A memo written by Republicans, citing e-mail and internal Fed documents that were subpoenaed from the central bank, is building a case that Mr. Bernanke was a Machiavellian autocrat who forced Bank of America to go through with a disastrous merger that it no longer wanted to complete. ...
Despite Mr. Bernanke’s Republican roots, and the fact that President Bush nominated him to be Fed chairman, the Republican memo prepared for the hearing on Thursday describes Mr. Bernanke as a champion of government intrusion and an ally of President Obama.
My colleague Jon Chait made a great point at our editorial meeting last week, which is that the problem with expanding the Fed's mandate isn't so much that the Fed will politicize it, but that the GOP will. He worried that the next time a Republican president gets to appoint a Fed chairman, it'll be a Harvey Pitt-style hack rather than an apolitical technocrat, per the bipartisan tradition. But this seems equally troubling--that the GOP will target the Fed chairman with the kind of scorched-earth campaign it normally reserves for windsurfing Massachusetts senators. (In fact, you can probably interpret the latter as a prelude to the former.)