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August 30, 2013 12:23 PM Is Larry Summers the New Susan Rice?

By Ed Kilgore

At Business Insider Josh Barro notes that it’s only the White House’s semi-public effort to convince unwilling critics Left and Right of the ontological necessity of appointing Larry Summers that has made the Fed Chair appointment controversial. He compares the situation to the one where Obama’s insistence on Chuck Hagel created an avoidable confirmation fight over the Secretary of Defense.

If Larry Summers withdrew himself from consideration, or the White House announced that it isn’t going to pick him, the circus tents would pack up and we could all go home. The Fed Chair race would become uncontroversial and boring again,

Well, the Hagel nomination is one analogy. But another is John Kerry’s nomination as Secretary of State after Republicans punched themselves into exhaustion fighting the possibility of Susan Rice getting the gig.

I have absolutely no evidence that the White House is up to a similar tactic with the Fed, but it is clear that if Obama relents on Summers or the haughty economist decides against enduring a bloody fight, Obama could pretty much have his pick of a Fed chairman Not Named Larry, and she or he would be confirmed before the chattering classes had finished yapping about the Summers non-selection. If it rolls out that way, you read it here first.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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