Photo: from Getty
Here’s another great anecdote from The Atlantic’s Ben Bernanke profile by Roger Lowenstein.Everyone in Washington loves Bernanke. Despite all the crap he gets, everyone likes the man:
[T]here is a bizarre disconnect between the chairman’s reputation among experts, who mostly respect him, and the public’s disapproval. Professional colleagues speak of his courage and resourcefulness. Larry Summers, formerly President Obama’s economic adviser, who is known for his caustic tongue, told me that among Washington insiders, “I don’t think anyone dislikes him.” Even some of his critics, on closer inspection, are not so critical. Kevin Hassett, a conservative economist who helped organise the November 2010 open letter against quantitative easing, told me that while he disagrees with Bernanke about that easing program, overall, “I don’t see how anyone could do a better job.” Sounding embarrassed about the attacks by some Republicans, Hassett added, “I don’t see how you can hate him.”
Why is he so popular? For one thing he works hard:
Bernanke rarely socializes with Washington luminaries; he is close to Geithner, whom he sees for breakfast or lunch nearly every week, but theirs is a business relationship. Very occasionally, Bernanke goes to a Nationals game or escorts his wife, Anna, a schoolteacher, to the Kennedy centre. In four years, his only vacations have been trips to see his elderly parents and other family members in North Carolina. He works every day (including this past Thanksgiving, when he was orchestrating the swap loans to Europe) and spends weekend mornings at the office.
Furthermore Bernanke doesn’t let his politics show. Seriously, if you had to guess what party the chairman belongs to, what would you say?
We were surprised to learn that he’s a Republican.