Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was confirmed for a second term today in the Senate, albeit by a relatively thin margin: 70-30. That’s reportedly the “thinnest approval ever extended to a chairman in the central bank’s 96-year history.” Just a few days ago there was some question as to whether he would survive the populist political backlash that threatened to vote him out of his position as head of the central bank.
For the moment, Bernanke has won. The question is whether his victory will turn Pyrrhic. At least expectations are uncomplicated:
“Now that the Senate has confirmed him for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke has, or ought to have, a very simple agenda: improve confidence,” writes Newsweek’s Robert Samuelson. “That isn’t his job alone, of course. President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are hardly bit players. But what Bernanke does and says—how he projects himself and the Fed—matters a great deal, and he faces an exacting challenge.”