Double Standard For Bernanke: Only 50 Votes Needed In Senate

When it comes to progressive priorities in the Senate, there's one standard: 60 votes are needed. But for Ben Bernanke, there's a second standard: 50 will be just fine, thank you.

Democratic leaders in the Senate are asking colleagues who are reluctant to support Bernanke's nomination for a second term as Federal Reserve chairman to nevertheless vote with them to end a filibuster and allow a vote on the actual nomination. The reluctant members would then be free to vote no to express their displeasure. Several Democrats have committed to just that and others are considering it.

The public health insurance option was stripped from health care reform because it didn't have 60 votes. An expansion of Medicare took its place but it, too, was dropped for having fewer than 60. Both proposals had at least 50 votes. Dawn Johnsen, a nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel, has the backing of progressive...