Ben Bernanke is Time magazine's
Banker Nerd Person of the Year. A short excerpt from the opening section of Michael Grunwald's profile of the Federal Reserve Chair:
His arguments aren't partisan or ideological; they're methodical, grounded in data and the latest academic literature. When he doesn't know something, he doesn't bluster or bluff. He's professorial, which makes sense, because he spent most of his career as a professor.
He is not, in other words, a typical Beltway power broker. He's shy. He doesn't do the D.C. dinner-party circuit; he prefers to eat at home with his wife, who still makes him do the dishes and take out the trash. Then they do crosswords or read. Because Ben Bernanke is a nerd.
Four runners-up were also cited: sprinter Usain Bolt; Gen. Stanley McChrystal; Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and, cryptically, "the Chinese Worker."
Back to the Fed chair. Explaining the magazine's choice, Grunwald writes: "But the main reason Ben Shalom Bernanke is TIME's Person of the Year for 2009 is that he is the most important player guiding the world's most important economy. His creative leadership helped ensure that 2009 was a period of weak recovery rather than catastrophic depression, and he still wields unrivaled power over our money, our jobs, our savings and our national future. The decisions he has made, and those he has yet to make, will shape the path of our prosperity, the direction of our politics and our relationship to the world."
Well, all of that's true, I suppose. We'll just have to see what shape that prosperity takes.
Time also listed its 25 "People Who Mattered." They may matter for better (Manny Pacquio) or worse (Bernie Madoff); the distinction isn't normative. And though I really don't have a problem with Sarah Palin or even Glenn Beck making this list--whatever one thinks of them, sadly, they do matter--was disappointedto see SC Rep. Joe Wilson on the list, not to mention Jon and Kate. Ugh. (I'm sure readers have many of their own candidates, so fire away.)
The full list of 25:
1. Neda Agha-Soltan
2. Glenn Beck
3. Lloyd Blankfein
4. Rahm Emanuel
5. Dr. Thomas Frieden
6. Jon and Kate Gosselin
7. Hamid Karzai
8. Adam Lambert
9. Jay Leno and David Letterman
10. Bernie Madoff
11. Alan Mulally
12. Barack Obama
13. Manny Pacquiao
14. Sarah Palin
15. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart of Twilight
16. Alex Rodriguez
17. Olympia Snowe
18. Sonia Sotomayor
19. Chesley B. (Sully) Sullenberger III
20. Taylor Swift
21. The Twitter Guys
22. Joe Wilson
23. Tiger Woods
24. Manuel Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti
25. Zhou Xiaochuan