The grand game.

This is how the WaPo's Dana Milbank sees DC, in the context of Ben Bernanke's nomination as Fed Chairman:


At a time when President Bush's nominees to the Supreme Court bring apocalyptic cries from one side or the other, members of the Senate Banking Committee lined up to celebrate Bernanke's nomination before he even uttered a word.
"The best possible candidate," announced Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), "may well be the finest monetary economist of his generation." Bernanke looked down modestly.
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.), the first Democrat to speak, was no less gushing. "The president, in my view, has made a superb decision in nominating you," he said. "Your academic credentials . . . are tremendously impressive, if not unsurpassed." Bernanke gave a shy, appreciative smile.
One by one, the others -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- heaped the praise higher: "most qualified," "finest," "exemplary," "enthusiastically support."
Later in the piece, Milbank offers this odd observation, which anyone who follows economics will tell you is complete horse pucky:
The political scene has grown ever more divided and bitter in recent years, but the dismal science offers a happy exception. Ideological wars once wracked the profession, pitting Keynesians against Milton Friedman's followers and turning the Fed into a football…. But the ideologues have been replaced by a new generation of economists who eschew grand theories for technical expertise in microeconomics and finance.
Milbank titled his column, "Fed Nominee's First Feat: Bridging the Partisan Divide." See, the blathering class sees Bush's nomination woes as just a manifestation of the "partisan divide." That's because they're so dazzled by the power game that they've become blind and deaf to substance.

Milbank apparently can't imagine that objections to right-wing ideologues like John Bolton or Sam Alito are about anything but petty politics. He looks at a smooth confirmation process for a well-qualified, highly respected nominee like Bernanke and doesn't see how it contradicts the Republican claim that Senate Dems are 'obstructionists' just for the sake of obstruction. He's face-to-face with evidence that they don't block confirmations without having real concerns about the people Bush is nominating, but it seems to go right over his head.

One thing that's clear about DC is that everything has been reduced to a game. The two major parties and the mainstream media play it, the "outside groups," bloggers and major campaign donors are the fans and the courts referee - or so we hope.

What about you and me? Well, we come into play briefly every second November.

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