Throughout the Federal Reserve’s 100-year history, the Senate has generally deferred to the president’s choice of leader for the central bank. If Larry Summers is picked for the job, however, the debate around his nomination would be unlike any that has come before.
For reasons that make a great deal of political sense, some Republicans and more Democrats will resist the nomination. Such a roll of the dice by the Barack Obama administration could have short-term unsettling consequences for financial markets. Over time, whatever the outcome, the Summers nomination process will be viewed as a lesson in why and how American democracy works.