This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," November 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: Coming up on "The Journal Editorial Report," stocks soar on the word of Obama's treasury pick. And who is Tim Geithner? And what would he bring to the table?
Plus, bailout fever. The big three aren't the only ones lining up for a piece of the pie.
And Mormons are taking the heat for the passage of California's Proposition 8. But who actually voted for the gay marriage ban?
"The Journal Editorial Report" begins right now.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to "The Journal Editorial Report." I'm Stuart Varney, in this week for Paul Gigot.
The Dow surged Friday on word that Barack Obama will tap New York Federal Reserve president, Tim Geithner, for treasury secretary. The near 500-point rally late in the day after an otherwise disastrous week on Wall Street was a clear sign of just how anxious the markets had been about the direction of the new administration's economic policy.
In today's weekly Democratic radio address, President-elect Obama said he aims to create 2.5 million jobs in a two-year plan to stimulate an economy facing, quote, "a crisis of historic proportions."
Joining the panel this week, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor Dan Henninger, assistant editorial page editor James Freeman, and opinionjournal.com columnist John Fund.
James, to you first. What does Tim Geithner's move to the Treasury tell us?
JAMES FREEMAN, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Certainly, it was a positive sign as interpreted by the markets on Friday. But basically, people are giving him credit for managing this last year of financial crisis. I think you have to ask whether he was, in part, contributing to it. Go back to March and Bear Stearns, that decision to bailout an investment bank, the government had never done that before. I think it created uncertainty in the market. It made all the other financial CEO's look to Washington instead of fixing their companies and...
VARNEY: You're critical of his track record?
FREEMAN: You can't look at the years of bailouts and say, boy, that worked as everybody hoped it would. Stocks have gotten crushed. It created uncertainty. I'm glad the market rallied. Obviously, if people take comfort that there's continuity here, that's great. But what we're getting is a lot more intervention in the markets. If you look at the last year, that's had a lot of destructive effects.
VARNEY: Dan, I see former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has a role in the administration. What is it? And what's it tell you?
DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Yes, Stuart, this is a somewhat surprising development. The reporting on the Geithner story noted that Larry Summers is going to join the White House as an economic adviser. Now, on the one hand summers lost out the Treasury job because of feminist opposition.
But if I'm Tim Geithner, I've got to be wondering if you have a former treasury secretary in the White House close to the president giving him advice on economic policy, who's the treasury secretary in fact, Larry summers or Tim Geithner.
I'd make a second point as well. Tim Geithner regards his years at the IMF in the middle of the 1990s when the United States bailed out Mexico and the Asian economies as one of his proudest moments. That was during the Clinton administration. Larry Summers was there as well. This is a red flag because the policy was devaluating currencies — devaluing currencies and raising taxes. Extremely interventionist. If we're going to return to the policies of the mid-1990s, I think we could have a problem.
VARNEY: But you could say there is bailout experience, and a great deal of it.
HENNINGER: You can put it that way for sure. Lots of bailouts.
VARNEY: John, let's move away from Treasury and move a bit more towards politics for a second. Hillary Clinton, we understand, on track to be the secretary of state. Can you make the case that Hillary at state is a plus for the Obama camp and that Bill Clinton is a plus for the Obama camp?