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Why Praise Rubin? He Watched Citi Crumble

I figured that if any good came out of the recent battering the financial firms have taken, it would be a frank, critical look by the media at the CEOs hired to set things straight. Foolishness, thy name is optimism.

"Rubin to the Rescue" shouted a Drudge Report headline on a piece about Robert Rubin being named chairman of the reeling Citigroup (C) -- which did all its reeling, it bears mentioning, while Rubin stood watch as chairman of the executive committee.

This means that as Citigroup got involved in the actions and activities that are now helping it unspool, Rubin was the Tom Hagen, or consigliere, of the past two CEOs, sitting in the office next to Sandy Weill and Chuck Prince, giving his esteemed advice for $15 million a year and use of a jet.

It's good work if you can get it, but that a man who was part of the problem can be written up as white-hat savior -- even in this day of endless write-offs and fired CEOs -- is a prime example of just how sycophantic the business media is. And just how careful you, the savvy investor, must be.

Here's the thing: The Business Press Maven has historically been a big Rubin fan. Though I don't by nature or nurture like government figures of any political affiliation -- normally scared off by the personality disorders that got them into politics in the first place -- I do think Rubin served well as Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton. And there can be little disputing that, leading up to his tenure in Washington, Rubin had a brilliant career at Goldman Sachs.
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