Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch is opening up the Geithner debate with a strong statement of support for Geithner. Hatch is repeating an argument he has used in the Senate Finance Committee — that a president ought to be able to get the appointees he wants, providing they are not incompetent or corrupt. Geithner is not incompetent or corrupt, Hatch said, so therefore he should be confirmed. As for Geithner’s role in TARP, which critics have pointed out quite often, Hatch said, “Mr. Geithner’s realization that mistakes have occurred makes him more valuable.” Finally, Hatch said that, given the current economic crisis, filling the post of Treasury Secretary cannot wait even one more day, and “rejecting this nominee would lead to a delay of weeks in getting our new executive branch economic team focused on the problems at hand.”
Hatch closed by saying that there is a double standard for nominations, and Geithner is benefiting from it. If a Republican nominee had Geithner’s tax record, Hatch said, he or she would have been attacked by Democrats and the media, and “the president would have had no choice other than to withdraw the nomination.” “A Republican nominee in Mr. Geithner’s position would not have even gotten a committee vote,” Hatch said.