A friend of mine mentioned to me a few weeks ago that there was no way Geithner, for example, could be fired, since there is no way his replacement could be confirmed. Ezra talks about the same thing today:
The Treasury Department is a good case in point. This may be the most turbulent economy since the 1930s, but the agency tasked with navigating it is still waiting for a number of key nominees to be confirmed, including the undersecretary for international affairs and the undersecretary for domestic finance. Meanwhile, the boss himself, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is under tremendous criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. Some even want him fired.
But he can’t be fired, and it’s not because he’s doing a bang-up job. It’s because Obama can’t be confident that he could be smoothly replaced. The only thing worse than an unpopular Treasury secretary is no Treasury secretary at all.
The problem gets worse as it goes deeper. It’s not just that Geithner can’t be fired. It’s that he, in turn, can’t fire anybody. Treasury is understaffed, and there’s little reason to believe that the Senate will consider its nominees anytime soon. If Geithner is displeased with the performance of an appointed subordinate, he can’t ponder whether America would be better off with another individual in that office. Instead, he must decide whether America would be better off if that office were empty.
But, hey, Bobo says Republicans are powerless.