Why is Obama Ignoring the Lehman Scandal?


Mike Konczal thinks the Lehman Brothers accounting scandal is being wasted:

One thing that I’m finding surprising is that the President and the Treasury Secretary aren’t out there beating the hell out of this story. For financial reformers, this report should be like a “Get 2 Free Financial Reforms” monopoly-style card falling out of the sky. Why isn’t the administration thumping the hell out of this story?

I remember when Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield decided to raise rates 39% in the middle of a recession and Obama immediately got on the point that this is exactly why we need comprehensive health care reform. I remember thinking at the time “If a giant scandal blows up in the financial sector, I bet he’ll go equally as hard as to why this proves we need comprehensive financial reform.”

Oddly, that isn’t happening. Senator Ted Kaufman is giving a speech today about how this fraud calls for tougher regulation, which is fantastic. Why isn’t the administration?

Mike suggests that part of the answer is that Tim Geithner is compromised by his past presidency of the New York Fed. After all, he can hardly scream blue murder about Lehman’s bookkeeping outrages when he was the guy who was supposed to be overseeing their bookkeeping in the first place.

There’s probably something to this. Sellout Obama apologist that I am, though, I think there’s another, less sinister possibility: the White House wants all its ammunition focused on healthcare right now. They’ll spare a few words on other topics here and there, but basically this is not the week for anything to push healthcare reform off the front page. If it passes the House this weekend, however, financial reform probably moves to the top of the list when Obama’s overseas trip is over.

At least, I hope so.