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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rick Perry Accuses Ben Bernanke Of Treason; Makes Anti-Business Remarks (Video)

Rick Perry's 'shocking' gaffe: Ben Bernanke is 'treasonous'

The Republican governor of Texas begins his presidential campaign by insinuating that a Federal Reserve decision to print more money would warrant violent retaliation

The video:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry ignited the first potential controversy of his fledgling presidential campaign Monday night with some violent words for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. "If this guy prints more money between now and the election," he said while campaigning in Iowa, "I dunno what y'all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas."

He followed up the "shocking" statement by saying that Bernanke would be committing a "treasonous" act if he approved another round of quantitative easing — in which the Federal Reserve creates electronic money to buy up corporate and government debt and keep borrowing costs down.

Treason is a punishable by death.

The reaction:

"This guy may be good for Texas," says Taylor Marsh at her blog, "but he'd be a disaster for America." Calling Bernanke treasonous for doing something that is the very essence of his job is "political knuckle-dragging" at its scariest. Perry didn't do his campaign any favors with this unpresidential threat, says James Fallows at The Atlantic, but any politician is "destined to make mistakes" when moving from state politics to the intense scrutiny of a national race.

Actually, this "hysteria is ridiculous," says Erick Erickson at Red State. Perry's language is no worse than anything scores of politicians have used to criticize Wall Street executives and blast their political opposition.

Why Rick Perry's Ben Bernanke comment matters in the GOP tent

Forget, for a moment, the left's outrage over Rick Perry's comment last night that Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke could be guilty of treason.

The more immediate political danger of the remark is within the context of the Republican race: Perry very much wants a mano-a-mano contest against Mitt Romney and the irresponsible suggestion of frontier justice for a respected Fed chair threatens that match-up.


Because Perry's comment is exactly the sort of misstep that will worry the many GOP donors on the sideline right now who chiefly want to beat President Obama. The quote reinforces their central fear about Perry — that he has a cowboy problem — and could prompt them to remain uncommitted.

And as long as there are big money types sitting on their wallet there remains the possibility that a Paul Ryan or Chris Christie could get in late and muddle the race. Perry looks a lot less formidable if he's fending off Michele Bachmann on the right and a Ryan or Christie on the center-right to get a clean shot at Romney.

As some conservatives have noted today, the Bernanke line probably won't hurt Perry with a conservative base that is radicalized at the moment. But, at this stage in the race, the Texan's audience isn't just activists. It's donors, also, and they are far more finicky when it comes to picking candidates.

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Sources: AP, Politico, Taylor Marsh, The Atlantic, The Week, Think Progress, Youtube, Google Maps

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