Roland Burris is in Hell and David Axelrod is all over the map. It's been quite the holiday weekend!
Barack Obama's poll numbers are still sky-high, despite his potential nominees' tax issues, Commerce withdrawals and Republican carping about the stimulus plan, which, by the way, passed on Friday night. In the end, the Senate got a little tougher on executive pay packages than even Obama wanted, limiting bonuses to one-third of their capped salaries and requiring that the bonuses be given in stock that can't be sold until the government's investment has been repaid. Obama's planning on signing the thing tomorrow, so lots of people are readying their shovels even on a holiday when most people get the day off, even as David Axelrod is saying that the administration going to look for ways around the caps the Senate stuck in, despite the fact that most people think they sound pretty reasonable. Might as well test the firmness of those poll numbers, eh, David?
Axelrod was also dispatched to defend Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, whose unveiling of the new bank bailout plan caused stock markets worldwide to tumble, traders to hurl themselves from their multi-million dollar penthouse apartments and bankers to speculate about Geithner's parentage. Axelrod said: "They would have preferred that Secretary Geithner wheel a wheelbarrow down the center of that room with cash in it and say, ‘We're going to take care of all your problems.' That wasn't a practical answer." The worldwide financial community agreed that it had visions of restriction-less cash, but had pictured Geithner at the wheel of a cash-filled Hummer, not pushing a wheelbarrow like one of their lesser household staff. So they're basically going to lobby the fuck out of the Administration, raise the interest rates on your credit cards, and hope to dear God that whatever they do, no one lets Lindsey Graham nationalize them.
And while Obama was back in Chicago for Valentine's Day and looking forward to chilling with Stevie Wonder this week, his replacement, Roland Burris, was quite busy noisily digging himself a new hole to climb out of. Despite his earlier testimony, Governor Rod Blagojevich's people totally did hit him up for cash in exchange for the appointment but he totally didn't give them any, so it's supposed to be cool but it's not. Mostly because his defense is that his first answers were answers to questions he thought he was being asked, so if the questions had been what he thought they were, his answers were, like, totally honest.
In the meantime, Hugo Chavez has set the stage handily for his own re-election in Venezuela, we're not getting a freaking Car Czar because y'all wouldn't stop calling the position a Czar despite repeated entreaties, Axelrod thinks Dick Cheney can go fuck himself, and Hillary Clinton's off to do a series of official state visits in Asia and will be pressing China on human rights more than the valuation of their currency. That's some change we can believe in.