Suddenly, no Summers. I was out on a research mission Wednesday, so the estimable Mike Konczal weighed in on the imminent departure of Larry Summers from the Obama administration. He focused on Summers’ motivations for leaving, all of which are well laid out. But here’s another question: Does anyone think it will make that big of a difference? It’s well established that the left loathes Summers , blaming him for much of what has and hasn’t happened with Obama so far. And obviously much depends on who replaces him. I have this strong sense, though, that if Summers didn’t exist, the administration would have to invent him—and that his influence will continue to be felt even where his name is no longer on a desk plate.
This gives “network sweeps” a whole new meaning. Zucker gone , Klein gone . Both seemed inevitable, if not overdue. In NBC’s case, the new owner obviously wanted to be able to pick its own person—one lumbering industrial giant (Comcast) replaces another (GE). At CNN, though, there’s probably more of an opportunity for Ken Jautz to make an impact, and faster, too. There’s a little more schedule flexibility, and any improvement in the numbers will make a real difference, whereas turning around NBC’s prime-time ratings seems like a multiyear task.
Gerbils are jumpin’. The Commerce Department’s reports for durable-goods orders—known to many fast-paced business journalists as “gerbils”—were surprisingly strong for August , once you strip out military stuff. More people have been buying computers; the July-August sales average is a strapping 33 percent higher than sales for the second quarter. The market likes what it sees , at least for the moment. Can someone please tell cranky Volcker ?