Obama can’t get 50 votes for Bernanke?

posted at 12:55 pm on January 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Call it a moment of rare bipartisanship on Capitol Hill — and a deeply troublesome sign for Barack Obama’s ability to get anything done in Congress this year.  Just a few weeks removed from being hailed as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Ben Bernanke can’t get a vote for confirmation in another term as Fed chair — and if he did, he may not like the results:

Amidst the voter anger at Wall Street and Washington, D.C., ABC News has learned that the Senate Democratic leadership isn’t sure there are enough votes to re-confirm Ben Bernanke for another term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. …

“The American people are disgusted with the greed and recklessness of Wall Street,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in an interview with The Associated Press last month. “People are asking, ‘Why didn’t the Fed intervene at the appropriate time to stop the casino-type activities of large financial companies?’”

Sanders, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., have all put holds on Bernanke’s nomination, requiring 60 votes to proceed to a vote.

Bernanke got a less-than-rousing endorsement from the Senate Banking Committee in December as Time feted him, getting a 16-7 approval for a floor vote in the Senate.  While a filibuster could get applied to Bernanke, that doesn’t appear to be what’s worrying Reid.  He’s more worried about a revolt on his Left than obstructionism on the Right:

Roll Call reported this week that at the Senate Democratic caucus meeting on Wednesday, “according to senators, liberals spoke out against confirming Bernanke for a second term. Those liberals tried to make the case that the White House needs to put in place fresh economic advisers to focus on ‘Main Street’ issues like unemployment rather than Wall Street concerns. Moderates were more reserved, senators said, but have similarly withheld their support for Bernanke.”

Bernanke doesn’t deserve the laudatory credit given him by Time, but he doesn’t deserve all of the blame heaped on him by Senate Democrats.  In fact, a good deal of that blame belongs squarely on their shoulders, first for the conditions that led to the collapse and the policies adopted afterward.  After all, it wasn’t Bernanke or his predecessor that demanded and then incentivized the subprime loan market to get people into homes they couldn’t afford.  Bernanke didn’t tell Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy up all those loans and create securities from bad mortgages that wound up as crypto-junk bonds with the patina of federal guarantees.  That blame falls squarely on Congresses from 1998 until 2007.

It appears that this is more than just Democrats playing CYA by making Bernanke the scapegoat.  After losing the ultra-safe Massachusetts seat, they’re worried about the perception that they wasted a full year playing around with a health-care overhaul that no one likes while ignoring the fact that over 3.4 million jobs got incinerated.  Congress and the White House both would like to pivot to economic policy, but neither seems capable of actually showing leadership on the agenda.  Making Bernanke and Obama sweat for and through a confirmation vote sends a very clear message that in an election year, Democrats have to be seen as doing something — anything — on jobs.

If Obama can’t get 50 votes for Bernanke, he’s going to find 2010 a difficult slog indeed.  But on the agenda-leadership front, Congressional Democrats would help themselves most by kicking Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer from their leadership positions and giving the gavel to someone who can bring the agenda back to a centrist position that could win them some Republican support — and political cover.

Update: Five Democrats have already publicly lined up against Bernanke, including Barbara Boxer — who voted for TARP:

Only five Democrats have publicly said they will oppose the newly in-jeopardy re-nomination of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. But word late this morning that Sen. Barbara Boxer is among them must be particularly troubling for Bernanke supporters.

Boxer is the first Democrat to oppose Bernanke who voted in favor of the Wall Street bailout – TARP – which he engineered late in 2008. …

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, is Bernanke’s chief antagonist in the Senate and was also the most vocal TARP opponent among the Democratic caucus.

Democratic Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Jeff Merkley of Oregon have also indicated they will vote against him. Merkley was the lone Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee to oppose Bernanke’s nomination when the panel voted in December.

Sens. Russ Feingold and Barbara Boxer made their announcements this morning.

Who would get the nod if Bernanke fails?  Marc Ambinder suggested Larry Summers on his Twitter feed.  What about Tim Geithner, the former NY Fed chief?


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I dont think Larry Summers can stay awake long enough to run the Fed.

becki51758 on January 22, 2010 at 1:43 PM

The correct choice to replace Ben Bernanke is Paul Volcker. (In case you’re wondering, Volcker is younger than Alan Greenspan.)

Bernanke absolutely must not be re-appointed as Fed chair, or to any government position, for that matter.

Emperor Norton on January 22, 2010 at 1:43 PM

The problem is that the price of any commodity is always flexible. If the US were to set the price of the dollar at $1000/oz, then whenever the world price went above that mark, foreigners would rush to the treasury to convert their dollars into gold. If it went below, they would try to do the opposite. Additionally, you need to print more money as the GDP expands. If you don’t, you run the risk of deflation. Before you could print more money, the govt would have to somehow acquire an equivalent amount of gold, or whatever precious metal.

Tying the dollar to a precious metal, or even to a basket of precious metals solves one problem at the cost of several new problems.

MarkTheGreat on January 22, 2010 at 1:32 PM

That’s kind of the point, actually. If the price of the backing commodity goes up, foreign money goes into the exchange to trade for dollars, which then get used to buy the commodity from the mint. This drives the value of the dollar up, pushing it above the commodity value. If there is a demand for more paper money as GDP expands, then the value of paper money goes up relative to the commodity, and the mint prints money to buy more (it can even make a profit doing this).
Monetary deflation, though I have to admit to thinking it was bad for a long time, serves the purpose of clearing out the dead wood, inefficient companies in the economy. It is the very fact that we have been monkeying around with the money supply to save that dead wood that has caused the slump that followed the necessary correction when the bubble burst.

What having a hard backing to the currency prevents is the kind of inflationary games that governments play when they can control the monetary supply. Spreading it out into a basket of assets mitigates the effect individual commodity fluctuations have on the money supply.

Count to 10 on January 22, 2010 at 1:45 PM

Folks you all need to remember that a certain Senator from CT is retiring. Could Chris Dodd be the Next Fed Chairman?? You all must admit he has plenty of experience in shady deals so he would fit right in with the Obie crew.

Dire Straits on January 22, 2010 at 1:41 PM

I doubt it. I think there has been a profound change in DC that will become obvious over the next several weeks. I believe Obama lost a lot of power this week and will increasingly find it difficult to get anything done in legislation and/or nominations. The same holds true for Harry and Nancy. In the old days of the USSR, these three would disappear and never be heard from again after this week’s debacle.

PatMac on January 22, 2010 at 1:47 PM

jp on January 22, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Stability of the currency was why the FED was started. Just Curious how has that worked out in the last 97 years compared to the stability of the currency from say 1780 to 1913.

chemman on January 22, 2010 at 1:49 PM

I’m seeing a lot of joking at the expense of Team Obama but I’m not seeing any viable suggestions to replace Bernanke. And this is the biggest problem of the American Right these days: It’s gotten very good at obstructing the Democrats’ agenda, but it’s not terribly productive in offering practical answers to current problems. Which is fine while you are in the minority, but a serious problem if you want to regain the majority and start governing or legislating.

Just something to think about between now and November.

factoid on January 22, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Well, how about you think about this.

Would this administration even consider suggestions from people who are not radical Chicago street thugs? Of course they wouldn’t. Somebody above suggested Steve Forbes and that is an excellent suggestion- far better than yet another gig for Larry Summers. The American right could suggest candidates to chair the Fed but we both know that it wouldn’t mean a thing with the toxic partisanship of the filthy liar in the White House and his corrupt party leaders in Congress.

Put another way, Obama is more likely to listen to the architects of this economic downturn, Dodd and Frank, than he is to any reasoned voice with an R behind their names. And, for the record, how can the right obstruct when the Dems never include them in the discussions. The American people got mad about that- not that somebody like you sees anything wrong with such partisanship.

highhopes on January 22, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Golden-Fetters
jp on January 22, 2010 at 1:14 PM

From that:

We know now that recovery began as soon as a country quit gold: Britain in 1931, the US in 1933, Germany tragically too late to avert the Nazi seizure of power.

I don’t know where he is getting this. There was no recovery until the war ended in the ’40s, and it had a lot more to do with the end of FDR’s constant fidgeting with economic regulation than it had to do with the money supply.

Count to 10 on January 22, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Larry Summers has been angling to be Fed chief since he was in college. Seriously.

rockmom on January 22, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Stability of the currency was why the FED was started. Just Curious how has that worked out in the last 97 years compared to the stability of the currency from say 1780 to 1913.

chemman on January 22, 2010 at 1:49 PM

that was the stated purpose..but I think the real purpose was just to get more power for the government…it was the progressive era, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, etc…the time of the income tax.

right4life on January 22, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Who would get the nod if Bernanke fails? Marc Ambinder suggested Larry Summers on his Twitter feed. What about Tim Geithner, the former NY Fed chief?

You’re joking about Geithner, right? This is his life: He fails utterly and completely, then he gets a promotion.

Not Summers either. I’m with Denninger and many others. We need Volker.

Rae on January 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM

If It was me I would nominate Steve Forbes. One of the brightest economic minds there is. Larry Summers could not even tie Steve Forbes shoes. I know it maybe painful for a while but Forbes is right about interest rates need to go up. People need to be able to make some money on their money in banks. I am sure that Team Obie will throw this in the garbage can.

Dire Straits on January 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Congress and the White House both would like to pivot to economic policy, but neither seems capable of actually showing leadership on the agenda.

THEY HAVE NO “LEADERSHIP” ABILITIES.

Next on the chopping block will be Pelosi and Reid.

MORE POPCORN!!

GarandFan on January 22, 2010 at 1:56 PM

That blame falls squarely on Congresses from 1998 until 2007.

Yup, so this is a CYA action. Babs is creating a record for her upcoming contested election.

PattyJ on January 22, 2010 at 1:57 PM

Would this administration even consider suggestions from people who are not radical Chicago street thugs? Of course they wouldn’t. Somebody above suggested Steve Forbes and that is an excellent suggestion- far better than yet another gig for Larry Summers. The American right could suggest candidates to chair the Fed but we both know that it wouldn’t mean a thing with the toxic partisanship of the filthy liar in the White House and his corrupt party leaders in Congress.

Put another way, Obama is more likely to listen to the architects of this economic downturn, Dodd and Frank, than he is to any reasoned voice with an R behind their names. And, for the record, how can the right obstruct when the Dems never include them in the discussions. The American people got mad about that- not that somebody like you sees anything wrong with such partisanship.

highhopes on January 22, 2010 at 1:53 PM

+ 1000 Thread Winner!!! Excellent Post!

Dire Straits on January 22, 2010 at 1:58 PM

In the old days of the USSR, these three would disappear and never be heard from again after this week’s debacle.

PatMac on January 22, 2010 at 1:47 PM

That’s hilarious.

Is Putin open to work on a temporary retainer?

beatcanvas on January 22, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Which is fine while you are in the minority, but a serious problem if you want to regain the majority and start governing or legislating.

Just something to think about between now and November.

factoid on January 22, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Given the loss of Ted’s seat in MA, two governors (NJ and VA), various Democrat Senators and Representatives “retiring”, the free-fall of support for every major item on the liberal agenda using the strategy you criticize, why in the hell would we change it?

Thanks for the advice, but, no thanks. I think we’ve got it covered.

BobMbx on January 22, 2010 at 1:59 PM

I doubt it. I think there has been a profound change in DC that will become obvious over the next several weeks.

PatMac on January 22, 2010 at 1:47 PM

The Fed Chairman has to be somebody who will restore trust and faith in the American monetary system. That’s why I think Larry Summers is an absurd suggestion. He may be brilliant (though I’ve never seen why he is called that) but he’s one of the usual suspects at a time when bold new leadership is required.

Bernanke should do the honorable thing and proffer his resignation since his inability to muster enough support in the Senate is almost unheard of for such an appointment. Obama needs to find a moderate candidate who will change the face of the Fed after this past year when it has been so damaged by the actions of this administration and Congress.

highhopes on January 22, 2010 at 1:59 PM

I LOVE those devil horns on the Time magazine cover !!!!!

LODGE4 on January 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Stability of the currency was why the FED was started. Just Curious how has that worked out in the last 97 years compared to the stability of the currency from say 1780 to 1913.
chemman on January 22, 2010 at 1:49 PM

The highest ever rate of inflation in the US was in the early 1860s: 25% or so. Second highest: 1917. Third highest: 1812, tied with the early 1940s. Perhaps wars (and the corresponding large-scale public spending) more then central banks are to blame?

factoid on January 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Who would get the nod if Bernanke fails? Marc Ambinder suggested Larry Summers on his Twitter feed. What about Tim Geithner, the former NY Fed chief?

Need clarification on the exit question:

Is the question “Who would be a good pick?” or is it “Who would Obama pick”.

There’s a real and big difference between the two, with no chance of overlap.

BobMbx on January 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM

I am not a fan of Bernanke but good grief, I tremble at the thought of some liberal approved alternative getting the gig.

Daemonocracy on January 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM

The highest ever rate of inflation in the US was in the early 1860s: 25% or so. Second highest: 1917. Third highest: 1812, tied with the early 1940s. Perhaps wars (and the corresponding large-scale public spending) more then central banks are to blame?

factoid on January 22, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Interesting. Although, if the value was tied to gold or silver in 1812 and 1917, wouldn’t that mean that it was the relative price of the metals that was deflating?

Count to 10 on January 22, 2010 at 2:05 PM

I am not a fan of Bernanke but good grief, I tremble at the thought of some liberal approved alternative getting the gig.

Daemonocracy on January 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Good grief, I just had a horrid thought: Krugman.

Count to 10 on January 22, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Congress and the White House both would like to pivot to economic policy, but neither seems capable of actually showing leadership on the agenda.

This sentence reminds me of a comedy routine.

Congress pivots to the right, Obama to the left.

They both see that the other took the opposite tack.

Congress pivots to the left, Obama to the right.

Surprise that they are back in the same jam they just “fixed.”

Congress gets smart and lets Obama pivot by himself only to discover that he pivoted the wrong way and now he’s 180 out from them.

So Congress pivots to catch up but Obama has already pivoted to catch them……

A few more iterations of this incompetence and they all take a breather and blame Bush and the obstruction of Congressional Republicans.

highhopes on January 22, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Good grief, I just had a horrid thought: Krugman.

Count to 10 on January 22, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Well that effectively ruins my weekend!

Daemonocracy on January 22, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Someone above wanted suggestions for a replacement, how about Thomas Sowell for down to Earth logical economics.

bluemarlin on January 22, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Read Malkin’s report on McCain today. Beware!!!! Red flags are flying.

mobydutch on January 22, 2010 at 2:13 PM

If Obama can’t get 50 votes for Bernanke, he’s going to find 2010 a difficult slog indeed.

I agree. I don’t see how they can do anything with Obamunistcare at this point.

I think those who are claiming they will push for reconciliation are merely trying to be pills.

dogsoldier on January 22, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Obama doesn’t want 50 votes for Bernake. That way he can appoint his own man and blame someone else for the necessity of finding a new Fed Chairman.

That’s why the liberals in congress are so vocal. They know Obama will go along with whatever they want, and Obama keeps his fingerprints off the debacle. Obama doesn’t make decisions, he’s just the organizer. Once a consensus appears, he agrees with it when it suits his purpose.

Skandia Recluse on January 22, 2010 at 2:37 PM

I don’t know where he is getting this. There was no recovery until the war ended in the ’40s, and it had a lot more to do with the end of FDR’s constant fidgeting with economic regulation than it had to do with the money supply.

Count to 10 on January 22, 2010 at 1:53 PM

Kinda funny that Oboobie is trying to do the same type of fidgeting, just with much higher debt problems. What could go wrong?

As far as Bernanke, I have a feeling that there have been some Fed moves that will likely scare the hair off a gorilla if they were ever made public. There’s some whisker on the back of my neck that not all is right within the Big Bank, and another shoe is gettin ready to drop. Just sayin’.

Phil-351 on January 22, 2010 at 2:42 PM

I read MM’s McAmnesty article.
It cemments the most important thing coming out of the Tea Party movement. There is absolutely no reason to rubber stamp anyone. Look at the candidate individually and go from there. Individually means you have to totally discount anyone campaigning for or endorsing the candidate as well.

ORconservative on January 22, 2010 at 2:45 PM

From WSJ 28 APR 2009:

Mr. Lewis has told investigators for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that in December Mr. Paulson threatened him not to cancel a deal to buy Merrill Lynch. BofA had discovered billions of dollars in undisclosed Merrill losses, and Mr. Lewis was considering invoking his rights under a material adverse condition clause to kill the merger. But Washington decided that America’s financial system couldn’t withstand a Merrill failure, and that BofA had to risk its own solvency to save it. So then-Treasury Secretary Paulson, who says he was acting at the direction of Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, told Mr. Lewis that the feds would fire him and his board if they didn’t complete the deal.

Mr. Paulson told Mr. Lewis that the government would provide cash from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help BofA swallow Merrill. But since the government didn’t want to reveal this new federal investment until after the merger closed, Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke rejected Mr. Lewis’s request to get their commitment in writing.

“We do not want a disclosable event,” Mr. Lewis says Mr. Paulson told him. “We do not want a public disclosure.” Imagine what would happen to a CEO who said that.

After getting the approval of his board, Mr. Lewis executed the Paulson-Bernanke order without informing his shareholders of the material events taking place at Merrill. The merger closed on January 1. But investors and taxpayers had to wait weeks to learn that the government had invested another $20 billion plus loan portfolio insurance in BofA, and that Merrill had lost a staggering $15 billion in the last three months of 2008.

This was the second time in three months that Washington had forced Bank of America to take federal money. In his testimony to the New York AG’s office, Mr. Lewis noted that an earlier TARP investment in his bank had a “dilutive effect” on existing shareholders and was not requested by BofA. “We had not sought any funds. We were taking 15 [billion dollars] at the request of Hank [Paulson] and others,” Mr. Lewis testified.

Geithner, Bernanke and Paulson deserve perpwalks. They did far more than execute regulations – they encouraged the policies and then went beyond the bounds of their authority to cover their tracks on how they influenced private institutions to do their bidding. The head of BB&T also does that and cites that TARP was being used to cover for CITI that was failing. For one bank going bad we get TARP… and more federal intrusion into the banking system. That is more than just executing regulations, it is influencing regulations and the way bills are crafted to get a result desireable to the Federal Reserve.

Why did the US get rid of its previous National Bank? That is in the Bank Veto Message of 1832 and it is telling about the problems of such an institution no matter how convenient it is to the federal government. That bank had shareholders, limited in number, yes, but at least it had a feedback mechanism built into it. One of the main objections to that system was that the stockholders would soon fall sway to re-election of individuals who would seek to centralize their power within the system and be held unaccountable for their actions. Our appointment process alleviates that to some extent, but when those in the Fed use their power to purposes for the Federal Reserve and not to the benefit of the Nation, and then get appointed to the Treasury, there is a problem of lack of oversight and promoting those who have demonstrated need of oversight so as to remove accountability from the system. It is good that Bernanke needs to be re-upped, it is horrific that Geithner can step away from his mess and be promoted to a position that allows him to not be held accountable and, indeed, continue whatever it was he was doing previously that has yielded ill results.

That brings into question why the entire institution of the Federal Reserve does not, itself, require renewal of its charter as the older National Banks did? Are we so good at crafting these institutions that they need never be renewed? There is no place that dictates a Federal Reserve or a National Bank in the Constitution, and the Nation has done without both for decades. Calling directors up for accountability does not an accountable institution make, and its entire scope and depth of powers is a grant from the people of the United States and should be reviewed in its entirety to ensure that legislation has not gone beyond the original power grant to the institution, itself. Such happened with the old National Bank and it was removed from the system. Are we so safe, so secure, so able in those we elect that such a powerful institution need never be re-upped on a regular basis?

Doing so would address ills of an institution and those that run it,and give the chance for popular feedback on the institution involved. We do not have that for any of these modern institutions from HHS to Dept. of Education. Even such old institutions as the Dept. of Agriculture have no Constitutional mandate and yet has served as a source for funneling funds overseas and to those people who do not even own farms. The problems with Bernanke are not a cause, although he is a causitive agent, but a symptom of the rot inside the institution. Is seeking good and accountable government institutions so passe that conservatives, especially fiscal conservatives, will not speak up for it? Can we not conserve the idea that government should be held accountable and institutions that go beyond their bounds be terminated, as was done in 1832? Or are the institutions we create uncorruptible and beyond scrutiny forevermore, to be a permanent fixture on our landscape because no one wants to see the rot removed because we are comfortable with it?

The Federal Reserve is, indeed, convenient to our politicians. Too convenient. Extremely convient. And that makes it a threat to our liberty as citizens when such convenience is used for the convenience of those seek ill-ends with the public good. We can blame the regulations, the regulators and the lawmakers… but it is the convenience of the institution that drives them to seek power out of the scrutiny of the public review. How inconvenient it is to be scrutinized. How deadly to your liberty not to have it scrutinized.

ajacksonian on January 22, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Those of you that think Volker should be the new Fed head obviously are not familiar with how we almost had the second depression with his solution to lowering interest rates in the 70`s [thank you J Carter] Things got so bad they came down by default because there was nobody left to borrow. Companies were going belly up daily as were the consumers

HAGGS99 on January 22, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Stability of the currency was why the FED was started. Just Curious how has that worked out in the last 97 years compared to the stability of the currency from say 1780 to 1913.

chemman on January 22, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Shooting from the hip, I don’t think they’re comparable. We didn’t have federal paper notes until the Civil War era, backed by gold. We didn’t surpass the pound as the major global currency until near to World War Two. Bretton-Woods set currency ratios for the capitalist world in 1946 and stood until 1973.

I think the real purpose of the Fed was stability of the BANKING system, and I agree with the Chinese: Glass-Stengall made us the most stable banking system in the world.

Chris_Balsz on January 22, 2010 at 3:40 PM

I’m seeing a lot of joking at the expense of Team Obama but I’m not seeing any viable suggestions to replace Bernanke. And this is the biggest problem of the American Right these days: It’s gotten very good at obstructing the Democrats’ agenda, but it’s not terribly productive in offering practical answers to current problems. Which is fine while you are in the minority, but a serious problem if you want to regain the majority and start governing or legislating.

Just something to think about between now and November.

factoid on January 22, 2010 at 1:40 PM

I’ve seen half a dozen very good suggestions for alternatives to Bernake. Remember, agreeing with you is not the definition of qualified.

As to your claim that all the right has done is block Obama, that’s all he’s permitted us to do.
Republicans have had alternatives to both porkulus and health care, but the Democrats refused to allow any of them to even be discussed.

It was the Democrats who locked the Republicans out of the negotiations, not the other way around.

MarkTheGreat on January 22, 2010 at 3:41 PM

I think Dr. Walter E. Williams talked on Rush once that he would recommend that a computer program be written that could set the money supply\interest rates based on a few factors (which I cannot remember). I know population was one.

WashJeff on January 22, 2010 at 1:40 PM

For most legitimate govt purposes, a simple computer program probably would do a better job than your average politician.

MarkTheGreat on January 22, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Those of you that think Volker should be the new Fed head

I still like Paul Volcker.

The Fed under Bernanke has depressed interest rates artificially, by fiat, to below-market levels. The price of gold (which surged to more than $1200) should have served as a barometer to Bernanke to tell him that rates are too low.

Volcker understands this. Although he was appointed by Carter in August, 1979, Reagan re-appointed him in 1983. He did a great job as Fed chair.

Emperor Norton on January 22, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Obama doesn’t make decisions, he’s just the organizer. Once a consensus appears, he agrees with it when it suits his purpose.
Skandia Recluse on January 22, 2010 at 2:37 PM

+1000 on analysis. – Recheck his record from Chicago (“Present”) – up to and including his signature legislation – Health Care. The man is about as incompetent as is possible to believe we could have in the top executive position in the world.

He is even less than an empty suit – He is an empty shell of a man

Oopsdaisy on January 22, 2010 at 4:24 PM

How about doing America a serious favor and revoke the Federal Reserves charter? Any takes on that?

larvcom on January 22, 2010 at 4:41 PM

My vote is for Paul Volcker. His restrictive policies may have contributed to the decline that we had into 1982, but he was able to see long term. With his measures then, he righted the ship and set us up for one heck of a run. He’s the antithesis of Helicopter Ben, and, long term, I think he’s what we need.

flutejpl on January 22, 2010 at 5:52 PM

The hesitation is understandable! This financial melt down is horrendous! And nobody in our government is at fault? Really? The whole financial apparatus failed us.

People like Bernake gave bad advice to the politicians. At very least they didn’t ring the alarm over what was happening in the mortgage industry.

I don’t know who is to blame for all this but Bernake has to share some blame. At very least he could have cooled the mortgages by raising interest rates and making people look more closely. He had to know things weren’t built on a solid foundation.

petunia on January 22, 2010 at 5:56 PM

There are a lot of people who would be excellent running the Fed, however none of them would be remotely acceptable to BO and his cronies. Steve Forbes would be excellent (if he would take the job). Volcker would be excellent (except for the age thing) if allowed to do the job. Summers would be a disaster and Geithner very marginal. Even the thought of Dodd is insanity. I doesn’t matter however, if they have to find a replacement you can bet that the Obama people will make things worse.

duff65 on January 22, 2010 at 6:11 PM

I have several names in mind and they do not hail from Harvard, Goldman nor are they liberals.

seven on January 22, 2010 at 6:36 PM

RIP Ben Bernake 2006-2010 He single handedly wrecked the U.S. economy.

MCGIRV on January 22, 2010 at 7:10 PM

R.I.P. Ben Bernake 2006-2010 He single handedly wrecked the U.S. economy.

MCGIRV on January 22, 2010 at 7:11 PM

Time Magazine is to politicians what Madden video is to football players. The last three men of the year – Putin, Obama and Bernacke.

djaymick on January 22, 2010 at 8:11 PM

It appears that this is more than just Democrats playing CYA by making Bernanke the scapegoat.

It’s certainly not much more than that. This has been the name of the game for a long time: threaten not to confirm the chairman of the Fed so that you have political cover. He will get reconfirmed. No question. I wish it weren’t true. For Republicans and Democrats, to block his confirmation would be to admit their folly in adopting the “too big to fail” conventional wisdom going into the financial crisis.

Meanwhile I’m soaking in the Schadenfreude of watching the Wall Street bankers who are responsible for putting President Obama in office complain about regulatory overhaul. Bring on the regulations! It needs to get worse . It’s the ammonium carbonate that will wake Americans from their slumber.

An Objectivist on January 22, 2010 at 8:12 PM

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