Rick Perry vs. Ben Bernanke


No sooner had the Rick Perry for President campaign formally launched than the Texas governor made headlines by expressing his extreme displeasure with the notion of a third round of quantitative easing.  As reported by ABC News, and quoted by hyperventilating commentators over the weekend:

“If this guy prints more money between now and the election,” Perry said, “I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we — we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous — or treasonous in my opinion.”

Oh my God!  The penalty for treason is death, dude!  Rick Perry wants to kill Ben Bernanke!

A typical reaction comes from blogger “lizzy36” at ZeroHedge, who is careful to note, in boldface, that “Treason is a capital offense” before adding:

One is not sure if Governor Perry is taking aim at monetary policy here or trying to win over Ron Paul supporters. However, advocating violence against a sitting Federal Reserve Chairman does not really sound all that Presidential.

I would suggest everyone breathe deeply into their paper bags for a moment and reflect that Perry’s exact words are that printing more money is “almost treacherous – or treasonous in my opinion.”  I boldfaced the “almost” so that everyone who missed it the first time can see it, assuming the pulsing paper bag gripped in their fists is not obscuring their view of the computer monitor.

This is not logically equivalent to saying that someone is a traitor and should be put on trial, the way prominent Democrats spent the last few weeks shrieking that Tea Party voters are terrorists.  You can make the case that Perry’s statement is “inappropriate and unpresidential,” as former Bush adviser Tony Fratto said via Twitter, without pretending to seriously believe that Perry wants to throw Bernanke into a pit with the Rancor monster.

You’re going to get a lot of bold talk from Perry during his campaign, so you might as well get used to it.  It’s part of his style, and something tells me his sizable band of admirers is not exactly dismayed by the spectacle of Establishment and liberal pundits repairing to their fainting couches.  Like General Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, it’s best to give Perry lots of room when he moves, because he takes large steps.

From ABC News, here’s the far less widely reported follow-up to Perry’s Texas travel advisory for the Fed chairman:

He added, “We’ve already tried this. All it’s going to be doing is devaluing the dollar in your pocket and we cannot afford that. We have to learn the lessons of the past three years that they’ve been devastating. The President of the United States has conducted an experiment on the American economy for almost the last three years, and it has gone tragically wrong and we need to send him a clear message in November of 2012 that new leadership is coming.”

Sure, Perry serves his opinions piping hot, but is he wrong?  He’s precisely captured the sense of a growing number of Americans, who find themselves treated as lab rats by President Obama’s “transformative” social and economic experiments.  They face a Washington elite with an entirely different agenda from their desire for liberty and growth. 

The President has made fifteen hollow promises of a “pivot to job creation,” but it’s painfully clear he has many agenda items – from ObamaCare to environmental regulation – that rank far higher than job creation.  He’s become so bored with pretending otherwise that his latest “pivot” consisted of three stale “ideas” that he’s been doing all along.

The Obama Administration has decisively lost the trust of the America people, including a growing number of those who made the mistake of extending that trust during the 2008 election.  It’s not hard to imagine a new round of desperate money-printing right before the election, setting up a 2013 fiscal crisis of massive proportions to capture 2012 votes in a tornado of funny money.  It’s indelicate and provocative to describe this as “almost treasonous”… but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to pretend that middle America and the Obama Administration are playing on the same team, and it wasn’t middle America’s idea to create that growing division.