Partisan, not principled

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on January 15, 2009

I often use the construction in the headline to refer to The New York Times editorial page. Most notably, I refer to that page's double-standard when it came to the use of the filibuster against judicial nominees. When filibusters were threatened (not executed) against nominees of President Bill Clinton, the page decried the practice. When the shoe was on the other foot and Senate Democrats used the technique against President George W. Bush's nominees, the paper praised the move.

Today, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a paper that is in deep financial trouble and will likely be closed if it doesn't sell soon, demonstrates a similar double-standard when addressing Obama's nominee for Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner.

We get that people make mistakes. It happens because the tax code is too complicated. So dense that even Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House committee that writes tax laws, owes the government money for taxes he failed to pay.

There's another problem here: transparency. Obama's staff told senators about the tax problems on Dec. 5. We should have been clued in, say, Dec. 6. It should not come up hours before a Senate confirmation hearing -- not when it's clear that transparency is supposed to be the standard for this new administration. We can only imagine what we would have said had Geithner been a Bush appointee.

Yes, if Geithner had been nominated by a President-elect McCain, he certainly could've expected different treatment.

For the record, I would've bought the "taxes are too hard to do, I forgot" defense had it not turned out that Geithner had had to go through a special rigamarole and sign a special form to get these specific tax payments reimbursed to him by the IMF.

But it is unlikely that this will derail Geithner's nomination. First, Obama wants him and Democrats will give Obama what he wants. Second, Republicans figure that Geithner is a much better nominee than whoever would be Obama's second choice.

If the P-I is still wondering why they're in financial trouble, maybe this editorial would be something to consider.


They don't want states, SCOTUS (at least not one that protects individual rights) or Senate. They want direct national control--& they want corporations to help implement policies & shut down expression that threatens them. I just wish they knew the definition of "fascist"

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January 2009



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