Bloomberg Businessweek Offers a Big Gulp of Sugary Fizz for New Obama OMB Nominee
Anyone still picking up Bloomberg Businessweek must wonder if it should be called Bloomberg Democratweek. (They're equally awkward.)
The new issue carries an article headlined "Democrats Swoon for Obama's Choice for Budget Chief, Sylvia Mathews Burwell." In other words, "Check out the New OMB Head. She's Awesome Sauce." Hans Nichols begins with swooning from old Clinton hand Erskine Bowles:
In a 1997 Oval Office meeting with President Bill Clinton, Sylvia Mathews Burwell tried to discreetly pass a note to her boss, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Erskine Bowles, then Clinton’s chief of staff, caught her and stopped the meeting. If only he could persuade Burwell to be his deputy and pass him notes at meetings, he told Clinton, “everybody in Washington is going to think I’m as smart as Bob Rubin.” She took the job, Bowles recalls, “and that day my IQ went up about 100 points.”
Republicans are consulted once, just to underline the GOP isn’t expected to block her confirmation. “I don’t think she carries a lot of baggage,” said former Republican Senator John Sununu. “The question on most senators’ minds will be whether she has the clout to negotiate the tough spending deals ahead.” Nichols ended with more swooning:
In Washington, everyone is overpraised on their way in the door (and overtrashed on the way out), and the accolades Democrats are heaping on Burwell won’t be easy to live up to. During her previous stint in government, “she became an extremely skilled negotiator,” says former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta. “Everyone who works with her really admires her—not only her intelligence and depth of her knowledge on federal budget matters but also her organizational talents.” “She was a young star,” says Rivlin. Her ex-boss Bowles calls her “the single most competent person I’ve ever worked with.” No pressure.