This reasonably lengthy profile from Portfolio, partly critical, partly sympathetic, is one of the best pieces I've seen on TreasSec Tim Geithner, who seems to have Obama's confidence but not much of anybody else's. The problem, as author Gary Weiss sees it, is that Geithner is a career bureaucrat, and although he is unbdoubtedly smart and certainly climbed through the bureaucratic ranks in impressive fashion, attracting mentors and suporters along the way. But he still has the instincts of a bureaucrat rather than a creative thinker or a leader -- conditioned by a system in which failure can be punished but success not so much, except by promotion, eventually to one's level of incompetence, where the way to survive is to keep your head down and avoid too much responsibility.
The problem is deeper than either Geithner or Weiss begins to grasp, of course. Unless you understand the importance of Federal Reserve open-handedness and political promotion of home-ownership to people who weren't financially or psychologically ready for it (dammit, there's no shame in being a renter), as Thomas Wood and John Taylor among others (Tom Sowell has a new book out I haven't read yet) do, you're not going to think in the kinds of terms that might actually lead to policies that would prevent a future crisis. The notion that government simply made a few mistakes around the edges and the real problem is private greed leads to more hair of the dog that bit you -- more bailouts and backstopping of too-big-to-fail institutions that should have been allowed to fail -- or go through Chapter 11 -- long ago. Such a policy is probably close to unthinkable in a Democratic administration anyway.