Perry’s Anti-Bernanke Posse

August 16th, 2011 at 12:54 pm | 58 Comments |

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Rick Perry hasn’t been running for president for a full week and he has already made a significant gaffe. ThinkProgress has caught video of Perry saying that Ben Bernanke’s efforts at monetary stimulus are “almost treasonous” and that he would treat Bernanke “pretty ugly down in Texas.”

The comment is wrong from a policy standpoint and the accusation of treason is uncalled for, but the unfortunate truth is that Perry is accurately expressing the emotional sentiments of the conservative movement.

So far, Perry’s campaign has not significantly walked back from his comments. A spokesman for Perry’s campaign tells the New York Times:

“He is passionate about getting federal finances under control,” the spokesman, Ray Sullivan, said in an interview here. “They shouldn’t print more money, they should cut spending and move much more rapidly to a balanced budget.”

While Perry should walk back from his comments, the truth is that he may have much more to gain with the conservative base by sticking to his remarks. (Notice how he gets applauded for his remarks in the ThinkProgress video.)

In the Weekly Standard this morning, Bill Kristol blogs at length about returning to the gold standard and includes this comment at the end to do some damage control for Perry:

UPDATE: Rick Perry’s instinct—there’s a problem with the Fed printing money—is right. His formulation—it’s “almost treacherous”—isn’t right.

In other words, the gaffe was in the delivery, not the message. The Standard even tried to use the gaffe to accuse New York Times reporter Binyamin Applebaum of revealing an unprofessional liberal bias because he found Perry’s remarks “horrifying.”

Apparently, it is ‘liberal’ to be horrified when a presidential candidate accuses a public servant of being treasonous for attempting to improve the economy.

One possible outcome from this event is that Perry’s remarks will form the basis for a question at the next GOP debate. First a moderator will ask Perry: “Do you stand by your remarks about Ben Bernanke?” Perry will then respond: “I am opposed to weakening our currency and printing more money!” (The Ron Paul fans in the audience will applaud.) The moderator can also ask Mitt Romney if he agrees, and that will be an awkward moment. Ron Paul might even try to jump in and say “I’m glad to see that the party has moved closer to my own views.”

Recent Posts by Noah Kristula-Green

58 Comments so far ↓

  • Smargalicious

    Well Noah, the liberal movement led by BHO is bankrupt, as we’ve seen.

  • ottovbvs

    “In other words, the gaffe was in the delivery, not the message. The Standard even tried to use the gaffe to accuse New York Times reporter Binyamin Applebaum of revealing an unprofessional liberal bias because he found Perry’s remarks “horrifying.”

    So Bernanke actually IS a traitor but Perry just made a gaffe by saying so in a straightforward fashion. To such has today’s GOP come. And I wouldn’t count on this going away, it’s being stored up in the Vials of Wrath should Perry be the nominee.

    • Xunzi Washington

      I was a bit stumped by that line too. The content “Bernacke is a traitor” is not problematic?

  • Ridge

    I would say anyone who casually threw around the treasonous notion of Secession should more careful with his wording. If the Constitution was a little less strict, perhaps we could have seen Gov. Perry indicted for Sedition.

    But that’s me.

  • Elvis Elvisberg

    “Here’s the question I’d like to see Perry asked: ‘Your predecessor as governor of Texas, George W. Bush, appointed Ben Bernanke to the Fed in 2006. In 2008, during an election year in which the Republican incumbency was threatened, Bernanke effectively doubled the monetary base. In other words, he more or less printed money on a massive scale. Was that “almost treasonous”? If so, what is Bush’s culpability, given that he knew beforehand from Bernanke’s academic work that he would print money in response to a financial crisis?’” – Joseph Lawler, American Spectator.

    But, what does it matter.

    The Republican party venerates Ronald Reagan like a totem, ignoring the fact that he raised taxes at least 11 times. They proclaim the Paul Ryan has started a serious conversation on the deficit, all the while ignoring his support for the policies that created the deficit– the Bush tax policies, Medicare Part D, and the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    So, sure, Perry could face legitimate policy questions over his silly, objectively wrong statement. But what does it matter? Republicans don’t have policy views, they have a preferred side in a contest. Perry is One Of Us, and he’ll be treated with the same kid gloves the Standard used for Sarah Palin.

  • sublime33

    Bottom line – Perry thinks Bernacke is a traitor because he is implementing a policy that benefits the country and ignoring his main goal of bringing down the President of the United States. And Howard Dean got tagged by the media as being nutty.

  • Lonewolf

    This, then will be the four-point program of the Perry campaign:
    -wild, baseless accusations against government officials who cannot defend themselves
    - grotesque falsehoods about how both economic forces and national governments work
    - pandering to the ignorant, the foolish, the prejudiced and the angry, and
    - demonization of anyone who happens stands in his way.

  • Xunzi Washington

    Only in America can a guy who is known for stating his desire to secede his state from the United States calls someone else a traitor to the United States and not suffer any real flack as a result.

  • dafyd

    Noah, It was not a gaffe, it was a disgusting attempted to pander to the far right. Something Pawlenty tried doing. Wait didn’t you defend Pawelnty as a serious candidate? off topic I know, but it is an example of people like you excusing bad behavior because of the letter next to their name. This case the R.

    Perry knew exactly what he was doing and saying. He has the far right religious voter wrapped around his finger here in TX, he is working to to get the national ones as well. It is interesting, those who want/need the “religious” vote have to say the most disgusting and vile things to get them, Hmm?

    You and fellow mainstream republicans are to blame. You created a monster when most of you decided to dumb yourselves way down defending Sarah Pailn in 08. Now though, we all have to pay for that huge mistake.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Apparently, it is ‘liberal’ to be horrified when a presidential candidate accuses a public servant of being treasonous for attempting to improve the economy.

    Sadly Noah, more and more it is so. And what can Bernanke even do? The Fed has been designed to be outside of politics as much as possible. Apparently that is not the Republican’s beliefs anymore. They have become the new Marxists, in the sense where everything is political.

    I hated it when Moveon org labeled Gen. Petraues Gen. Betrayus and I railed against it, but these were nothing more than internet bloggers, Perry is running for President.
    We have Romney saying that Citgo is people (after all Chavez is a person) who must be protected over American citizen taxpayers, and now we have Perry.

    Sad, sad, sad.

    • dafyd

      As always, your right frumplstiltskin.

      I felt the same way about Moveon.

      I have a really bad feeling that no matter who wins the nom, Noah, David and many, many more will defend him/her like if they were their BFF.

  • rbottoms

    Death threats are a gaffe?

    Republicans are ugly bastards on a good day, this goes way beyond that.

    • dafyd

      I get your frustration, but no not all republicans are alike and not dems are alike. In fact their are a few Dems I would be very happy to never hear from again.

    • sublime33

      Death threats are a gaffe only if spoken by a Democrat. Anything goes if you are a Republican.

  • Smargalicious

    Ah, the leftist chimps are a-cackling. Haw! Perry is now the man to belittle, I’m taking it… :D

    • LFC

      “I’m taking it…”

      Nice admission. A number of people on this board have speculated that this was the case. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

      • Xunzi Washington

        I support Smarg’s desire to “take it” in alternative and heterodox ways. It’s his life. Go Smarg!

  • jnail

    Why can’t the Republicans find any sane adults to run for President? Perry is even worse than I expected him to be.

  • Oldskool

    he would treat Bernanke “pretty ugly down in Texas.”

    Maybe he means he’d give him one of those famous Texas executions.

    Reminds me of what Jesse Helms said about Clinton before his visit down here, “Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here, he’d better have a bodyguard.”

    Bullies of a feather…

  • LFC

    Rick Perry’s got some larnin’ to do if he’s going to step onto the national stage. That kind of froth might be great with his local supporters and the Tea Party, but we’re about to see if he has the political chops to simultaneously keep them happy enough while not scaring the s**t out of everybody he needs to vote for him.

  • rbottoms

    James Byrd Jr. got treated pretty ugly.

    Maybe Mr. Perry thinks dragging the Fed Chairman behind a truck for a few miles is a workable solution to our fiscal problems.

    It’s how they do things in Texas I guess.

    • Levedi

      You know, that’s exactly where my head went when I heard Perry say that. I’m not inclined to see threats where none exist, but in this case I think Perry’s words were meant to imply (with just enough plausible deniability) a real threat of physical violence, not vigorous political opposition.

      And my relatives are already gearing up to vote for him and repeating the “treasonous” line with great glee. I don’t know where my party went, but this is NOT the kind of thing I mean when I call myself a conservative or an American. It’s shameful.

  • sublime33

    “but the unfortunate truth is that Perry is accurately expressing the emotional sentiments of the conservative movement”

    That reflects the emotional sentiments of the radical right, not true conservatives. True conservatives believe in stability even if it requires using some short term financial tools in the Fed’s toolbox. No one can accurately accuse Paul Volker of being a lefty and he was not afraid to let short term interest rise in the near term to accomplish an intermediate and long term goal. And he didn’t give a damn what party was occupying the White House.

  • dmnolan

    He was just funnin’ ya.

  • rubbernecker

    Rick Perry is appalling; has Barack Obama ever accused his opponents of being treasonous? On the contrary, he insists they are not, even though the individuals that brought the country to the brink of default are, at the least, really shitty citizens.

    What a bunch of low-class demagogues the GOP is serving up this round.

  • setekh

    So what? If you agree with Perry’s vision for America, a low-tax, low-regulation, low-wage country where a small group of rich people call the shots and everyone else struggles to survive, you will vote for him no matter what stupid remarks he makes. If you don’t agree with his vision, you shouldn’t vote for him even if he is more eloquent than Cicero.

    Republicans need to get real and admit that this is their vision for America, not just Perry’s. Why lie about it? It’s not exactly a secret anyway.

  • ottovbvs

    “You and fellow mainstream republicans are to blame. You created a monster ”

    This is the problem in a nutshell but it happened way before the Palin farce. Mainstream Republicans (including Frum) we’re quite happy to follow the lead of the Rove’s of this world and let the morlocks out of the basement to maximize the Republican vote. No smear was too outrageous as the swift boating of Kerry demonstrated. Now the morlocks are taking over and those like Noah whine or try to dodge the issue which is that these people and all they stand for needs to be decisively rejected. Unfortunately the common approach is that of Pavelyev who said if Bachmann was the nominee he’d not vote for her but write in Daniel’s name. A pure cop out, supporting obscurantism by default. As a practical matter Perry is no different than Bachmann in his ideology and yet this guy is considered a serious challenger for the nod.

    • LFC

      And don’t forget the disgusting smear of Max Cleland. Pushing the meme that a man who gave 3 limbs in military service is unpatriotic is pretty much as low as it gets. The Repubs have been in the political toilet for a long time.

  • valkayec

    This morning I decided to do a little checking on Perry, reading through the Texas Monthly ( and Texas Observer archives.

    Here are the things that stood out about Perry. First of all, he’s been incredibly lucky and, second, he’s an LBJ-on-steriods political player. He refuses to compromise and refuses to accept defeat. If he can win with one set of players, he’ll change the players. It doesn’t matter if the players are Democrat or Republican; if they go up against him, he’ll work to defeat them or replace them…and he doesn’t care if his tactics are sleasy or border on the illegal.

    He’s an absolutists on his no new tax policy, which is reflected in the latest budget that makes huge cuts to education and services while at the same time manipulating the budget dollars to make it appear the state is solving it’s deficit problems but in reality are putting them off into the future.
    He’s given away huge tax dollars (gifts) in the multi-millions to lure businesses to Texas, sometimes for only a couple hundred jobs. For example, in September 2007, Comerica received $3.5 million from the Enterprise Fund to create 200 jobs in the Dallas area. At the same time, he’s bent on decimating the research facilities and functions at UT and A&M. Moreover, he has no problem with selling off or permanently leasing out Texas’ infrastructure to foreign companies who see a golden opportunity to make huge profits.

    He also knows his base, and regularly uses fear and manipulation to stoke their anger and prejudices. He knows exactly what he’s doing at all times; he doesn’t make mistakes.

    Perhaps one of the best articles I read, amongst the many that provide a pretty good snapshot into who Rick Perry is, was this Texas Observer piece about Dave Carney, Perry’s long time campaign/political adviser:

    It’s a huge mistake to dismiss Perry or to call him a crackpot. ‘Cause that he ain’t. He’s a cold, calculating far right political monster, according to both his detractors and admirers, who is more than willing to say outrageous things that he knows will resonate with his base and all other disenchanted voters. Right now, he’s betting that all the disenchanted voters will flock to him because his message is entirely geared to appeal to them.

    I urge you all to read up on Perry, and to stop taking him so lightly. You do so at your and America’s peril.

  • gmckee1985

    Bernake has been a horrible Fed Chair.

    • sublime33

      Bernake has been just fine and was an unsung hero of the 2008 financial meltdown. Now Tim Geithner is a different story.

      • Frumplestiltskin

        you are right about that. I don’t think Geithner is horrible, he just misread completely how deep the downturn was and the necessary solutions. Now maybe we couldn’t get a bigger stimulus through Congress but Obama was at the beginning of his Presidency I can’t imagine that any Democrats would have said no and then done nothing, at the very least Obama would have had a counter narrative, instead he followed Geithners advice.

        • ottovbvs

          Ok frump since the $800 billion just squeaked by with I think two Republican votes would you or sublime like to give me a list of the democratic or Republican (mainly) senators who were going sign on for larger amount? Unless you can come up with such a list I’m going to have to assume on this particular issue neither of you know what you’re talking about.

        • Frumplestiltskin

          otto, I am reasonably confident that Specter would have signed on, he did defect a short time later. If, worse comes to worse and the stimulus got hung up when Franken came on board Democrats would have had their 60 votes. There is no reason to state that the bill absolutely had to pass in April. And a few more months of cratering employment numbers with Congress holding up a stimulus would have killed them so at worst we would have had a larger stimulus in July. How large I can’t say, but if Obama listened more to Krugman instead of Geithner it would have been larger and passed.

          Now if you can tell me absolutely positively why the bill had to be passed in April I would like to know.

    • ottovbvs

      Yeah Bernanke, Paulson and Geithner just prevented the entire US and world financial system from imploding…apart from that how was the play Mrs Lincoln?

  • ottovbvs

    BTW Perry calling the Fed chairman a traitor engaged in a conspiracy to increase the money supply led all the network news shows tonight as far as I could see. The president being his usual gracious self said he would cut him some slack but he needs to watch what he says thereby positioning Perry as the reckless teenager being rebuked by his father.

  • valkayec

    More on Perry, from Steve Rattner in a NYT Op-Ed:

    “In an unpublished interview, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas told Fortune magazine that if he had been president in 2008, he wouldn’t have engaged in the financial rescue effort. Without the bailout, initiated by the Bush administration, we would not have a functioning economy today.

    Mr. Perry also wants to repeal the 16th Amendment, thereby eliminating the income tax, which accounts for 80 percent of government revenue. Like his fellow aspirants, Mr. Perry has offered no analysis to explain how the government would function under his vision.”

    And this is the guy winning the hearts and minds of the Tea Party and scared, angry voters!?!

    It’s really well past time for the GOP to wake up to the ridiculous candidates in their midst. These candidates do not serve the GOP or the nation well.

  • gmckee1985

    Obama..gracious? Lolz…these left wingers get crazier by the day.

    • indy

      Yeah, you’re right. In the context of an article detailing a GOP presidential candidate calling the chair of the fed treasonous, it’s the left who has the crazy hat on. Very clever of you to figure that out.

  • kccd

    I note that Perry called Bernanke “almost treasonous”.

    But Kristol’s mild rebuke quotes Perry as saying “almost treacherous”.

    Not the same thing. Got to watch those guys.

  • jjack

    Perry is already making Ms. Crazy Eyes look semi-sane. A feat no one dreamed possible. Dog-whistled death threats right out of the gate tops being “kidnapped by lesbians” any day. Palin is going to have to bite off the head of a live bat while ringing Paul Revere’s bells if she jumps in. Bat-shit craziest wins, apparently.

    • Smargalicious

      Here’s a rebuttal to jackass…

      So, your Messiah–the half-term, half-Kenyan, half-wit community organizing Marxist–is better??

      Sorry, but over half of America will never vote for someone of BHO’s ilk ever again. They learned.


      • sublime33

        Define “ilk” or just come right out and say the N word.

      • jjack

        a) I voted for Ron Paul.

        b) Your thinly disguised race panic attack over a moderate black president is both sad and amusing.

      • sublime33

        And referring to Obama as a “half term” is as ridiculous as calling Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan “college dropouts” for leaving school early. Unlike the Quitta from Wasilla, Obama, Johnson and Jordan left to play the same game on a much bigger stage.

  • TJ Parker

    Bluster aside, Perry stated quite clearly: if the Fed does anything to improve the economy between now and the election, that’s treasonous.

    And you’re right, that’s exactly how the GOP, Congress and all of Limbaugh’s meatpuppets have been thinking: thousands of American businesses must crawl, and millions of Americans must suffer, and trillions of dollars lost in the financial markets, all so that the odds that the GOP prevails in 2012 are improved.

    And that, my friend, is treasonous.

  • ottovbvs

    I’ve no doubt Perry’s minders are having the muzzle made as we speak. The problem for Perry is that this can only get you so far. Ultimately he has to interact with a whole mix of people so he’s going to have lots of opportunities to demonstrate what a realistic and sensible guy he is.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    gmckee1985, how about a quote and rebuttal jackass to prove the left wingers are getting crazier by the day. You are seriously weak.

  • dafyd

    “but the unfortunate truth is that Perry is accurately expressing the emotional sentiments of the conservative movement.”

    That says a lot about this party. Tell us Noah why do you still want to be included in this party?

  • Bunker555

    Fixed News is not pimping Perry as much as I had expected. Without the support of their Christian Taliban and Tea Jihadist viewership, Perry could flame out very soon. He’s going to have a lot of Reverend Wright moments pretty soon.