DiFi has Ben Bernanke’s back, but not Boxer

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., this morning expressed her support for Ben Bernanke’s re-confirmation as Federal Reserve Chairman:

“I believe it would be a mistake not to reconfirm Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. To blame one man for the financial implosion is simply wrong. It is up to the government to change the law, and I believe the Volcker Rules – all of them – should be moved through Congress promptly.

“Prudent regulation of the financial sector, combined with expanded authority for the Fed, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities Exchange Commission, is vital.

“Ben Bernanke has been helpful to the recovery and, for reasons of stability and continuity, should be reconfirmed. I support him fully.”

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., on Friday had taken a more populist, anti-bank stance by saying she’ll oppose the re-confirmation:

“I have a lot of respect for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. When the financial crisis hit in late 2008, he took some important steps to prevent what many economists believe could have been an even greater economic catastrophe.

“However, it is time for a change – it is time for Main Street to have a champion at the Fed. Dr. Bernanke played a lead role in crafting the Bush administration’s economic policies, which led to the current economic crisis. Our next Federal Reserve Chairman must represent a clean break from the failed policies of the past.”

Per the Wall Street Journal, Bernacke needs at least 60 Senators’ support because at least four senators have used a Senate rule to object to a vote. “According to a Dow Jones Newswires tally, 26 senators have said they will back him; 15 have said they will oppose him. The remaining 59 haven’t said what they will do. Under Senate rules, the earliest a vote could come is Wednesday.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Common Tater

    Just to wander a bit off topic, the “Political Blotter” has a great big hole in its coverage of the Scott Brown win in Massachusetts. The Blotter’s claim is “Politics in the Bay Area and Beyond.”

    The reality is somewhat different.

  • Josh Richman

    Perhaps you missed last Wednesday morning’s blog item, or the article I wrote for Thursday’s print editions?

  • Common Tater

    Well, gee whiz! I clicked on Archives for January 2010. This brought up the January articles. I then did a search for “Scott” using my web browser.

    There were no hits.

  • Josh Richman

    Don’t know what to tell you, Tater – if you search “Scott” using the blog’s search function, the Jan. 20 post comes up.

  • John W.

    Back to topic. I’ve written twice to Boxer, expressing my extreme displeasure with her announced intention to vote against confirmation. The scapegoating populism on this appointment is dangerous. Just imagine the turmoil in the markets and economy if Obama has to spend the next six months trying to get a replacement confirmed in today’s toxic political climate. Boxer and others are undermining the Fed’s independence in setting monetary policy. Don’t like things now? Just wait until Congress starts dictating to the Fed on interest rates. If not for Bernanke, we’d be in a global depression right now. He has brought far more transparency to the Fed’s decision-making on monetary policy than existed under Greenspan.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    I agree with John W.– Ba’boxer is posturing, plain and simple. Her knowledge of macro-economics goes back no further than breakfast-time on the day she speaks. Unfortunately, Ba’boxer is likely to be re-elected because counting votes is her specialty, her life’s work. She knows next to nothing about commerce but she is a master of campaigning.

  • David

    I agree with Barbara Boxer on this one (only I have no respect for Bernanke). She has co-sponsored S.604 the Senate version of Ron Paul’s Fed Transparency Act and should be commended for that. Our national financial interests shouldn’t be left to a small group of bankers. It’s just common sense. We need transparency. Bernanke has refused to disclose the agreements the Fed has made with foreign countries and foreign banks. Ron Paul and Alan Grayson have done an amazing job bringing public interest to this important issue.

  • John W.

    Ron Paul doesn’t want transparency and accountability. He wants to gut the Fed and go to the “gold standard.” Most people who advocate the latter haven’t a clue as to what it is and how it could work in today’s world. They just like the sound of it.

  • Elwood

    re: #7

    Alan Grayson?

    Could that be Alan Greenspan?

    Makes you wonder, don’t it?

  • ted ford

    Barbara Boxer would be better off trying to improve any centrist cred she can muster. For her to tack “populist”, i.e. oppose Bernanke, is to cede ground to Tom Campbell, her likely opponent. We could well have an upset here in California like in Massachusetts last week. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  • I agree with David! Bernanke should not be rewarded for his failures. Inflation is the worst form of taxation. This is what Bernanke does best! He and the Fed are the primary reasons that your dollar has lost most of its purchasing power. Bernanke and others were the ones who told us that if we didn’t act and go forward bailing out those companies that were “too big to fail” the economy would crumble.

    @John W. – The Fed is not the forth branch of government! You say, “Boxer and others are undermining the Fed’s independence in setting monetary policy.”

    You sound just like Bernanke! The Congress created the Federal Reserve in 1913. Therefore why should the Congress (thru the Government Accountability Office)not audit the Fed? With the amount of money they print out of thin air, they should be audited! We are talking about trillions of “the people’s” dollars here.

    I don’t understand how you can even claim that Ron Paul doesn’t want transparency & accountability. His bill to audit the Fed is titled “The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009.” Any audit is about transparency & accountability.

    Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpbW64vRrMc

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Alan Grayson is the Democratic member for DisneyWorld, Florida’s 8th district (Orlando). He is a populist firebrand whose best-known utterance is that the Republican health plan can be summarized as: “Don’t get sick; if you do get sick, die quickly.”

  • Elwood

    Re: #12

    Well, you learn something every day.

    With 435 of those knotheads, it’s hard to keep track of all of them.

  • John W.

    Re: #11, Ted Ford:

    Speaking as a Democrat, I think the die is cast for a GOP takeover of both the House and Senate in 2010, and Boxer may get caught up in that no matter what she does. Democrats will be defending 18 Senate seats. Looking at the list, I see only 3 or 4 that are slam dunks for re-election under current circumstances. The GOP only needs to pick up 10 seats. In addition, West Virginia could shift if mortality catches up with Byrd. In the House, the Dems have 256 seats. If they lose 39 (hard to see how they don’t lose that many), Coppertone Boehner is Speaker.