The US Senate voted this afternoon to re-up co-architect of our misfortune, Ben Bernanke. The final vote was 70-30—but that is only part of the story. Seven senators—six of them Democrats—voted “aye” on cloture, allowing the final vote to proceed, before voting “nay” on the Fed Chairman’s final confirmation. While those seven votes wouldn’t have been enough to sustain a filibuster, a little more courage on the part of the Majority, and a little more political savvy on the part of the White House, could have easily stopped Ben in his tracks.
Bernanke’s “ideas” are all over the 2008 collapse of our economy—and his uncaring hand on the rudder has helped steer us into this “jobless recovery” (a term I am embarrassed by every time I use it). The American people know it, some senators know it, and the Obama Administration is foolish to pretend that they don’t know it.
Foolish, too, are Senators Barbara Boxer, Al Franken, Tom Harkin, Ted Kaufman, Sheldon Whitehouse, Byron Dorgan, and George LeMieux—all of who think that they can hide behind, and/or campaign on, the “I was against him after I was for him” strategy.
A spate of elections, most recently the special in Massachusetts, have shown that Americans are pissed off and scared. A vaguely rising Dow index matters little to the chronically unemployed or those forced from their homes by foreclosure. A move to replace Bernanke could have signaled to voters that those in power understood that and wanted to change course; this “heckuva job, Ben” moment just telegraphs “more of the same.”
Following the Massachusetts vote with the Bernanke OK means “more of the same” is likely what Democrats can expect in the coming midterms.