Timothy Geithner heads to CFR
Former Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner will join the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as a distinguished fellow, the think tank has announced.
Geithner served as treasury secretary for President Obama's entire first term, playing a key role in formulating U.S. domestic and international economic policy, including being credited with what some considered to be controversial measures to avert economic collapse.
"Both at Treasury and at the New York Federal Reserve, Tim was a tireless, creative, and responsible custodian of the public trust. His coming to CFR only strengthens our capacity to produce thoughtful analysis of issues at the intersection of economic, political, and strategic developments," said CFR President Richard N. Haass in a statement.
Geithner stepped down from the Obama administration Jan. 25. He previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003 and 2009, worked at the International Monetary Fund. He was a CFR senior fellow in 2001, and also worked for Kissinger Associates, Inc.
Geithner begins his post later this month in CFR's New York headquarters.
Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing: Holding firm on Iraq, beating an aggressive campaign
Chuck Hagel's charm offensive before confirmation hearing: Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator tapped to become the next secretary of defense, has gone on a charm offensive in the lead-up to his confirmation hearing on Thursday, attempting to beat back a well-funded, aggressive campaign that has sought to depict him as an anti-Israel, homophobic politician eager to gut the Pentagon's budget. Hagel's pushback during meetings with more than 50 senators and leaders of special interest groups this month appears to have been effective, said an official helping him prepare for the hearing. (Washington Post)
Chuck Hagel should stand by Iraq opposition: "When former Senator Chuck Hagel appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, he will likely be asked his views on the Iraq war. While Hagel voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq, he did so with stated reservations, cautioning his Senate colleagues, 'How many of us really know and understand much about Iraq, the country, the history, the people, the role in the Arab world? I approach the issue of post-Saddam Iraq and the future of democracy and stability in the Middle East with more caution, realism, and a bit more humility,'" write CAP's Larry Korb and Matt Duss. (Politico)
Chuck Hagel is not controversial: "I believed—and still believe—that Hagel will be a good secretary of defense, because he seems generally disinclined to support foolish wars. But he is no peacenik and he's no radical. He may question assumptions here and there, or give President Obama honest advice that he might not want to hear. But the odds are long against Chuck Hagel being a truly transformative SecDef," writes Cato's Chris Preble. (Cato)
5 Senators to watch in Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing. (Washington Post)
Brookings' E.J. Dionne: The new politics of immigration. (Washington Post)
CFR's Amity Shlaes: In Davos or in combat, give women what they earn. (Bloomberg)
Pro choice and pro life: "Since abortion is a matter of life and death, politics ought to be secondary when we reflect on the issue. But political considerations aren't trivial. Over the last 20 years, Democrats have captured the middle ground on abortion. Bill Clinton approximated the public mood by declaring that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare." Republicans, on the other hand, have found themselves embroiled in an awkward debate about whether rape victims should be required to carry their pregnancies to term. This asymmetry has been around as long as Roe v. Wade. But why should conservatives let Roe define them?" asks Manhattan Institute's Avik Roy. (National Review)
Brookings' Alfred Engelberg: The drug patent's real challenge. (Politico)
Immigration reform: Obama's push, Marco Rubio's gamble and new legislation
Obama makes his immigration push: President Obama on Tuesday put the weight of his administration behind efforts to pass legislation allowing many of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants to earn citizenship, seeking to build on a rapidly shifting political consensus around the issue. Obama dedicated the first trip of his second term to calling for an overhaul of immigration laws, making clear that it is one of his top domestic priorities. (Washington Post)
Marco Rubio's big immigration gamble: "Of the octet of members that comprise the "Gang of 8 pushing for a comprehensive immigration reform bill, none has more to gain (or lose) than Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. Rubio is widely seen as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate and touching immigration, which remains a, well, touchy subject among the GOP rank and file, brings real risk with it." (Washington Post)
A critical moment for immigration reform: "As America seeks to speed up economic growth, immigration reform should be part of its growth agenda. It's welcome news that President Obama announced his support for reform on Tuesday in Las Vegas. Over the past two years, he has issued a series of executive orders overriding existing law, instead of putting his weight behind new legislation," writes Manhattan Institute's Diana Furchtgott-Roth. (Washington Examiner)
Chuck Hagel, a leader on whom we can all rely: "Some people are seeking to block Chuck Hagel's confirmation as defense secretary on the basis that he is out of the mainstream on national security policy and intolerant of gays. These charges don't stand up to either his public record or his personal relationships. As executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, where Hagel is chairman, I have had the privilege to work with the former senator since 2009. In addition to being a centrist policy wonk, I am gay," writes Atlantic Council executive vice president Damon Wilson. (Washington Post)
Room for Debate asks: Much of the controversy over Senator Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense involves positions he took in the past — on Israel, on gays in the military, on Iran, on Iraq. But what questions does this former Republican congressman from Nebraska need to be asked about the future direction of the military? (New York Times)
The debt deniers' fantasy: "It's not quite on a par with 9/11 truthers or Obama birthers, but recently a number of liberal commentators have descended into the fever swamps of denialism by rejecting the most basic facts about our debt and deficit. Mind you, they are not arguing about the best policies to reduce the debt — tax hikes vs. spending cuts — but actually denying that the problem exists at all," writes Cato's Michael Tanner. (National Review)
CAP's Anne Johnson: College students in shifting middle. (Politico)
Michigan governor backs off ‘unfair' electoral rigging plan: ‘I don't think this is the right time.' (ThinkProgress)
Manhattan Institute's Nicole Gelinas: Michael Bloomberg's end times. (New York Post)
AEI's Jonah Goldberg: Soldier-girl blues. (National Review)
From the File Cabinet: When Slate lived at AEI
When Judge Robert Bork died last month, conservatives and liberals alike told stories of their interactions with the conservative jurist. And on that week's popular Slate Political Gabfest podcast, Slate editor David Plotz shared his. "You know, Slate used to have its office in the American Enterprise Institute where Bork made his home in his latter years, and his office was down the hall from Slate's," Plotz said.
Plotz said that one might think Bork's "scraggly beard and vicious demeanor hide a warm-hearted [man]," but that would be wrong. "The guy exuded jerk It was just very unpleasant to be in his presence," said Plotz. "Maybe he was lovely to his family, I don't know."
But Slate? At AEI?
"Don't even ask why Slate was housed in the American Enterprise Institute -- it's a long story," Plotz said.
But it was too intriguing not to ask.
In 1996, Slate needed space for its Washington operations (Slate was originally headquartered in Seattle as a Microsoft project under the MSN banner). A deal was brokered in 1996 by AEI fellow Herb Stein, who was writing the "It Seems to Me" column for the Web site.
Plotz and Slate colleague Jodie Allen thought it was a perfect arrangement. It was in a good location at 17th and M streets NW; they had space to grow; and access to the famed AEI cafeteria was "out of this world," as Plotz put it.
But within a few years, the culture clash between Slate and AEI would be too much for the think tank.
"It was really three strikes before they asked us to leave," said Plotz.
While AEI scholars donned conservatively proper attire even in the summer months, Slate staff wore shorts and sandals -- even to dining room. It didn't help that once in the dining room, former Slater Timothy Noah's "disruptively loud laugh" drew much attention and caused theologian-diplomat Michael Novak to complain to executive vice president David Gerson. Strike two.
Strike three? Plotz firmly plants this one on Noah, too. Not once, but twice Noah named AEI fellow (and wife of then-vice president Dick Cheney) Lynne Cheney in his "Whopper [read: "Lie"] of the Week" column. In Noah's defense, Plotz said, Cheney's treatment was justified.
Nonetheless, AEI made it clear it was time for Slate to go, even if it wasn't in a "you've got 24 hours to get your stuff out of here" kind of eviction.
No hard feelings from Slate, though.
"It just wasn't a very good cultural fit," said Plotz. "We were not very good tenants, and AEI treated us with nothing but great generosity."
Is there a lesson in here for the American Prospect and the American Conservative?
Immigration reform: Senators and Obama duel, not the GOP's silver bullet and more
Obama to announce his immigration reform plan, said to be more liberal than Senate effort: "The Obama administration has developed its own proposals for immigration reform that are more liberal than a separate bipartisan effort in the Senate, including a quicker path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, people with knowledge of the proposals said. President Obama is expected to provide some details of the White House plans during a Tuesday appearance in Las Vegas, where he will call for broad changes to the nation's immigration laws. The speech will kick off a public push by the administration in support of the broadest overhaul of immigration law in nearly three decades. (Washington Post)
Why immigration reform is not a cure-all for the GOP: "For starters, while immigration is an oft-covered topic, it's not the top issue on Latino voters' priority list. In a pre-election Pew Hispanic Center survey released last fall, a majority of Hispanic voters said education, health care and jobs/the economy were "extremely important" to them. But only 34 percent said the same about immigration." (Washington Post)
Bipartisan group of senators unveil immigration reform plan. (Washington Post)
Why Republicans should ignore Obama: "Conservatives need to get over President Barack Obama. It's time to adjust to a world in which he is never going to be on the ballot again. That's going to require a big change in the psychology of Republicans both in Washington and around the country. They disagree with Obama's policies. They see in his personality narcissism untempered by warmth. They find his lectures irritating, and resent his soft press coverage," writes AEI's Ramesh Ponnuru. (Bloomberg)
Cato's Gene Healy: Obama's ‘second term blues' have begun. (Washington Examiner)
Room for Debate asks: The British prime minister has called for a referendum on leaving the European Union. The president of Poland has suggested delaying until 2015 any decision about adopting the euro. When Britain, an "active member" of the union, and Poland, one of the newest member states, are both debating their involvement, it may be time to ask: Should the European Union continue as a monetary union, a political bloc, or neither? What are the obstacles to staying together, and what would be the obstacles to dissolving? (New York Times)
Hoover's Victor Davis Hanson: The age of tokenism (National Review)
Cato's Andrew Coulson: The real problems with highly regulated "school choice." (Cato)