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About a third of the Senate's Democrats have signed a letter urging President Obama to appoint the eminently qualified Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve. The letter reportedly does not mention Larry Summers, but it's clear that he is the unpalatable alternative spurring the senators to campaign for Yellen:
"There's a lot of concern among a lot of Democrats about an appointment of Larry Summers to that long-term position as Fed chairman," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), who signed the letter. "He was one of the architects of getting rid of Glass-Steagall, of getting rid of other regulations." [...]
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said she had signed the letter, as did Sen. Angus King, an Independent from Maine, who described Ms. Yellen as an "excellent candidate'' with "a strong track record.''
Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), the assistant majority leader, also confirmed the existence of the letter and said he also had signed it. He said the letter was being circulated by Sen. Sherrod Brown, a liberal Democrat from Ohio.
Summers has been actively campaigning for the position of Fed chair for years and, in recent weeks, has increasingly been spoken of as a likely choice by Obama, a possibility that's been widely panned. Yellen is vice chair of the Federal Reserve's board of governors, after a long and solid career including stints at the Council of Economic Advisors and leading the San Francisco Federal Reserve. What Summers has that she lacks is what Felix Salmon describes as a "generally toxic combination of ego and temper," but "surprisingly excellent" skill at "cultivating people with real power."
A Summers choice would lay the groundwork for future economic crisis and would send a message that a bullying, egotistical man who's wrong about everything is preferable to a highly qualified, non-bullying woman.