25 October 2005

dr. ben bernanke, the online betters favorite at 38%, was named to replace alan greenspan by president bush, who wisely avoided charges of further cronyism by not nominating loyalists like glenn hubbard and larry lindsey. i was really struck by the language the president used--and not in the way one usually means when making such a statement. in light of another miers faux pas, let's compare his speech introducing bernanke w/ the speech made on the behalf of harriet miers (bearing in mind that, although a supreme court justice is an important nomination, the chairman of the fed is, according to the economist, often cited as the second most powerful position in the country.)

first, the miers speech was twice as long, and so already cronyism rears its head. two of the seventeen paragraphs of the speech deal w/ miers's professional accomplishments, as distinguished from her personal traits; one of those paragraphs deals w/ her "firsts" for a woman. (she has held "one of the most important legal positions in the country," we are told, "white house counsel," "importance" in this country now proportional to one's proximity to the bush family.) she "went to work to help pay for her own education," bush says; she has "a reputation for fairness and integrity"; she possesses "deep compassion and abiding sense of duty"; her "life has been characterized by service to others"; and the president "know[s] her heart, [knows] her character."

bernanke, too, is described as "a kind and decent man." but three of the ten paragraphs deal w/ his "impeccable credentials," 30% compared to 12% for miers. here's one of bernanke's money shot:
Over the course of a career marked by great accomplishment, Ben has done path-breaking work in the field of monetary policy, taught advanced economics at some of our top universities, and served with distinction on the Fed's Board of Governors. He's earned a reputation for intellectual rigor and integrity. He commands deep respect in the global financial community. And he'll be an outstanding Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
now, here's miers's:
Over the course of a distinguished legal career, Harriet has earned the respect and admiration of her fellow attorneys. She has a record of achievement in the law, as well as experience as an elected member of the Dallas City Council. She served at high levels of both state and federal government. Before state and federal courts, she has tried cases, and argued appeals that covered a broad range of matters. She's been a leader in the American Bar Association, and has been recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the most powerful attorneys in America.
bernanke's done "path-breaking work"; he's served on the highest economic board in the nation; he commands global respect, and is "one of the most cited economists in the world." miers, on the other hand, is well-liked, successful on a local level, and was bush's secretary before gonzales was promoted. by comparison, her money shot is premature ejaculation. it's a nightmare for republicans, but if you're a democrat, you're only asking one question: would it be worse if he retracted the nomination or if she went down in flames

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