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Friday, January 22, 2010

Bernanke on the Brink

As the media breathlessly tracks every move of Scott Brown and watches over the remnants that was the centerpiece of the President's agenda, here's just one story that should be getting more attention.

Ben Bernanke's confirmation for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman will go down to the wire and could be a closer vote than seemed likely just a few weeks ago.

Bernanke's current term as Fed chairman expires at the end of the month, and a Senate confirmation vote has been pushed off until next week at the earliest. Bernanke met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday as Democratic and Republican leaders surveyed senators to tally votes on the nomination. Bernanke needs 60 supporters to win approval for another four-year term.

I don't remember any Senate vote that was anything but a rubber stamp. So, the fact that it's even close is itself unusual. Bernanke is a controversial figure but then again, every Fed Chairman winds up being controversial.

You simply can't take on as much power as the Fed chair without drawing some controversy. His handling of the financial crisis will be a major point of contention. Bernanke is drawing fire from the far left and many conservatives so this nomination fight could draw some very unusual political bedfellows.

This nomination fight could be an opportunity for our news cycle to examine the role of the Fed within our economy but our twenty four hour news cycle simply hyperanalyzes one or two stories and this one hasn't made the cut yet.

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