Good Idea Update
President Obama has announced that he will name Ben Bernanke to a second term as chair of the Federal Reserve. This would seem to avoid the media frenzy of “will he?” / “won’t he?” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/business/economy/26fed.html?hp
I have just finished reading David Wessel’s In Fed We Trust. Bernanke is impressively cool and clear-headed during the high moments of the crisis last year at this time. Not perfect, mind you, but the man for the job. Paulson is reported in the book to be as frantic and loose-minded as he appeared to be on TV. Wessel is well worth the read raising all the issues of conflict of interest that are lightly touched upon in most news stories.
UPDATE: Chris Eggeimeir posted a caveat about Bernake in the comments below. The caveator he cited, Simon Johnson, has a post at the NYTimes. Reasonable questions are raised about whether Bernake can free himself from the powers and ideas that led to the current Great Recession. But as with the earlier discussion, Johnson does not propose an alternative to Bernake. Is that because there is no real alternative?