News that President Trump may nominate Stephen Moore and Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors has invited pushback by pretend-serious people supposedly concerned about these men’s qualifications. The notion that these detractors would accept some other “Good Republican,” just not these two, is a farce.
The Good Republican would mostly agree with Democrats about the horribleness of other Republicans, scowl at standard Republican policies and nod along on a panel of liberals on your television. Moore and Cain aren’t Good Republicans, and that’s why their credentials are called into question.
Instead of spending the last two years going after Trump on policy and crafting an attractive agenda, liberals decided the president was a Russian spy. It makes sense they would extend the insanity to his nominees.
The Washington Post’s excitable faux-conservative blogger, Jennifer Rubin, called Cain and Moore “outrageously irresponsible picks.” Rubin goes after any Republican who dares line up with the president on anything — even on positions Rubin herself once held. (Rubin might have the strangest gig in American journalism: She pretends to represent conservatives at the Washington Post while simultaneously tearing them all down.)
In a tweet-storm Friday, Paul Krugman called Herman Cain a “clown” and Moore “an incompetent, dishonest hack.” Krugman has never met a Republican he didn’t viciously despise and has called the mild-mannered and accomplished Mitt Romney “amoral” and “a dangerous fool.” Even a Good Republican like Romney gets the Krugman smear treatment.
New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait similarly called Cain “an unqualified hack.” Chait, like Krugman, does this to every Republican. In 2003, he wrote a piece for The New Republic that began: “I hate President George W. Bush. There, I said it.”
Cain and Moore, in other words, shouldn’t have expected fair treatment from the mainstream media. Yet both men have the right experience for the Fed seats to which they are likely to be nominated.
Start with Cain, whose US Senate campaign I worked on in 2004 and who has extensive experience in economics and finance.
From 1995 to 1997, he served as the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, having served as deputy chairman for two years before that.
If that’s not relevant experience, what’s the point of the Regional Bank Boards?
As for Stephen Moore, he has worked as an economist at both the conservative Heritage Foundation and the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. He has also served as an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal and occasionally contributes to these pages.
“Moore is an evangelist for tax cutting and helped to design Donald Trump’s tax plan,” his former Journal colleagues wrote about Moore. “For this, he can never be forgiven in faculty precincts and by the Beltway economic press corps that is steeped in Keynesian dogma as thoroughly as any faculty lounge.”
That’s exactly it. The critics are being deceitful that their problem with Moore or Cain is about qualifications. They should be honest that it’s just political disagreement.
In addition to his supply-side views on taxation, Moore has been an advocate for free-market policies, especially free trade, though these days he often lines up with the president on tariffs. I disagree with this new economic direction, and it’s fair to go after Moore on his reversals. It’s less fair to say, however, that he’s too inexperienced for the Fed.
As for Cain: I can tell you that the left’s caricature of the man is simply inaccurate. Yes, he invited some of the caricaturing with his tendency to answer “9-9-9!” to every question. But the media turned him into a joke in a way they don’t do to, say, Bernie Sanders, who for years has called for “breaking up the banks” but draws a complete blank when asked any detailed follow-up questions.
Fact is, the media distort and exaggerate everything Republicans do and say. Mitt Romney and his binders full of women — hoho! Marco Rubio’s awkward sip of water — heehee! For an agenda-driven media, it’s easy to make good people look ridiculous.
Republicans shouldn’t wait for the media to be fair to them, but the Cain and Moore nominations give the GOP a chance to stand up to that unfairness. They should take it.
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