Roger Lowenstein did something right. He composed a long cover story for the April Atlantic that avoided a cliche so obvious that to not use it must have been like consciously not thinking of elephants. The thesis of “The Villain” was that Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke, despite “visceral criticism” from all sides, has threaded the national economy through its greatest crisis since the Depression.
Here’s how the Atlantic introduced the piece. “The left hates him. The right hates him even more. But Ben Bernanke saved the economy—and has navigated masterfully through the most trying of times.”
The immensity of Lowenstein’s accomplishment escaped me until I read a story financial columnist James Stewart wrote about Paul Ryan in the April 7 New York Times. “This week, President Obama called him a social Darwinist,” Stewart began. “The conservative Club for Growth criticized him for wimping out on Medicare and military spending, and Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican, blasted him for not cutting tax rates more deeply.