Confirmation hearings in the Senate test a different skill: fielding confrontational questions on the fly without alienating often hostile interrogators.
Ms. Yellen, President Barack Obama’s pick as the first chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, faces her first major challenge as the central bank’s likely next chief communicator at a confirmation hearing slated for this fall. She will appear before the Senate Banking Committee long on monetary-policy experience, but short on encounters with lawmakers. She last testified before Congress in 2010 and before then in 1996.
The encounter will be her debut in the brighter spotlight explaining—and probably defending—Fed policy in front of a prickly congressional audience and anxious world markets, at a time when the central bank’s ability to explain its plans has grown increasingly important.
Alan Greenspan was famous for mumbling incoherently, when he wasn’t speaking in some uncrackable code jargon. Ben Bernanke talks like he runs the printing presses — incessantly. If Yellen does something new and different, I’m already resigned to it being somehow worse.