Sunday, January 11, 2004

Now his word is gold 

I haven't read Paul O'Neill's book. I won't read Paul O'Neill's book. I can tell you, however, that a lot of other people who aren't going to read that book are going to tell us that we should listen to what Paul O'Neill says, now that he's saying negative things about Bush. Well, let's roll the tape back to when he was Treasury Secretary. I recall that Slate had a regular feature called "The O'Neill Death Watch". This is what Timothy Noah said about O'Neill:

The general dissatisfaction with O'Neill has reached some sort of crescendo in the aftermath of his highly public humiliation at the hands of the Senate Finance Committee, which called in O'Neill's Democratic predecessor, Robert Rubin, to join Alan Greenspan last week in a closed-door briefing to which O'Neill wasn't invited. Ouch, babe! A few days later, the Wall Street Journal, a publication whose news staff is usually reluctant to alienate any sitting Treasury secretary, said on its front page that O'Neill is "often criticized for lacking sufficient credibility with financial markets." Double ouch! Today, the New York Times follows up with a story by Joseph Kahn arguing that O'Neill has little influence over the Bush administration's economic policy (a point the Journal piece, which ran yesterday, also argued). This is a highly unusual, some would say untenable, situation for a Treasury secretary to find himself in.
The criticism is not exclusive to Noah. He noted that both National Review and the New Republic called for his resignation, and that neither the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal were high on him. It seemed that while he was working for Bush, no one had a good word for him. I wonder what's changed since then?
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