David Brooks leaps to the defense of Tim Geithner today, arguing that the treasury secretary's critics, who last spring were dismissing him as a hapless "Bambi in the headlights," were mostly wrong and he was mostly right. The system is now much healthier, TARP money is being repaid, and the administration's unwavering support for Geithner when he was taking flak from all sides looks impressive in retrospect, Brooks writes in the New York Times.
Events, he writes, have vindicated Geithner’s "basic policy instincts. The criticism back then was that Geithner was neither bold nor visionary. He was too cautious, too much the insider and bureaucrat." In fact, Geithner's pragmatic approach and ability to balance priorities made him flexible enough to deal with the crisis effectively, Brooks writes. He resisted calls to nationalize the banks, which would have been a costly mistake. "Geithner’s path was a middling one, but it helped the country muddle toward recovery."