I am one of those who think that Ben Bernanke literally saved the world in mid-September from a 1931-style global economic collapse. He is not getting much credit for that from Congress or many other people, and is increasingly becoming a generalized scapegoat for the continuing recession, even if it probably would be a whole lot worse now if not for his actions then. However, I grant that he can be criticized for many things, including being probably too slow ahead of time to admit things were dangerous (although actions after August 2007 suggest the Fedsters knew bad stuff was up, despite their public rhetoric), along with things like how the Merrill Lynch purchase by Bank of American was handled and the details of the banks bailouts, and other stuff. So, maybe he is damaged goods, kind of like Frodo after Gollum bit his finger off when getting the Ring of Power into Mount Doom, and he should retire into the West.
If so, the two candidates people are mostly talking about to replace him are Larry Summers and Janet Yellen. I will not say anything about Summers other than to say I would far prefer Bernanke to him. But Janet Yellen is quite another matter, a worthy rival to Bernanke for the position. She is certainly more progressive, and also has lots of personal cool and common sense, as well as being exceptionally intelligent and knowledgeable. She currently serves as president of the San Francisco Fed, second most important after the New York one, and is a voting member of the FOMC. She was on the Board of Governors under Greenspan in the early-mid 90s but left to serve as CEA Chair from 97-99. Long at Berkeley, and married to Nobelist George Akerlof, with whom she has coauthored some innovative and influential papers on macroeconomics, she also was on the Board of Governors staff in the late 70s in the international finance division. In short, she knows her way around the place, including the basements where all the wonks and geeks hang out, and I have heard personally from people at the SF Fed that she is a great boss whom they all can say nothing but the most admiring things about.