The Target on Larry Summers' Back

Articles on personality conflicts do not end up getting great exposure in the New York Times by coincidence. Someone has to push the story. Someone has to give the story credibility. And someone has to get sources to talk.

That is why Larry Summers should be starting his own death watch. Jackie Calmes paints a picture of a sell out hindering the economic recovery of America. With unemployment numbers coming in even higher than what Obama said they’d be if his stimulus did not pass, someone must be made the scapegoat. Scapegoat, thy name is Larry.

Having established Larry Summers’ as the scapegoat, who in the White House is out to get him? There is only one rule you need to know: the character assassin never goes on the record with his name.

In the New York Times article, virtually all of Larry Summers’ co-workers went on record, some saying rather unflattering things. We have Austin Goolsbee, Christina Romer, David Axelrod, and Tim Geithner all named. Who in the White House possibly has the clout to get them all to go on record? The one person besides the President of the United States who is mentioned, but not quoted, in the article — Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of Staff. It is an interesting picture that Emanuel and his cohorts at the White House are painting:

People familiar with the deliberations say that Mr. Summers has been more populist than they expected for a right-of-center economist

In addition to Mr. Summers being argumentative and slowing progress on vital economic policies, he is also a sell out, his critics would have us believe. He is right-of-center, which the left will hate, but has "been more populist." Why?

That has given rise to speculation among colleagues, associates and banking representatives that Mr. Summers is trying to win the Fed seat.

So not only has the personal case been made that Summers will not become Fed Chief, but his lobbying for the job made him sell out his core values all the while maintaining disruptive arguments internally. Austin Goolsbee, who is out blaming the Bushies for GM, probably wants the job. Goolsbee is far to the left of Summers, will scare the mess out of Wall Street, and be much more in line with Obama and Emanuel. To get him there, though, the case must be made that Summers is to blame for the economy continuing to suffer despite the smiles of the One. Rahm needs him gone, but according to the Times:

As for Mr. Summers, even as top administration officials acknowledge the occasional strains among economic advisers, they say the president is thrilled with the job Mr. Summers is doing in his current post.

Just who do you think the "top administration officials" are? One is, I bet, named Rahm and, because "the President is thrilled" with Summers, Rahm must undermine that confidence.