When rumors surfaced that President-elect Obama would nominate Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary in late November, the stock market rallied 5% in a few hours. Since then, Geithner's role in formulating economic policy has been overshadowed by Larry Summers, and many have viewed the Treasury nominee as executor of policy and little more.

But even if Geithner is confirmed, new reports about his tax returns-which amazingly have yet to derail his nomination-make him an easy fall-guy when the Obama team inevitably hits some bottlenecks. Add to that Geithner's close association with the policies of current Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, and he has little political capital on either side of the aisle. Forbes CEO Steve Forbes said that Paulson has done more damage to the economy than "a terrorist attack." That analogy may be histrionic, but many regard TARPĀ  and Paulson as disasters.

As for Schapiro, her appointment was initially welcomed as providing continuity, much like Geithner's. But as more information about the regulatory failures and scandals of the current decade unfold, Schapiro looks more like a major part of the problem than a solution.

During her tenure at FINRA, it now is being revealed that Schapiro managed to miss a smorgasbord of brewing fraud, from the subprime arena to Bernard Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme/fraud. And she hardly ever pursued a case against the biggest Wall Street firms that paid the bulk of her seven-figure FINRA salary.

Remember that while outgoing President Bush enjoyed widespread popularity during his first 18 months, but by mid-2002 politicians of all stripes were calling for the head of SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt, as accounting, mutual fund and Wall Street research scandal exploded.

One candidate passed over who could resurface if either or both falter is former Vanguard CEO Jack Brennan, who retired one year ago and is reported to be seeking a new career. Brennan is a skilled investor advocate who isn't nearly as truculent as his predecessor, the legendary Jack Bogle. Though Brennan isn't a securities lawyer, he still would be a more logical alternative for Schapiro than he would be for Geithner.