You have to hand it to President Obama. Not only was his State of the Union speech early last week warmly received by the public, but it unleashed a wave of bipartisan sentiment in Congress, especially in the U.S. Senate. What had been had World War I-style battlefield of trench warfare between Republicans and Democrats filled with bile, acrimony and petty minded thinking, suddenly transformed itself last Thursday just a couple of days after Obama’s speech. Hands were reaching across the aisle, old enemies became friends, there was lots of loving and hugging each other and even the little child lay down peacefully next to the lion, all to renominate Ben Bernanke to another term as the head of the third Bank of the United States, oh excuse me, the Federal Reserve.
Yes the two political parties may have bitter disagreements when it comes to abortion, or climate change, or health care reform, but when it comes to benefiting themselves and the establishment they serve they do know how to come together for a common purpose.
I mean you had Sen Thad Cochran, Republican of Mississippi and Charlie Schumer of New York, as different as two men can possibly be from two completely different places and backgrounds, and yet Ben Bernanke brought them together. Not only can he drop money from out of the sky, not only is he’s Time’s Man of the Year, he’s also a peacemaker as well. Perhaps he should nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize as well. Ain’t he swell?
Forget conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat, when it comes to serving the establishment, there are 70 U.S. Senators willing to kow-tow and perhaps more if they hadn’t been up for re-election this year (my how the Senate cools those “hot” passions of the populists). After all, as the old poem goes “the center must hold” and there are lots of “centrists” in Congress. Everything else is merely the props and the costumes for the play. When it comes to real issues and real decisions, the centrist party has overwhelming majorities.
The Brown upset win in a Massachusetts special election may have stirred the pot but given them a weekend and the center knows how to shore things up. Obama leaps into action to whip the Democrats into line for a Fed Chairman brought in from a previous administration and political party. Mitch McConnell too, from the other end, gets his forces into line with that famous Republican iron discipline. Then Wall Street chimes in with a little three-day market sell-off to remind the recalcitrant and the undecided NOT up for an election this year the consequences of a no vote. CNBC anchors whine about the populism they helped to create thinking Bernanke was supposed to be exempt from the public’s anger and if that wasn’t enough, the sage of Omaha said: sell, sell, sell if Bernanke went down.
So the Geithners and the Bernankes stay on in positions of power despite the disaster they helped to create and the Obamaites wonder why their man is down in the polls. Fortunately for them they will have help to get out of their predicament as the spirit of bi-partisanship will certainly continue when it comes to the big questions of money and wealth, war and peace. Fighting over health care or cap n’ trade is mere spectator sport in Washington. Those who say the system is disfunctional and and the country ungovernable don’t realize that there is plenty of bi-partisanship to go around. Just ask Ben Bernanke.