James Surowiecki plays defense:

Geithner has been Treasury Secretary for little more than a month, yet the calls for his resignation are already coming fast and furious. More important, the attacks on him don’t, for the most part, take the form of reasoned disagreement. Instead, they assume, and assert, that if, say, Geithner is against nationalizing the banks, he is either stupid or corrupt, when it seems more likely that he’s just reached a different conclusion about the risks and rewards of nationalization.

(Henry Blodget’s call, today, for Geithner’s resignation ultimately boils down to saying that Geithner should go because he doesn’t agree with Blodget about the virtues of nationalization.) Treating disagreements over policy issues as prima facie evidence of evil intentions, or as a reason for firing, creates an environment for policymaking that’s toxic, and makes it harder to get good people to work in the public sector. And at a time when we need government more than ever, that’s just not a good thing.

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