Ezra Klein's Concern Trolling on Obama and the Federal Reserve


As soon as news hit the wires that Larry Summers has withdrawn his name from consideration for chair of the Federal Reserve, the media went on a full-spin mode, likely embarrassed that just Friday, they were pimping a Japanese newspaper report trumpeting Summers as the chosen one. Ezra Klein, who'd been part of the media build-up toward that 'inevitability,' if along with his opposition to it.

This is where a little Obama Derangement Syndrome seeped in. Ezra, along with his peers in the beltway media - dude, get out a little from you Post office and the MSNBC studios; it'll do you some good - wasn't just convinced that Summers would be a bad choice, but that Obama would pick him just to take pleasure in some hippie-punching, i.e. just to piss off establishment media liberals like Klein.

And then, it didn't happen. Larry Summers withdrew. So one part of the narrative that Klein had taken so much care to be an integral part of fell apart. But the other part - the imaginary Obama determined to piss off liberals? Well, you can't let that go as easily! It must - must - be shown that just because Summers is gone doesn't mean Obama still won't punch the hippies! So Ezra Klein penned a Sunday evening column, attacking a strawman Barack Obama and warning how horrible it would be if Obama were to deny Janet Yellen, the liberal favorite to head the Fed, the nomination just to settle political scores with the ideologue Left, who Ezra Klein clearly wishes to credit for the withdrawal of Larry Summers.
There are two reasons Yellen might not be named to the Federal Reserve. One is that President Obama or his key advisors think she would do a bad job. The other is that the White House feels that nominating her would be a dangerous capitulation -- it would show they could be pushed around by liberal Democrats.[...]

As for the idea that it would be bad "optics" to shatter a glass ceiling and appoint the insanely qualified, widely respected, Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve -- that's the kind of Washington nuttiness this White House typically prides itself in being above. To deny Yellen the post out of spite or fear would be, or at least should be, beneath them.
Except that no one from the White House or the Administration has said that (a) that Janet Yellen won't be the president's nominee to lead the Fed, or that (b) if she isn't, it will be out of spite. As Klein himself notes, the White House has always held Yellen, currently the Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, in high esteem (along with quickly running away from anti-Summers advocacy).

Ezra presents a convincing account of Yellen's qualifications, which exactly no one from the White House has called into question. Yellen has been one of the top candidates under consideration by President Obama, and should the president make her the nominee, it will be on the merits, not because the president wishes to appease a political faction. If he does not, whoever his choice is will also be on the merits, and not to spite said political faction.

Just as the Left tied itself in a knot over President Obama's "betrayal" that he nominated someone as qualified as Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (because by arrangement, Elizabeth Warren chose to set up the agency rather than head it), it is now doing the same thing over first an imaginary nomination to the Fed that didn't happen and now another imaginary nomination that they see a strawman Obama as denying them out of pure spite. Take that attitude, phrase it as a question (oh, will he?), write it in the Post, and let the ethers go crazy.

There you have your textbook concern trolling. It doesn't suit you, Ezra.

I get it. The media and its luminaries have a problem accepting the fact that President Blackenstein is smarter than them. They have trouble understanding that things may not always work the way they think they are, and they lack, for the love of all things holy, the humility to comprehend why their narratives, time after time, fall flat with this president. They always come out looking like fools who don't know what they're talking about - which they kind of are - and to cover up for that embarrassment, they start to concern troll.

But if they really want to avoid embarrassment, it shouldn't be hard. Stop babbling about "near certainties" and "foregone conclusions" without actual confirmation from the source that has the power to make the decisions you want to say are 'foregone conclusions.' Stop trying to get the scoop first, and concentrate on getting the story right in the first place. Worry less about building a narrative and more about reporting the facts, and let the chips fall where they may.

Look, I like Ezra. His 'wonkbook' does a pretty good job of examining actual economic policies, and that's appreciated. But Ezra Klein seems to be taking the Paul Krugman route of combining a political rookie smell with a Leftist version of Obama Derangement Syndrome that only hurts his policy gravitas. He still has time to step back. I hope he tries.