What I would rather talk about is who Bernanke is as a person, and why that's very important, given the historical reaction to "banking" and central banking in particular in the United States. Banks have been given a bad reputation by Federalists ("Banks have done more injury to the religion, morality, tranquility, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they can have done or ever will do good" - John Adams), Democratic-Republicans ("I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies" - Thomas Jefferson), and Jacksonian Democrats ("The bank, Mr. Van Buren, is trying to kill me, but I will kill it" - Andrew Jackson). Over time, of course, many politicians eventually came around to the Hamiltonian conclusion that a national or central bank to manage the money supply wasn't necessarily a bad thing; that it could do a great deal of good. Even James Madison, a contemporary of Hamilton and early opponent of central banking and bankers in general, relented and gave us our second national bank. But the early - and broad - opposition of the founders to banking interests stuck.
This is what I find to be so ironic about the ebb and flow of populism in America, specifically with respect to the populist position on central banking. In Jefferson and Bryan's time, the concern was that bankers were too tight-fisted, and that creating a central bank to help finance government deficits would allow private insiders to profit off of taxpayers. Today, you have the opposite concern. The Ron Pauls of the world think the opposite is true - that the Fed is creating too much money. Granted, Ron Paul's libertarianism - while not exactly the corporatism that Bryan decried - is also a far cry from populism. But it is a populist movement in it's deliberate "us vs. them", anti-establishment, pro-common man mentality. The collective memory of stagflation in the 1970s made impoverishment-by-central-bank-manipulation fear a new staple of American populism, which is why it meshes so well with libertarianism today. It is in this sense that the seemingly paradoxical blending of populism and libertarianism, while not necessarily internally consistent, is highly functional at the level of the political movement. A populist that doesn't like foreign intervention and wants to legalize marijuana is going to find the most solace and organization among the Ron Paul community (Dennis Kucinich would also give them solace, but not as much organization).
Now back to the purported enemy - the bankers.
To truly get a grasp on how different this is, you have to understand the extent to which the Fed chair is a banker's banker. His job is to lend money to the money-changers, to make sure they have enough funds to stay in business from day to day. The press hangs on the Fed's every word, and global markets shift in response. Statements released from the clandestine Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings are scrutinized like papal encyclicals. For example, after Wednesday, August 12th's meeting, reporters made headlines with the fact that the language describing the pace of economic contraction changed from "slowing" (July's statement) to "leveling out" (August's statement). Chairman Greenspan was known as "the maestro", and during the Asian financial crisis he was on the "committee to save the world". As a presidential candidate, John McCain quipped that if Greenspan ever died he would put dark sunglasses on him and prop him up like a scene out of "Weekend at Bernie's". Such is the mystery, adoration, and power surrounding the Federal Reserve Board and the Fed chair.