Ben Bernanke was chairman of the Federal Reserve under George W. Bush, chosen because Bush thought he was like-minded and sympathetic to conservative financial ideas. Indeed, he was Republican and he’d headed up Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers before being appointed to the Fed in 2006. In 2014, Bernanke’s tenure at the Fed came to an end. Now, it seems, so has his relationship with the Republican Party.
MSNBC reports that Bernanke said, in a book titled, “The Courage to Act,” it was ongoing problems with hardliners like Ron Paul that pushed him away from the GOP. He believes that the economic crisis in 2008 created radical factions within the GOP, and those factions make it a party he can no longer support.
Incredibly, his biggest problem is the GOP’s insistence on catering to the “know-nothing-ism of the far right.” That’s almost shocking for someone who willingly served under a president that was as dense as George the Lesser. Bernanke showed surprising intelligence for a Republican, though, and says that he didn’t leave the party, the party left him.
MSNBC cites an article from Quartz, which explores Bernanke’s book more thoroughly. Bernanke said, according to Quartz‘s piece:
[T]he increasing hostility of the Republicans to the Fed and to me personally troubled me, particularly since I had been appointed by a Republican president who had supported our actions during the crisis. I tried to listen carefully and accept thoughtful criticisms. But it seemed to me that the crisis had helped to radicalize large parts of the Republican Party.
A man who was chosen for his conservative sympathies shouldn’t have had to fight with the hardliners like that. It’s the same thing that likely led to John Boehner stepping down as House Speaker. The Tea Party wing of the GOP is batsh*t insane, and the more reasonable Republicans can’t handle it. The Tea Party thinks it’s doing something noble, but they’re really just making a mockery of our entire political process.
Back in 2013, Bernanke fought the ridiculous Republican accusation that our slow economic recovery was all Obama’s fault. He said, according to an MSNBC piece at the time, that it was Republican fiscal policy that was hurting our recovery. Indeed, Republicans kept pushing austerity, which does hinder economic growth in times of recession. They’re still pushing austerity, saying that runaway government spending is one of the roots of our problems. Sadly, people believe them.
Of course, as a (former) Republican, Bernanke thinks that Democrats have their own delusions about economic and fiscal policy. He’s not ready to become a Democrat, probably because of that, and considers himself a moderate independent now. Bernanke ran away, and others will run away, too. The GOP is in a lot of trouble because of the Tea Party.