NEW YORK (
) -- Over the weekend, Larry Summers withdrew his candidacy for the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, citing that it would not "serve the interests of the Federal Reserve" to be named Ben Bernanke's replacement. While not at the level of the Arab Spring, this may be the first instance of a social media revolt in the U.S.
The amount of anti-Summers vitriol seen on
(FB - Get Report)
, and other forms of social media prior to the announcement was astounding, especially since this is a position that is not voted on by the American public. It's a position hand-picked by President Obama.
Summers would have been the first Fed Chair to have an active
with a tweet as recently as July 8, having penned an article discussing about tax reform.
Comments about him on Twitter Monday morning shows how great the dislike is toward his views on financial markets and regulation, among many other aspects of his candidacy. Here's a few tweets that turn up in a simple search for Larry Summers, showing the incredible reaction toward his withdrawal:
The economic recovery in this country is still on weak footing, and by nominating Summers, whom many see as more hawkish than other replacements, Obama likely would've done more harm than good.
Summers knew that he would have a tough time getting confirmed by the Senate Banking Committee. Several prominent Democrats, including Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have voiced their opposition publicly toward Summers. While it's incredible that Obama's own party would voice their opposition toward Summers, the reaction on social media is even more incredible, and in circles not generally thought of as finance-centric.
The topic was brought up in Silicon Valley, not generally seen as the hotbed of financial discussion. Perhaps this was because Janet Yellen, the likely nominee now that is Summers has withdrawn his name, was the president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve prior to her becoming Vice Chairwoman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. I'm not entirely sure the reason, though it is interesting that in an area with a large technology base, that monetary policy was the subject du jour.
As the world becomes more interconnected, with social media playing a huge role, reactions such as this may wind up becoming the norm. Especially for a position that is likely to have increasingly more importance, as developed economies, including the U.S. struggle for growth.
Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York