Speculation that Ben Bernanke might be appointed for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman after his first term expires in January 2010 has to remind one of Washington's Alice in Wonderland-like quality. For if Bernanke were indeed to be reappointed as Fed chairman, it would mean that in the depths of by far the worst U.S. economic recession in the postwar period, one would be reappointing to the job the very person whose fingerprints, along with those of former Fed chief Alan Greenspan, are all over that recession. It would also validate the skeptical worldview of a former boss of mine who believes that, in Washington, nothing succeeds so well as failure.

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