As a prominent blogger, Josh represents a significant constituency - liberal professionals who are old enough to have fond memories of the Clinton years, but who do not have any particular loyalties to Clinton or his or her allies. So when someone like Josh Marshall takes clear aim at Summers, the Obama people can tell the Clinton folks - "Sorry, he's a no-go - look at the reaction to him." Then the Obama camp clears out a Clinton holdover, making room for their people, without actually offending anyone in the Clinton camp. Good move, I think.

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