On Sunday, Larry Summers withdrew his name from consideration for Federal Reserve chairman after weeks of speculation and controversy that he would be chosen over Janet Yellen for a position many said he'd be a horrible, sexist fit for. But now that Summers is out, what does that mean for Yellen, who could be named first female Fed Chair?
In his letter to President Obama announcing his withdrawal, Summers wrote:
This is a complex moment in our national life. I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interests of the Federal Reserve, the Administration, or ultimately, the interests of the nation's ongoing economic recovery.
Summers was Obama's first choice; at the end of the August, the future looked bright for him. But as the Washington Post notes, in recent weeks, important members of the Democratic party who would have been needed to confirm Summers weren't going to do so. And it's not just democrats who are happy about a no-Summers Federal Reserve: ion Monday morning, the markets were already in an upswing, which analysts attributed to the Summers announcement, due to the fact that, as Neil Irwin points out, Summers wasn't clear about what he would have done in the role of Fed Chair, while Yellen has been.
Women's groups are also ecstatic: as NOW president Terry O'Neill told BuzzFeed, the best thing Obama could do now is put Summers behind him and move forward with Yellen:
“It was absolutely a battle between women’s groups and the president. I was very surprised the president didn’t understand how much damage he would do to his legacy if he passed over a better qualified woman in order to put a less qualified man in place who was his friend,” she said. “This is something that women have observed and experienced over and over again in our lives and in our work and it makes us cross-eyed with frustration.”
And finally, Irin Carmon writes that there's "karmic justice" to Summers' loss of this job:
Not only did Yellen seemingly getting passed over strengthen suspicions that women have to be twice as good and work twice as hard, but Summers getting another shot despite his well-documented foibles said a lot about who gets a second (and third and fourth) chance.
Time is now ticking and the President has to work quickly to nominate a new candidate; some speculate that he wants to nominate former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, despite Geithner's lack of interest (anyone but that Yellen woman!). Hopefully for everyone, Obama will do the smart thing put up Yellen and we can all stop talking about this Larry Summers guy because right now, it's starting to look like he knows some secret about her that we all don't.
Images via AP