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Guest Post: All About The Cloture Vote

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Deadhead

Bernanke: All about the Cloture Vote

It appears that the debate over the reappointment of Bernanke will likely come down to an impending U.S. Senate Cloture vote, barring a further uptick in political pressure on President Obama, who increduously seems to have missed the message of the vast majority of Americans who are opposed to Bernanke's renomination.  I'm no Senate parliamentarian but it is important for us to understand some of the subtleties of this matter, some of which I'm sure I haven't thought about but am confident that the ensuing comments from Zero Hedge readers will fill in the blanks and lay out other options.

Cloture is a parliamentary move to close debate on an issue and force a vote.  As there are several “holds” on the Bernanke nomination vote (Sanders, Bunning, DeMint come to mind), the US Senate, in order to proceed to a vote on Bernanke, must vote in the super majority of 60 votes to eliminate the holds and proceed to a limited debate, in this case 30 hours, followed by vote in which a simple majority of 51 votes will rule the day. News reports that I have read have quoted Harry Reid's office as saying that the Majority Leader will file the Cloture motion next week, likely on Monday.  The motion needs to age for 2 days and then the battle can begin.

In theory as I understand it, the cloture motion is to be voted on as soon as is scheduled by the Majority Leader.  However, I think there are may be a host of other strategies that can be employed to delay the cloture motion and I will rely on readers to provide detail.  Keep an eye on Sanders and Bunning in particular as they are most likely to pull out the bag of tricks.  Remember that the further this matter drags out, the more it works against the Bernanke renomination and the greater the political pressure becomes on Bernanke's chief supporter, the President of the United States.

We already have an idea of those Senators who are “yes” on Bernanke and those who are “no”.  The interesting portion to watch will be those who are “undecided”, which to my way of thinking, are spineless politicians assessing the political winds and holding off to the last moment.  The cloture process actually gives this group great political cover and provides them an opportunity to avoid a position on this entirely.  Let me explain.

Let's say you are a Senator in the undecided camp and want to avoid making a commitment on the Bernanke matter.  A vote “no” on cloture does not mean at all that you are voting against Bernanke, it simply means that you are in favor of unlimited debate on the matter.  Part of that debate might be things like:

•    gee, what the hell really went on with the Fed and AIG?
•    Why is the Fed so adamantly opposed to an audit of its books and cash flows?
•    Is there any truth to all the tin foil hat rumors about the Fed playing with futures, equities, stealth QE, etcetera?
•    What is the Fed up to with foreign governments and foreign Central Banks?
•    Does the Fed have accounts at STT? What is the deal with the “Reston 6”?
•    What role did Bernanke play in the BAC/ML fiasco? 
•    Is the Fed's GC a contributor to ZH?

An undecided Senator could actually look like a hero by voting no for cloture as that Senator could tell the folks back home that the Fed needs to be investigated, there are too many unanswered questions, “we should not hurry into this matter”, yada, yada, yada.  Naturally, understanding the polling data on Bernanke, this group would be very wise to vote no on cloture, particularly with the lesson of Massachusetts so freshly in mind and the fact that the economy is still in the pooper, no small part of which is attributable to Bernanke's failed policies. 

The important take home here folks is that if less than 60 Senators vote yes for cloture, that means debate is open endlessly.  If this were to happen, it is most likely the end for Bernanke due to the January 31 conclusion of Bernanke's term as well as the perception (correctly so), which will be amplified to enormous extremes by the media, that the political support is simply not there for Bernanke and Obama will have to make that phone call to Bernanke that he is toast.

If the cloture motion is passed, it's virtually a done deal and the American middle class is then toast.


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Sat, 01/23/2010 - 16:47 | Link to Comment RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

The new paradigm: "Minsky Meets Mellon"...
Rasputin - Fri, Jan 22, 2010 - 11:12 AM the Ponzi finance system is liquidated.

LOL, I must warn President "Hopey McChange" to be careful for that which you might just get it.

As we are now witnessing, even the threat of shutting down the
financial gambling casinos causes a meltdown in ALL paper-based games.
So, let's see if Obama really IS prepared to go to war with Wall Street
and allow one-hundred million sheeple 401(K)/IRA/mutual funds become
"collateral damage".

Heck, why not "go nuclear" and withdraw Bernanke's re-nomination,
appoint Volcker, and let "Tall Paul" jack Fed Funds rates to
twenty-percent and unwind a trillon or so of the Fed's "assets"?

In any event, we shall soon see how serious this administration is
about taking on Wall Street...when the sheeple are rioting in the

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:09 | Link to Comment Charley
Charley's picture

"In any event, we shall soon see how serious this administration is about taking on Wall Street...when the sheeple are rioting in the streets."

Question posed and answered in the very posing. Let's be clear here:

1. The Financial crisis is a direct result of the strategy to turn low wage nations into export platforms. Once China entered the game, the problem became one of laundering the massive profits and forestalling weakening domestic sheeple demand.

The who's who of the worst hit states in unemployment in this crisis are those states which suffered most from offshoring to China: California, Rhode Island, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Oregon, Indiana. Throw in Nevada and Michigan, and you round out the worst hit.

See here:

2. Wall Street ran the mechanism to achieve the above. It has a get out of jail free card, which is good until domestic political events make it otherwise. Scott Brown's election changes nothing, since the point is that nothing should change - the staus quo must be maintained. He completely fits into the narrative that Republican intransigence makes it impossible for Democrats to change Washington.

3. Is Obama a Lincoln or a Ford? Lincoln was compelled do the thing he promised not to do: End slavery. It was forced on him by events. Things are no where near that bleak yet, and American Idol is on the telly.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 23:08 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 08:22 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 10:36 | Link to Comment Charley
Charley's picture

By the same token, Obama would probably look silly in a beard. Analogies always suffer when extended beyond their limited intent. Lincoln believed he could resolve the fundamental issues of his time without striking to the heart of Southern economic relations. It goes without saying, that was a delusion.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 14:22 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:19 | Link to Comment Mr. Anonymous
Mr. Anonymous's picture

Exactly.  Not only did Obama screw up on the economics, he positively got janky on the politics.  If he'd gone nuclear at the banksters on January 21, like he led his supporters to believe, the inevitable melt-down could have been blamed on Bush, though Righties would still have said the melt was the market's reaction to the new president.  But, due to all the cash he took from the Banksters to get elected and their sweet crooning that, 'trust us and all will be better', he got sucked in like Joe Retail on a short-squeeze; for six+ months they lured him in with a rising market.  But, sometime in October, the smart money started moving out, about the same time Goldman's stock peaked and GS and others got short their own shares.  Now, any new anti-bank legislation will be met with the inevitable unwind/correction, which the media and an angry Right will play up as the market rejecting bank re-regulation.  Frankly, how else did anyone expect this to go?  Government employees squaring off against Wall Street wise-guys is a beat-down waiting to happen.  Even today, the Street's power-brokers are recruiting the GOP's next president, the new 'Change' candidate who will make it all better and bring 'morning to America'.  These shank jobs will never cease until the people wise up and realize how the two-party casino system is rigged.  Don't hold your breath.  Given the utter stupidity on the left and right, this will continue until the country implodes.  Then the squid will set up shop in another host.

Szechuan, anyone?

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:25 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

GS is already starting to roll out retail shops in China via their minority ownership in a Chinese brokerage firm.  I do not have the name of the firm and my source is a B'berg article from approx. 2 weeks ago.

it was around the time that China said they would likely begin to introduce short selling and other strategies designed to make money for the smart players vs joe retail.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 13:12 | Link to Comment WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

Great article DH.

There is also Third World Farmland Bubble blowing courtesy of GS et ilk:

Companies at the forefront of this property land-grab include the US asset management company BlackRock, who have earmarked US $30 million for the acquisition of farmland in areas from Sub-Saharan Africa to the UK, and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, who have invested in both pig breeding operations and chicken farms in China.

Gonna be a lot of people starving in their own backyard.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 13:29 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Thanks for that info waterwings....


Hmmm, I can guess where the sperm will come from for those pig breeding farms....

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:53 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 16:55 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:59 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Bernanke was nominated by President Bush to replace then chairman Greenspan.  Bernanke is a nightmare from both political parties.  Just as Geithner was nominated by president Bush to be president of the FRBNY.  Again, a nightmare from both parties.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:33 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 16:56 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:10 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:22 | Link to Comment Mr. Anonymous
Mr. Anonymous's picture

It's list-making time.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:12 | Link to Comment MarketTruth
MarketTruth's picture


Guys, it matters not who the central bankers are using as their front man, the story will be whatever the banking members want it to be.

Just like the puppet presidency.

Wow, some people really do not understand who really pulls the strings in the USA. It is all about the ILLUSION of choice so 'the people' actually think their votes/ideas count.

Remember BHO and what he said to get elected? Now look at his actions? Now ask yourself, is there really any difference if it had been a continuation of Bush?

Wake up Neo...


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:23 | Link to Comment Carl Marks
Carl Marks's picture

Barry was the perfect choice. He was clean and articulate. He didn't speak with a negroe dialect except when he wanted to and he was light skinned. Besides, Colin Powell wasn't available.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:50 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Harry Reid, thanks for dropping in!

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 06:28 | Link to Comment loki
loki's picture


Sun, 01/24/2010 - 10:37 | Link to Comment FoolMeTwice
FoolMeTwice's picture

Did someone wake me up :)

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:39 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 22:37 | Link to Comment Dirtt
Dirtt's picture

I'm in boys.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:03 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

DH - You have the essentials.  Of course you could always dive into a copy of Robert's Rules of Order if you wanted to be a parliamentarian.  Another major reason for the undecideds, especially among senate class II is because they are on fresh six year terms and they believe most folks will have long forgotten this vote come the 2014 cycle and they expect to get more goodies the longer they hold out.  Nice read and my response to our discussion along these and related lines is up for your review on the Greenspan endorses thread.  Have a great weekend and thanks again for submitting this effort.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:02 | Link to Comment QuantTrader
QuantTrader's picture

The interesting statistic is that Senators who aren't up for reelection are over 75% in favor of confirming Bernanke (exception of Harry Reid who is likely being forces by the White House and probably done in his state anyway).  Those Senators in contested races has so far been a toss-up with 50/50 odds of supporting Ben.  Hence why so many are looking for cover at the moment.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:18 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Hence why so many are looking for cover at the moment.

And the cloture situation gives them all the cover in the world.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:10 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:24 | Link to Comment Mr. Anonymous
Mr. Anonymous's picture

Nice call.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:05 | Link to Comment QuantTrader
QuantTrader's picture

Here is an AP report stating how Judd Gregg and Chris Dodd are in favor of his re-election and say he will get second term.  Both senators are not seeking re-election this year.


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:09 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

QT - Just so ya know, Dodd has announced his retirement and Reid is up this cycle.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:07 | Link to Comment Carl Marks
Carl Marks's picture

The markets are showing Barry who's Daddy.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:42 | Link to Comment D.M. Ryan
D.M. Ryan's picture

Well, I hope that Barry doesn't show the market that he's really Grampa...

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:11 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:45 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:32 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

If the paper based games went away either through tax law changes or outright prohibition, the ERISA holders would essentially own the productive assets....

GM bonds, anyone?


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:12 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:17 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:31 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:13 | Link to Comment exportbank
exportbank's picture

They can't possibly put Volker in charge - he'd start to fix the problem but that would (sort term) blow a bigger (but needed) hole in the economy. Over the past couple of decades the very low rates have been used to boost employment - think of all those construction workers. Think of the zero percent rates on cars and TV's.. Everything was sold and people kept working based on free money.

All those dollar stocks sold for ten. We've been juiced and they have to keep the bubble going. Image if the banks had to mark to market or the insurance companies or pension plans.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 23:13 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:15 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:23 | Link to Comment Transor Z
Transor Z's picture

We'll have to see what Issa can come up with.

Normally these things get delayed for one reason: the votes aren't there. If Reid moves for cloture, the 60 votes are there and are solid.

My take is that the BB supporters are confident that AIG either won't yield anything substantial or at least won't touch BB.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:48 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Reid IS moving for cloture according to his office as of Friday, late in the day.

Normally these things get delayed for one reason: the votes aren't there

I agree with your statement about delays and votes not being there, that is certainly and clearly the general rule.  I disagree in this case about the 60 votes being "there and solid" as Reid has already had defections as we know, ergo his 60 member bloc cannot deliver on its own.  We also know that some Repubs are definite "yes" votes and some are definite "no" votes. Certainly, this Bernanke issue is significantly more fractured from a party perspective than most of what we have seen since Obama and the Dems garnered majority leadership.

Without the 60 vote bloc, Republicans are in a much stronger position on this matter and they are fractured.  Yes, some Repubs are clearly beholden to the wall st crowd, but there are some strong Repubs on the "no" end of the Bernanke vote.  Shelby is telling to me as he used to be a big Fed supporter throughout his career but he has had a change of life on this and is in the "no" camp.  As we know, he is the minority leader of the Senate Banking committee, which carries some clout.

With this kind of fracturing, and if one accepts the position as evidenced by national polling data that the American public's support of Bernanke is negative, I'm hard pressed to accept that the 60 votes are in the bag and this is a done deal.  It could go that way but at this juncture it is still fluid.

One of the ways that I look at it is the old "politics makes strange bedfellows" axiom. How often do we see a political matter where the allies are on the one side, Bernie Sanders, Barbara Boxer, and Russ Feingold aligned with Richard Shelby, Jeff Sessions, Jim DeMint, Jim Bunning, and David Vittar?  Talk about lambs and lions sleeping together.


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:28 | Link to Comment Transor Z
Transor Z's picture

If he doesn't have 60 solid he won't move for cloture. His #1 job is to be able to count votes. A surprise result means a double-cross and that doesn't happen in the Senate club.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:57 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Remember, Issa is not in the senate....

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 21:04 | Link to Comment Transor Z
Transor Z's picture

No, but he's in the news. :-)

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:47 | Link to Comment Transor Z
Transor Z's picture

I'll believe the cloture motion when it happens. Until Monday, Reid is a politician and his lips are moving.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:28 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

The public does not care about the FED

I agree that the public does not care about the Fed in general terms.  I'm fully convinced that the vast majority of Americans really don't know what the Fed is or does.

However, the media has been pounding on the Fed/AIG matter and a short time ago Ken Lewis and the BAC/ML matter was main street fodder for some time.  Americans have, in my view, tied the Fed in with all of this along with the anti wall street, anti bank, and anti Goldman Sachs paradigm.  They know something is wrong on Wall Street and they are mad as hell about it and to them, the Fed is Wall Street.

As to your point about voting yes on cloture and no on bernanke, you are correct as well, hence my note in the post about ZHers laying out the different options.  This type of vote posturing happens all the time as we know.  If, say, Pelosi needs a certain number of yes votes to pass something and a Dem congress critter will get skewered by the home town crowd for voting yes, Pelosi will let the critter off the hook if she has the votes she needs...naturally, that critter will owe her one.

your point is excellent, on target, and thanks for sharing.


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:49 | Link to Comment junkyard dog
junkyard dog's picture

So cloture is a tool used to bring a vote on an issue that a majority party wishes to solve before a statute of limitations runs out on the majority party's want.

Since Obama will nominate a Fed Chairman on Monday if no vote is held by Friday, what is to prevent him from nominating Bernanke again?


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:03 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

A failure to invoke cloture on this matter is a political kiss of death for bernanke.  yes, obama could keeping pushing bernanke as his guy but he will not expend one cent of political capital to do it.

if cloture does not get the 60 votes, bernanke is history.


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 17:54 | Link to Comment phaesed
phaesed's picture


WSJ voting forum on Bernanke's reappointment:

At this time:

60.9% No

39.1% Yes


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:05 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

i find that remarkable.

that's out of 6200 votes cast and one has to be a member of that group i.e. one cannot just go there to vote.  I would have expected a much closer tally or a majority in favor of bernanke in that poll.

thanks for sharing phaesed.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 02:35 | Link to Comment MrPalladium
MrPalladium's picture

Any WSJ subscriber can vote.

I just voted "no."

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 08:56 | Link to Comment CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

Just tossed a Nay into the pile.


Curiously the total votes are 6491 now and the Nay stack moved a full percent to 61.9. All the ZH folks? :)



Sun, 01/24/2010 - 13:22 | Link to Comment WaterWings
WaterWings's picture

ZH should make some targeted efforts, such as suggesting all readers go over and dogpile WSJ on a vote like this. Guerilla blogging. It would be funny, and a way to get noticed.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:10 | Link to Comment Arroneous
Arroneous's picture

Does anyone here actually think Volker will be any different???  

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:31 | Link to Comment Mr. Anonymous
Mr. Anonymous's picture

Yes.  That's why Summers banned him from last year's big meet-up.  And it's why he will never be Fed chairman again.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:44 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:15 | Link to Comment heatbarrier
heatbarrier's picture

Krugman vacilates, FWIW,

"Where am I? Right now, I’m agonizing — which isn’t a place I ever expected to be.

As I see it, the two things that worry me about Bernanke stem from the same cause: to a greater degree than I had hoped, he has been assimilated by the banking Borg."

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:22 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 12:51 | Link to Comment greased up deaf guy
greased up deaf guy's picture

heatbarrier, you are more of a man than me to voluntarily sniff out something krugman has to say. i don't think my stomach would be able to handle it, your reference included.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:18 | Link to Comment Andrei Vyshinsky
Andrei Vyshinsky's picture

Its absolutely paralyzing reading the gas that emits from so many people that ought to know better about this Bernancke appointment. Calculated Risk reports Delong with this comment:

"I think Bernanke is one of the best in the world for this job--I cannot think of anyone clearly better."

But, then again, Delong is subject to bouts of Regime love, is he not?

And, you guessed it, Paul Krugman with this one:

"As I said, I’m agonizing."

Someone, anyone, please prescribe a new and more effective emetic for this equivocating little maggot. He's "agonizing"? What's to agonize except for people as devoid of a moral engine as Paul Krugman. Maybe Paul thinks a calculated straddle will earn him the respect of both sides and ultimately the appointment himself. I'd believe that. I mean what an unmitigated schmendrick.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 13:25 | Link to Comment WaterWings
WaterWings's picture


Once you have a Nobel in your pocket you get paid for opining - who cares if you're wrong/didn't see the greatest economic crash of all time.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:27 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:32 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Latest news item on Bernanke has lame ducks Dodd and Gregg spewing confidence that Bernanke will get the votes.

Fade camera with shot of Chris Dodd on phone from his cottage in Ireland, talking about the good old days with Angelo Mozzillo.........

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:36 | Link to Comment mynhair
mynhair's picture

Let's get Larry Summers or Christine Romer in there!



Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:40 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:43 | Link to Comment Ruth
Ruth's picture

Just in case, and great job trying to educate the sheeple DH, I've put in my order for a pink helicopter.   Can we say SLIDE?!

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:47 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

I had a banking client into flying anything big time.  Went on a few helicopter rides with him.  Anyways, one day he just stops the helicopter mid air and hovers for a few minutes to stay out of a sector where other plane activity had picked up.  As I sat there looking down, I thought to myself: "what if this guy has a heart attack, right now?".

I have never since been in any aircraft that does not have at least two pilots!!

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 18:44 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

The House of Obama as Messiah central HQ at HuffPo has the following as their primarly headline, point here being the libs are still after him and do not want Bernanke....just saying......




Sun, 01/24/2010 - 01:41 | Link to Comment faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

Other point being: they're idiots.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:06 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Just hit the wires at ~5:30 from AP...partial article with salient updates:


WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama phoned Senate allies Saturday as two key senators predicted that embattled Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be confirmed for a second term.

Obama made calls from the White House to members of the Senate leadership and others and was assured Bernanke would win confirmation, a senior White House official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private phone calls.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the Bernanke confirmation by the end of this coming week, said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.


I wonder if he spoke with Mitch McConnell?

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:16 | Link to Comment RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Two U.S. senators, Republican Judd Gregg
and retiring Democrat Christopher Dodd, predicted in a joint statement
Saturday that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be

With Ben Bernanke facing a rocky reconfirmation, the markets are
getting jittery about the outlook for monetary policy. Tony Crescenzi,
Pimco's bond-fund manager, assesses next steps for investors in an
interview with MarketWatch's Laura Mandaro.

Despite reports that a number of Washington
lawmakers may revoke their support for the Fed chairman, the two key
members of the Senate's banking committee said Bernanke is likely to
keep his job, based on discussions with colleagues.

Dodd is the banking committee chairman.

"Chairman Bernanke has done an excellent job responding to one of the
most significant financial crises our country has ever encountered,"
the senators said in a written statement. "We support his nomination
because he is the right leader to guide the Federal Reserve in this
recovering economy."

President Barack Obama's plan to put restrictions on the nation's
biggest banks prompted talk among Democrats that they would withhold
support of Bernanke. But Obama himself offered support for the Fed
chairman, saying he was the "best person for the job."

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:19 | Link to Comment the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

The status quo on the issue wants the debate to go on. In the event of a full debate, the undecided Senators have a chance to vent their spleen before they vote yes. As for the opponents of Bernanke, mostly independents in one form or another; Bunning isn't going to run again, and Paul isn't taken seriously. I seriously don't believe that Reid wants to be perceived as the guy who shoved Bernanke down our throats with a simple majority of the Senate. The partisan whiplash could be severe. The status quo usually wins these matters, the longer they drag out. Grenspan testifies, Bunning rants and raves. Who do you think wins?

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:27 | Link to Comment sangell
sangell's picture

The Bernanke nomination isn't the only issue at stake here. Bernanke is the POTUS's nominee. If the Democrats can't confirm a nominee as central to the POTUS as Fed Chairman, especially after his healthcare plans went down the toilet Obama is severely weakened, virtually a lame duck at the beginning of his second year in office!

Why so many GOP Senators are on board for Bernanke is the puzzle. This is a free opportunity to humiliate Obama, cause him no end of problems and, likely, delay any psuedo economic recovery.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:31 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Why so many GOP Senators are on board for Bernanke is the puzzle

No puzzle, just goes to show how powerful the FIRE industry pocketbook is.  Wall Street buys Dems and Repubs, no difference to them.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:51 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 23:02 | Link to Comment moneymutt
moneymutt's picture

I realized there is nothing more important than congress servicing its master when I watch the presidential candidates reaction to the bailout. McCain had to know he'd win the popular vote for president if he voted against the bank bailout. Who ever wanted to be president more than McCain...he's old, he's tried several times, he'll never have a chance again and it seemed very personal to him....and right there in front of him was the brass ring...all he had to do was be his mavericky self and vote against the bailout, something that made is beloved punching bag, earmarks, look like pennies next to gold bar...and yet McCain did not bite, he dutifully supported bank bailout. The fix was in.

And Obama could also have been ensured a win if he voted against bailout...but he is such a rube, he just did whatever Rubin said and probably figured it was good politically and good for the country cause it was good for wall street.

That maverick McCain could not vote against bailout even when he knew it may likely cost him presidency shows me the fix was the point people knew they would die or suffer unspeakable shaming of some sort if they did not stay on task. I'll never forget how desperate and scared Paulson seemed when he was dealing with Congress on bailout, that whole kneeling to Pelosi...he wouldn't have done that just for money, he has plenty of that...

And I think its funny that conservatives think Repubs in DC share their values...that works for conservative about as well as it does for progressives and their Dem representatives. This is not Dem/Repub thing, it is a establishment, elite insiders vs regular people thing...establishment Dems and Repubs both are not working for our interests...that is why Grayson, Kucinich,Ron Paul etc agree on financial/economic things while the rest are sell outs or idiots.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 01:01 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 01:12 | Link to Comment andrew123
andrew123's picture

I agree with the sentiment, but not the analysis.  I don't beleive McCain or Obama realized that they could lock in the win voting against the bailout.  I beleive they either would have voted against if they thought it would mean a win.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:43 | Link to Comment Heroic Couplet
Heroic Couplet's picture

The State of the Union address is Wed, 27 Jan, 9 pm. What will Obama want to say?

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:53 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 14:32 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:20 | Link to Comment AN0NYM0US
AN0NYM0US's picture

no disrespect to the constabulary or anyone else (just substitute the word police with the word bankstas) I remember driving through Maine in the late eighties with this plugged into the cassette deck of my rusted out Toyota.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:39 | Link to Comment AN0NYM0US
AN0NYM0US's picture


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 19:59 | Link to Comment Tethys
Tethys's picture

Just connect the dots:

1) as ZH has pointed out, it is quite possible that the Fed (Bernanke) has been propping up treasuries beyond QE and the stock market via futures buying.  Politicians get something tangible to point to and show 'the economy is improving', and the banks are being rewarded with only a little finger pointing and a few slaps on the wrist to appease the few of the masses who are paying attention. Politicians and bankers playing nice, got each other's backs.

2) Massachusetts election comes along and shocks the system - politicians start getting nervous, setting up the classic prisoner's dilemma.  Looks like the bankers may be going down, why go down with them?  Tap into some populist rage and jump ship.

3) Bankers / Ben decide it's time to remind the politicians who's in charge, and all of a sudden the stock market is no longer being propped up.  If that doesn't do it, maybe a little trouble with the next treasury offering...?

Could play out a number of ways, but it appears to me that the bankers have the upper hand.  If they want Bernanke in, he will be voted in.  To minimize damage, you will see both cloture and the final vote pass with the absolute minimum number of votes to give the politicians maximum cover.  Or maybe they both agree to let Ben take the fall, and agree on essentially a Ben clone to fill the spot - problem solved (for them at least - Ben and J6P are out of luck).  Since both politicians and bankers lose if Ben is replaced by someone who would actually start dishing out the pain necessary to fix the problem, I really can't see that happening.


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:07 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Well reasoned and well written.  Thank you.

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:11 | Link to Comment AN0NYM0US
AN0NYM0US's picture


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 23:09 | Link to Comment moneymutt
moneymutt's picture

makes much sense, but I think they have plenty of pull to keep Bernanke in...

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:06 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 21:00 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

Calling Senators on a Saturday shows a level of desperation and possibly panic about this nomination.

This is absolutely correct and clearly summers won this battle to convince Obama to stay with bernanke, even in light of the anti wall street, anti Fed uprising.  Once the decision was made (and i think Obama was likely going back and forth on this one, particularly given Massachusetts), it has become an all out press this weekend.  I think the decision to plow ahead was made Friday and Reid's end of Friday announcement going from wishy washy to a "yes" vote came 2 minutes after he got the call from Rahm.

This is ultimately going to really hurt Obama with his base, he has slapped them in the face. 


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:25 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:43 | Link to Comment pigpen
pigpen's picture

The theater is over. Ben is back. All financial centers NC, NY, IL, TN, CT, VA, NJ and Uncle Warren's NE need BB in place. My senators listened to Brown Massacre in Mass and Babs and Diane are voting no. Easy to see the repubs hang ben and bush's water around obusha's neck.

End the fed, end the dems and repubs, vote for ron and rand paul.

End the political monopoly and vote for any non RNC or DNC sponsored candidate. Whoever is the party establishment candidate DO NOT VOTE for that person. Supreme court did us a favor - we can now see with full transparency who the corporate fascists want in office and with the internet and the liberty and freedom lovers we can react accordingly.



Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:54 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:57 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 20:53 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 23:38 | Link to Comment moneymutt
moneymutt's picture

they put a fork in it...200 some years was a nice run. Whoever has/had the most money when this SCOTUS ruling was made wins, end of story. Its not just end of democracy, little guy, its end of competition, free markets, because which ever business in any given sector has the most money at the moment of this ruling wins...they can get govt to take out their competition just like a corrupt cop protects his drug dealer client by arresting all his clients competition, not unlike GSacs in 2008, except now it won't take decades of infiltration, a wealthy business can effectuate legislation protecting and promoting them within a few short years. Businesses at top can stop anti-trust regs, get no bid contracts for anything from prescription drugs to fighting wars (oh wait, that already happened with Medicare part D/Pharma and Blackwater and Halliburton/Iraq War but it will get way worse)

The strange thing is, I think the worst effects will be felt locally first. A developer could own a town council. A mining company could buy the mayor. Shoot a drug dealer could launder money through a legit company and buy the sheriff.

BTW - I don't know why this SCOTUS ruling is not big scary news on Fox news and also has been hardly mentioned on ZH...The likes of Goldman Sacs who have been master corrupters now have an even freer reign than ever before and conservatives hardy seem to care, Scott Brown is apparently much more exciting than 100 years of precedent, including very recent rulings are categorically overthrown, without legal precedent nor change in popular sentiment about the issue.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 20:33 | Link to Comment Tethys
Tethys's picture

I have heard speculation that the reason that the networks are not extensively covering the ruling is that they stand to benefit significantly when those political ad dollar$ start rolling in.

I can't seem to get too worked up over the SCOTUS ruling - I'm guessing a lot of stuff that was already going on under the table will now be 'legal'.  It's not as if the politicians weren't already bought and paid for before this.

All the more reason to try to enjoy what time may be remaining before the 'reset'.  For the average Joe (and Jane), the choice has long been between whether you will be violated by the too-big-to-fail corporations or the government.  Since there really is no lesser of the two evils, at least I can take the time to smell the flowers while I am bent over...


Sat, 01/23/2010 - 21:02 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 21:27 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 21:54 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 04:03 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sat, 01/23/2010 - 23:29 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

per msnbc based on a cnbc report (yeah, i know), looks like they are calling Bernanke a done deal (once again) and he is in.  if you don't want to read the article, the updated news is that John Kerry went "yes" and number 2 Senator Dick Durbin went "yes"

Sat, 01/23/2010 - 23:55 | Link to Comment Fidel Sarcastro
Fidel Sarcastro's picture

What? I won't be renominated just because I resemble Lenin?

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 00:24 | Link to Comment Assetman
Assetman's picture

I think the signs point to Bernanke being renominated, but I think what is intersting is what may happen AFTER the vote and BB is sitting smugly in a 2nd term.

Obushma and his pollsters see the public opposition, and perhaps, they are understimating the extent of the political damage.  Incumbents who give out at 'YES' votes do so at their own political peril.  What they are reliant on is Bernanke pulling the lever on a miraculous recover that just isn't going to happen.

As for the banksters, well, they are just play a bit of political blackmail by stepping aside the equity market prop job and giving the masses an illusion of fear.  For those who aren't awake, their downdrafting a HIGHLY MANIPULATED market-- and they have the power to dictate the incremental direction from day to day.

Perhaps its just wishful thinking, but I hope there is an unforseen 6 standard deviation event that makes all this political blackmailing stuff moot... just so long as that event does kill innocent lives.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 12:53 | Link to Comment deadhead
deadhead's picture

as usual, very wise words from you Assetman.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 15:54 | Link to Comment greased up deaf guy
greased up deaf guy's picture

assetman, i assume you meant to say, "just as long as that event does NOT kill innocent lives."

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 00:51 | Link to Comment Hustler Elite
Hustler Elite's picture

Thanks for the continual updates DH. Bernanke being confirmed for a second term may actually work to the establishment's disadvantage. 


- The masses anger will only grow with his re-appointment


- Due to the mass media coverage of this story the general public may indirectly see that it was both Dems & Repubs working together to get Bernanke back.


- If things do not dramatically improve (there is virtually no way they can) and there is no false flag to distract people this could lead to much greater support of politicians like Ron Paul who does not fit within the establishments mold in the 2012 Presidential election.


I know i am giving the general public way too much credit in terms of their being able to interpret all this, but all would have to agree that populist anger is on the rise and some if it is being directed straight at the Fed which is a great start overall.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 01:53 | Link to Comment faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

I'm having a hard time understanding why it really matters who is Fed Chair at this point, given that a replacement would only be allowed to rearrange deck chairs.

My thinking is, we're past the point of no return, and whatever happens, it can't end well.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 07:02 | Link to Comment loki
loki's picture

Amen to that.  Joe6P?  Hasn't a clue. 

"They" (oligarchs and their assistants) know that the average person is :

1) too dumb/uninformed to know,

2) too busy trying to make a living, feed family, pay bills, get their cancer treated to have time to know,

3) incapable of effecting any change whatsoever and now, with SCOTUS giving rich corporations unlimited access to the best Congress money can buy -- now, the little guy is just done. Toast.

We're fucked.  Truly fucked.  The matrix is unexitable.  Get to work.  The oligarchs need more shaved truffles on their eggs.

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 06:23 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 09:07 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 10:44 | Link to Comment Madcow
Madcow's picture

How do you want your medicine folks?

a) gold 1000, dow 1000

b) gold 5000, dow 5000

c) gold 10,000, dow 10,000

d) gold 15,000, dow 15,000

Gold is money, and money strengthens on a relative basis in deflation. All the Fed Chairman can do is agitate for the degree to which the adjustment is made via the numerator or denominator.

Personally, I'm hoping for "a."  There's a 4 bedroom apartment in Grammercy Park I've had my eye on for a while. I'd be happy to snap it up for $100K (USD).  


Sun, 01/24/2010 - 10:50 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 11:50 | Link to Comment order6102
order6102's picture

Volker for Fed Chief, Reagan for President!

Sun, 01/24/2010 - 12:56 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Sun, 01/24/2010 - 19:08 | Link to Comment trav7777
trav7777's picture

the problem is that the politicians care about ONE and only one thing.  That is getting reelected.  These guys are all incrowd now and the incrowd's singular goal is to stay in and also to get rich, shamelessly so.

They know NOTHING about economics.

The Fed offers them advice and assures them...what petrifies Bama?  That he'll go down in history as a Hoover, one of the worst Presidents in history.  That he'll be a one-term failure of a President.

They have NO CLUE what is wrong, what happened - after all, ALL the economists said that the economy was freakin GREAT for a decade.  We had .com wealth, housing wealth, it was full speed ahead, everyone was getting rich and everyone was happy.

The politicians just want that back.  They will go with anyone who says "I can save you, I have the answer."  That is where the Fed and the Geithners come in.  They are saying just do what Raygun did.  Everyone wants to have Raygun's economy or Clitton's economy, the boom times.  They don't care or even grasp how this was built on a 30-year illusion of a pyramid of debt.  That's an eye glazer for a politician, who is by definition a know-nothing narcissist.  Politicians are like news anchors, they're fking idiots who appear smooth reading lines on TV.

To hear "it's over, we're done, this the end of the empire, we have to cut the government and go through the pain" is UNACCPETABLE.  Anyone who's worked in a govt or big corporation knows that "negativity" like this is IMMEDIATELY rejected and the person who advances reality is pushed out.

The people right now have the Glenn Beck thorn in their asses, but they don't really WANT reality either. They want their share of the bailout.  If the money starts going to the ordinary citizen, they are ALL aboard with inflation.

Let's see the people endure the pain of paying back all these guarantees that the TBTFs loaded onto us during these bailouts.  Let's see it.  We're weak as a nation and we have no stomach for REAL austerity.  Look out across the 50 states if you don't believe me - they can't cut ANYTHING.

Bernanke's current predicament is political theatre.  Are they really going to jack rates and immediately bk our gov't?  Nevermind the prices of ANYTHING that depended upon a flow of cheap money.  You will see foreclosures double and triple, a full-on deflationary crash as a result of the interest cost of money suckin the cash out of the economy.  It would be over within a month.

Bama's worst fear is to be in the history books as the last President of the US, the President who had the crash on his watch, as the ultimate failure.  He really thought he could smile a lot, spout BS, and let the economics wizards handle it.  Neither he nor the rest have ANY grasp of what's going on.

In fact, when Paulson and BB said give us this or this is the end, they were RIGHT.  We were facing deflationary collapse, staring it right in the face, systemic bank runs, runs even on sovereigns that morning of the 18th.  The entire system was coming apart.

The ONLY ANSWER as I had said repeatedly on TF was for the CBs to forgive the ultimate debts, iow, to print money.  That is ALL that can relieve the service costs of the paper accounting known as debt.  It won't save the economy but it will balance the ledger.  Insofar as anyone pays attention to "debt" and real people seize real assets and liquidate them in order to pay these fictions known as "debt" and "interest," the system has inherent implosiveness.

The economy doesn't run on money and more money won't save it.  All the more money can do is prevent liquidations, especially of the Federal Gov't.

Wed, 02/10/2010 - 02:22 | Link to Comment Anonymous
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