John McCain

The Most Important Guy They've Never Heard Of


This week, when Ben S. Bernanke gave his first congressional testimony as chairman of the Federal Reserve, The New York Times noted that his "name is still unfamiliar to some members of Congress." A couple weeks ago the Times reported that prominent senators who would vote the very next day to confirm Alan Greenspan's successor were still a little hazy on the nomination:

Here is what Senator George Allen of Virginia, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said when asked his opinion of the Bernanke nomination.

"For what?"

Told that Mr. Bernanke was up for the Fed chairman's job, Mr. Allen hedged a little, said he had not been focused on it, and wondered aloud when the hearings would be. Told that the Senate Banking Committee hearings had concluded in November, the senator responded: "You mean I missed them all? I paid no attention to them."…

[Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)], who joked during a 2000 presidential debate that if Mr. Greenspan died, he would "prop him up and put a pair of dark glasses on him," in a repeat of a prank in the movie "Weekend at Bernie's," said he did not know too much about Mr. Bernanke, but was comforted to know that Mr. Greenspan had a high opinion of him.

"It hasn't gotten a lot of attention," Senator McCain said, "but I think he'll be carefully scrutinized in his hearings, and the view that other people have of him will carry a lot of weight in the financial world, particularly Greenspan."

Mr. McCain was asked if he would be surprised to learn that the hearings were over. He paused, his eyes widening, before giving the verbal equivalent of a knock on the forehead: "You're right, you're right, you're right. Duuuuuh."

Are members of Congress so busy perusing Hustler that they don't have time to glance at The Wall Street Journal?

NEXT: For the (Movie) Turnstiles...

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Look, what do you want? It’s easy to get busy with inserting pork projects into spending bills and fail to notice who’s being appointed to the most financially influential post on Earth.

  2. Really, the robot overlords won’t be any worse. Even if they end up plotting our destruction.

    Say, to commemorate the departure of a formerly “libertarian” Fed chairman (actually, just coming up with an excuse to say the following in this thread), I think Reason should host a web page entitled, “The Top 100 Things I’d Do if I Ever Became a Libertarian President”. Obviously, this is modeled on the insanely wonderful Peter’s Evil Overlord List, but, since most of the readers here oppose evil overlords, my proposed list would be more appropriate for this venue. Reason could come up with its own entries and take reader submissions. The editors and writers (or a select panel) could decide on the top 100, then, voil?!

    Here’s a few:

    • Have AC/DC play “For Those about to Rock”–live–before all of my televised addresses to the American people.
    • Appoint Penn Jillete as Secretary of State.
    • Immediately pardon all of the people in prison for consensual crimes, provided that they all come party with me at the White House (at their own expense, of course).
    • Date a Suicide Girl while in office.
    • Hire Howard Stern as my Press Secretary.
    • Fire 99% of the IRS, then tell the remaining staff to forget about collecting the income tax–we just don’t seem to have the resources. Or maybe get rid of the IRS altogether and just run regular fundraising events ala PBS and NPR. Donors of $1,000,000,000 or more get their faces on U.S. currency for a year.
  3. Oh, sure they’ll plot our destruction, but if Battlestar Galactica has taught us anything, it’s that they’ll eventually create really really hot replicant women to seduce us to father their human-replicant hybrid abomination babies. But they’re really hot.

    I think Teller would be a better SecState.

  4. I’m kinda glad that the politicians and the public have no idea who the Fed chairman is. It means that there is still hope.

  5. Can’t have Penn without Teller! There would be some utility to a Secretary of State that just stared at foreign dignitaries without saying anything.

    • Nominate Milton Friedman as Fed chairman.
  6. Pro Libertate – I thought Congress already subscribed to the philosophy of AC/DC.

    I’m thinking of Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire).

    • To promote the colonization of Mars, I’d eliminate all NASA funding, but, to make up the funding shortfall, I’d run an ad stating, “If you don’t fund my space program, I’ll kill this dog“.
  7. Happy Jack, there’s also their smash hit, “Have Some Pork on Me”.

  8. “Are members of Congress so busy perusing Hustler that they don’t have time to glance at The Wall Street Journal?”

    No, they’re busy fucking up people’s lives with inane, authoritarian laws.

    • I’d veto every bill that crossed my desk, unless it was sponsored by Ron Paul.
  9. This is great news. Imagine if they paid attention to the Fed Chair nomination- they might figure out that he controls the money supply and then try to coopt him into helping them with their porkbarrel spending.

  10. I’d host a massive post-inaugeral bash and invite only third-party members. Particularly the Guns and Dope Party, the Pansexual Peace Party, and the infamous PARTIE Party. And the Commies, because what the hell, they are always a laugh.

  11. I’d also fire most of the cabinet and not nominate any replacements.

  12. If I were ever in a position where I might become a Libertarian President, the night before the Electoral College voted I’d hire chaperones to make sure that none of my electors did anything stupid.

    We don’t need my electors to be kept from attendance due to intoxication, incarceration, self-inflicted gunshot wounds, bites from rabid ferrets, or leaving their car keys and wallets in some stranger’s bedroom.

    The last thing we need is for some guy to show up two days late, totally stoned, and be like “Hey, man, isn’t this the day when we vote or something?”

    And I sort of dig the irony of hiring nannies for the people who are going to sweep away the nanny state.

    • I’d give each member of Congress his own Secret Service escort. Every time a Congressman tried to violate the Constitution, his Secret Service escort would slap him.
  13. Actually, I wonder what sort of measures candidates take to ensure the availability and loyalty of electors. It might not matter in a 350-188 landslide, but in 2000 you know damn well that both sides were biting their nails. A couple of electors flake out on one side, and the other side stays united, and suddenly everything changes.

    I wonder how many chaperones were employed the night before. They probably called them bodyguards, but same difference. If I had been in charge of either side, I would have planned low-key festivities in every state the night before, complete with transportation, to make sure that everybody on my team was safe and happy going into the vote.

  14. Pro Libertate, I think you’ve got a great idea here, but I’m finding myself stuck on the idea of “If I were President”, since my dream is of a president that does very little, so if it were me, I would take lots of vacations and party a lot.

    Many of the changes I would love to see aren’t within the power of the president to make (I’m talking about the constitutional president, not the absolute-power version we seem to be stuck with)

    Now, if you phrased it as Top things I would do to change the entire system…

    • Sitting in Congress and heckling loudly would be a favorite hobby.
  15. Qbryzan, there’s quite a few things a president can do. He’s got the appointment power. He’s commander-in-chief. He has a great deal of authority in carrying out most laws. He can propose legislation. He can veto, veto, veto. He can pardon or threaten to pardon anyone he wants. He has the “bully pulpit”, from where he can try to get popular support for anything he wants to do. He can refuse to enforce laws that he believes to be unconstitutional. He has lots of power in the foreign policy/treaty-making area.

  16. Oh, yeah, I get that, it’s just that it comes down to the same sort of problem that is endemic to the system – too much forward motion. The veto is a good start, but I’d love to see more limits on everyone doing anything. Gridlock is our friend.

    Plus I’m thinking of things like – congress can pass no law, unless they repeal 10 others first. At some point you’d have to stop, of course, but I don’t think that’s a real problem at the moment.

  17. Actually, I wonder what sort of measures candidates take to ensure the availability and loyalty of electors.

    In Florida the electors sign an agreement (required by state law) to vote the party line when they sign up. I don’t know what the penalty is or if it’s even enforceable. After all, the Constitution does not say anything about electors being bound to vote for anyone, does it?

    I understand a number of states have such laws.

  18. Isaac-

    I’ve heard conflicting things about the constitutionality of such laws. Whatever the case may be, whatever the precedents may say, if somebody felt like forcing the issue he could at the very least create a mess that nobody wants. So I wonder what measures the parties took during the close contest of 2000 to ensure that nobody made a mess.

    Obviously the most important measure was to pick loyal people. Still, when it only takes a few troublemakers to change the course of history, you can never be sure that a few people won’t crack. So I wonder what was done to keep them happy, loyal, and safe in the days leading up to the vote. By both sides.

  19. So I wonder what was done to keep them happy, loyal, and safe in the days leading up to the vote.

    Hookers + Cameras = Happy & Blackmail-able

  20. There’s an excellent argument that electors can vote however the heck they feel like voting, regardless of state law. As a result, the LP’s course to victory is clear. Take all those prostitutes and drugs that the LP is famous for, use them judiciously to persuade electors that Libertarian really is the way to vote, then take office ten weeks later. After winning a whoppin’ 0.5% of the popular vote. Chortle.

  21. I’d take the FBI, CIA, and NSA off of the War on Drugs and the War on Terror and have them spy on a far more dangerous enemy: Congress.

  22. I’d veto every omnibus spending bill until they passed a line item veto amendment or broke the bastards up.

  23. To Senators, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve is to the economy as the feather was to pre-flight Dumbo. And they are correct.

    I’m sure McCain has used the pickup line of, “Tickle your ass with a feather,” which can be instantly alleged to have been, “Particularly nasty weather,” in case a damsel takes offense.

  24. The question is if the new Fed Chairman ever got a piece of Ayn Rand’s ass.

  25. Here’s an idea that I don’t think would fall under the power of the president – Have a position “Director of Truth or Dare”, whose sole job is peppering all pending legislation with comments like “Bill Frist must shave his head”, or “Rick Santorum must always speak in pig latin”, so that anytime they pass legislation and they don’t bother to read it, they run the risk of being required by law to never wear shoes, or have to address everyone they ever talk to as “Cap’n”. It would be funny, it would embarass them, and maybe if they were motivated to actually read the crap they vote on it would slow them down.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.