Bernanke Apologist Watch
by Tom Bozzo
Shorter  Jim Hamilton (via  Brad DeLong):
Ben Bernanke’s record leaves nine links’ worth of things to be desired, but considering the zombie ex-Fed Chair alternatives (plus
Brett Fav-Paul Volcker), he deserves to be confirmed for a second term.
I am almost not kidding. Here’s what Hamilton actually asks Bernanke’s critics:
I wonder which of [sic] previous Fed Chairs critics think would be better for the job than Bernanke. Surely you don’t think we’d have been better off bringing Alan Greenspan back? [touché] G. William Miller [deceased] fumbled badly with much simpler problems. Arthur Burns [also deceased] is a case study in how not to conduct monetary policy.
Would DeLong accept this sort of argument from a Berkeley undergrad seeking a decent grade? The question of far greater interest is why critics should have preferred Bernanke to prospective candidates who might have the combination of background and metabolic function to carry out the job — say, Janet Yellen or Alan Blinder — and might also do better than Bernanke in a pop quiz on the Fed’s dual mission.
Nor does Hamilton impress in reviewing the (admittedly odd) politics of Bernanke’s reappointment:
I shake my head when I look at the list of senators who say they’ll vote “no.” How could there possibly be an alternative whom Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) would both prefer to Bernanke?
Obviously an alternative candidate need not be preferred by both Boxer and DeMint. An SDJ commenter rightly notes that DeMint’s opposition is in the nature of a political stunt, that is rejecting the rightmost potential nominee for Fed Chair to try to help along the development of the Obama political suicide machine. (They may not need the help.) As little as they act like it, the Democrats hold a sizeable majority of Senate seats, and a reasonable choice of a Democratic monetary policy technocrat ought to have little trouble lining up at least 59 votes. As for the sixtieth, I’d have liked to see the Republican Senate caucus hold ranks in preventing a Yellen nomination from receiving an up-or-down vote.
 ‘Shorter’ concept created by Daniel Davies and perfected by Elton Beard. We may not be aware of all Internet traditions™ but try to keep abreast of the popular ones.
 Econbrowser’s feed has a high-attention place in my feed reader, and it should be in yours; this piece, though, gets emphasis largely via DeLong’s apologist-in-chief blogging.
“Obama political suicide machine.”
Understatement of the decade (The new one we are in).
Good governance is out the window because the powers that be (namely the banksters and their media shills) want every American to believe that governments by the people can’t govern themselves. Why? Because the people are the only true obsticle to their plundering of the middle class.
This is regardless of the fact that many nations, that are democracies, have and continue to do so govern effectively. Why should we the people support those like Bernanke that want to go along with the American firesale, when there are so many, more trusted and equally qualified, that can fill the post and that still love America? Stop fearing the political process America and embrace it. Demand good governance and demand good leaders that are not bullshit artists and selfish bastards that only look out for their own skin.
Bernanke’s solution to our problems is to gut Social Security, one of the few government programs that function well. Support him, hell no.
We need to remember that there are two things going on here.
There is one group of people who generally seem to think that Bernanke has done an OK or better job, but really isn’t the right person to run the Fed in coming years. It seems to me that they have some fairly strong arguments as do those who support Bernanke. Nothing wrong with any of that. It’s a rational debate based in something resembling reality.
But there is also a second group — probably larger — who aren’t even especially down on Bernanke. They are mad as hell about the perceived coddling of the financial sector. What they want is for Tim Geithner and Larry Summers to spend a lot more time with their families. They don’t get to vote on Geithner and Summers, but they do get to vote on Bernanke. They are attacking him because they can’t get to the guys they really want to get to … yet.
At least that’s how I see it.
I’d put it a little differently. The reality-based debate between supporters and critics concerns the balance of major failings with reasonably successful crisis management. The ‘perceived coddling’ (more like actual coddling) of the financial sector is among the major failings, at least in my assessment, so I’m not going to say that the ‘mad as hell’ crowd is totally irrational going after Bernanke. Though I do think the world would be a better place if there were wider acknowledgement of the possibility that we can both be better off for the bailouts AND be better off without the policymakers whose hamfistedness brought about the need for them and/or tainted them.