Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas:
Wonkbook: A dark horse for Fed chair?: Are the chances of a dark horse rising? There’s a chance that the increasingly acrimonious fight between supporters of Larry Summers and supporters of Janet Yellen will render both candidates too toxic to pick. Summers’s critics are manifold. The latest — and most significant — salvo comes in the form of a letter signed by about a third of Senate Democrats endorsing Janet Yellen for chair. The letter doesn’t mention Summers. But the idea that there are even a dozen Senate Democrats with strong, pro-Yellen opinions strains credulity. It’s an anti-Summers letter, and everyone knows it. But if Summers ends up sunk, there’s a chance that Yellen’s critics in the administration won’t want to pick her, either. They’ll have dug in too deeply during this process, and her supporters will have just dealt them a painful defeat. The ferocity of the backlash to Summers could end up helping an alternative candidate like Roger Ferguson.
As far as I know, there are no "Yellen critics". All the people on Team Larry I know well enough to ask say that Janet would certainly be among their top five choices--usually their second choice.
Team Janet is… more split. But my guess is that a poll would produce a majority judgment that Summers is preferable to Ferguson: higher risk but also higher potential return. Those I know on Team Janet who don't like Larry prefer Alan Blinder or Christy Romer.
To fail to choose either of their top two candidates for Fed Chair would be a substantial personnel-selection failure on the part of the White House