photo credit: © Giorgio
While candidate Mike Lee acted like a senator on the issue of confirming Ben Bernanke for another term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Bob Bennett acted like a marionette under the control of the mystical wizard of Washington D.C. With a short press release and a predictable vote, our “Senator” Bob Bennett plainly demonstrated the cancerous logic that is rampant among Washington insiders. Here is how he justified his vote to confirm Ben Bernanke:
I reluctantly cast a vote in favor of Ben Bernanke because I do not want to give President Obama the opportunity to put someone who shares his leftist views in charge of the Federal Reserve. I am aware of the mistakes that have been made at the Fed while Chairman Bernanke has been there, but I fear an alternative would be worse for the country’s economic future.
So our elected Marionette is simply trying to save us from having the president nominate someone else. Cute. Perhaps he should have engaged his brain and realized two simple facts – first, if Bernanke was not confirmed by the senate there is little chance that President Obama would have name a more extreme nominee (the natural reaction would be to nominate a safer pick); second, considering the makeup of the Senate (not to mention the final vote tally) opposing Bernanke would have been unlikely to prevent his confirmation but at least it would not have demonstrated approval for his performance (a vote to confirm sends that message more strongly than any press release about your supposed reluctance to cast the vote).
In contrast, Mike Lee (who ought to be replacing Bennett within a year) demonstrated what senatorial advice and consent should look like. Mike issued a statement opposing confirmation for Bernanke and giving solid reasons for that opposition:
“It is clear that during Chairman Bernanke’s term, the Federal Reserve has played a significant role in creating and perpetuating policies and strategies that have contributed significantly to the most difficult economic environment our country has faced in a generation.” Mike Lee continued, “To confirm the Chairman to a second term would be both a tacit approval of his actions during these past few years, and an endorsement that ‘business as usual’ is acceptable. That is something I am simply not willing to do.”
. . .
“Simply replacing Bernanke may not be sufficient, but Chairman Bernanke must be held accountable for the Fed’s actions. It is time to send a clear message that ‘business as usual’ is not acceptable, that transparency is mandatory and that everyone is accountable, now and in the future. This is the first in a series of important steps which must be taken to ensure the integrity and reliability of our monetary system.” (emphasis added)
Bennett failed to demonstrate any responsibility for the senatorial task of advice and consent. Instead he chose to throw up his hands and issue a statement about how sorry he was to vote against the wishes of his constituents and even his own better judgment. Worse yet, he did so on a vote where voting his conscience would not have made a material difference except to be honest about his position.