Tuesday night at CGI. Saw Wolf Blizter on my way down to the press room. CNN has set up a makeshift news desk for the Situation Room in an open space by the balustrade at a bend in a flight of stairs. I didn’t wave and call out, “Wolfie, baby, how’s it hangin’?” as I usually do when Blitzer and I cross paths because he was on the air.
Wolfie Baby was hollering---why does he always holler? He must think he’s still in Bagdad and has to be heard over the shock and awe---he was hollering about Ron Suskind’s new book, Confidence Men , specifically about the parts dealing with the contention among the President’s economic team. Reports are that it was something of a boys’ club with women advisers having their ideas dismissed or ignored and feeling themselves marginalized, to put it mildly.
This isn’t much of surprise considering that Larry “You Girls Can’t Handle the Math” Summers was in charge. But it sounded to me like there was a positive note of glee in Biltzer’s hollering.
Blitzer’s supposed to be better than most, but he’s still a National Press Corps insider and the insiders are never happier than when they get to report gossip as if it’s news.
There is a news angle here, if a Democratic administration was deliberately and aggressively excluding women from the decision-making, especially if it explains why Christy Romer’s advice on making the stimulus much larger was rejected, although that seems to have been done by the political team. Summers has said he agreed with Romer.
But imagine if Suskind had had to write that while the debates over policy were heated, they were all about policy and the advisers’ genders didn’t play into it. The press would have to report on numbers and stuff. Talk about people who can’t handle the math.
Besides saving journalists and pundits from having to work to understand economics, after nearly three years this is the first news out of the administration that contains an element of scandal.
If only instead of just being an arrogant jerk, Larry Summers had had his eye out for red berets among the interns.
It’d be 1998 all over again!
Good times, good times.
Updated Friday. Although this post was meant as a swipe at the Insider Press Corps and Confidence Men was supposed to be incidental to my point, it’s always a bad move to write about a book when you haven’t read it. When I posted this the other day, I was going by what I’d heard and read about the “controversy” and because Tim Geithner’s and Larry Summers’ names kept coming up I assumed the issue was what went on within the economic team. But it appears to have been more general and it doesn’t reflect well on the President. See digby.
Ironically, Summers comes off looking a lot better here.