The efforts to block Bernanke’s confirmation are getting some traction.
First, Bernie Sanders of Vermont said he is putting a hold on Bernanke’s confirmation. A hold (in lay terms) is a threat to filibuster. This is actually pretty serious and seldom done. It takes 60 votes to beat one back, and there are enough procedural roadblocks that a filibustering Senator can throw so that it holds up Senate business for a few days, even if it is ultimately unsuccessful. And by current tallies, there are a few Senators on the right who are also vehemently opposed to Bernanke and would support this move.
Now so far, this is merely an obstacle to reappointment, but this is still much more serious opposition than anyone would have expected even a week ago.
Second, a Rasmussen poll (hat tip reader Andrew) released today found that only 21% of Americans favor Bernanke’s reappointment. This is significant not simply due to the lousy results, but that Rasmussen bothered to run the poll at all. This was not a client sponsored poll; Rasmussen thought this was newsworthy enough to run this on its own. Admittedly, a large proportion are undecided, but twice as many oppose a Bernanke reappointment as support it.
This says that the calls to Senators are making a difference. Remember, hardly anyone ever bothers voice opposition to this sort of confirmation. And it’s important to recognize that the symbolism extends beyond the question of Bernanke’s continued tenure. This is a shot across the bow as far as Wall Street friendly policies are concerned. It puts the Congress and Administration on notice that the public is aware of how badly they have been had and are continuing to be bled on the financial front and sees the conduct of economic policy as important.