One thing to note about the Yellen speech yesterday: it really annoyed a lot of Republicans. The Fed chair talked about the problems faced by local Chicago residents: Dorine Poole, Vicki Lira and Jermaine Brownlee. Explaining things in terms of personal stories of named individuals might seem like a good communication idea. She was trying to explain that the Fed’s goal is to help Main St, not just bail out big Wall Street institutions. So putting it in terms of personal experience might seem like a good way to do that.
But Republicans tend to be enraged when people use vivid particular stories to argue for general government intervention, because activists and campaigning journalists have used the rhetorical tactic so often against them.
Does it matter if the GOP is annoyed? It does if they take the Senate in November, as seems likely, and initial primary talk is being dominated by Rand Paul who is very hostile to the Fed. A Fed keeping rates low to help the unemployed might very quickly be seen as a Fed keeping rates low to help the Democrats.
The Fed does not respond to overt political pressure. But it is aware of political context, and the potential for distortion or backlash of the Fed message would be highest in 2015, when a new Republican Senate and the appeal-to-the-base phase of primary season would most likely coincide with the window for the first rate rise.