Friday, January 22, 2010

My Fed Chairman, I Think I'll Keep Him

Numerous writers in the blogosphere and elsewhere have noticed the corporate media's weird distortions of the political scene. For example, when I logged out of my e-mail account tonight I saw this blurb to a link on Ben Bernanke's imperiled status as Chairman of the Fed:
Is Fed Chief's Job in Jeopardy? Ben Bernanke is up for reconfirmation as head of the Federal Reserve. Just weeks ago, his job seemed safe, but sustained anger at Wall Street and Democratic politics may bring him down.
Of course, that second sentence may just be sloppily written: is it Democratic politics that may bring Bernanke down (if only!), or is it sustained anger at Democratic politics that may bring him down? I suspect it's meant to be the latter, even though Bernanke is a Republican and was first appointed Chairman by the Republican George W. Bush in 2005. True, Obama wants to keep Bernanke on for another term, and Obama is nominally a Democrat, but that's the trouble: Bernanke represents Obama's continuity with Republican politics generally, and the Bush administration in particular. And the first politician the article cites as an opponent of Bernanke's is Democratic senator Barbara Boxer, who the writer says is "generally close to the Obama administration." But not too close, apparently, and increasing the distance since she's up for re-election this year. "Few Republicans have said they will vote for Bernanke, even as the number of potential Democrats declines." Well, there's bipartisanship in action!

The article, by Sphere's Senior Correspondent Joseph Schuman, gets generally messier as the writer tries to fit reality into his politics: "A sudden end to Bernanke's chairmanship, and the prospect of a more politicized monetary policy, would almost certainly rattle stock markets and severely undermine confidence in the dollar." As though American monetary policy weren't already politicized, but in a different direction! As though the stock market weren't always already rattling hard enough to shake out your teeth! But not to worry; if it becomes necessary to abandon Bernanke, Obama will surely be able to find another Republican to take his place.