In a stunning move, Senator Bernie Sanders is putting a hold on the nomination of Fed chief Ben Bernanke. Exploiting an arcane rule in the Senate, the independent lawmaker from Vermont could delay Bernanke's confirmation into next year. Speaking out against the chairman, Sanders said "Clearly, this guy is part of the problem... I hope the president will give us a new nominee." Though Sanders's move is unlikely to torpedo the confirmation, Harry Reid must now win the approval of 60 senators before a vote is taken. Across the blogosphere, Sanders sparked new debate over Bernanke's credibility:
- "Sanders Is Serious," writes John Nichols at The Nation: "He is not merely delaying consideration of the Benanke nomination. He is calling on Obama to withdraw the nomination and propose someone else as the next head of the Fed...Sanders acted for exactly the right reason...Bernanke was, and is, the face of everything that is wrong with the crony-capitalism model of 'regulation' developed by the Fed under its previous chair, Ayn Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan."
- It's About Time, writes Matt Taibbi: "Bernanke doesn’t bear as much responsibility for the financial crisis as Greenspan, but his policies have certainly been in many ways a continuation of the the Greenspan era, which combined an extreme soft-touch regulatory posture (to put it mildly; it might be more accurate to say that the Fed hasn’t had a regulatory record for the last decade or so) with a Dionysan, drink-and-be-merry, fully enabling attitude toward the risk-taking crowd on Wall Street."
- "The Country Needs a New Fed Chief," writes The Wall Street Journal editorial board: "The real problem is Mr. Bernanke's record before the panic, with its troubling implications for a second four years. When George W. Bush nominated the Princeton economist four years ago, we offered the backhanded compliment that at least he'd have to clean up the mess that the Alan Greenspan Fed had made. That mess turned out to be bigger than even we thought, but we also didn't know then how complicit Mr. Bernanke was in Mr. Greenspan's monetary decisions."
- We Should Be Grateful to Have Bernanke, write the editors of Foreign Policy. The magazine praises the " Zen-like chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve... for turning his superb academic career into a blueprint for action, for single-handedly reinventing the role of a central bank [and] for preventing the collapse of the U.S. economy... to have done all of these within the span of a few months is certainly one of the greatest intellectual feats of recent years."