Perry’s poisonous attack on Bernanke

Yee Haw! Get ready for a wild ride in the GOP presidential race, now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has strapped on his spurs.

Perry, all swagger and tough talk, burst out of the campaign gate like a cowboy riding 2,000 pounds of bull, but ended up quickly in the dirt.

Perry suggested Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke might be guilty of treason if he allowed the Federal Reserve Bank to print more money. And he said Bernanke would be treated “pretty ugly” if he showed up in Texas after increasing the money supply.

There are plenty of reasons to disagree with Bernanke’s leadership of the Fed the past few years, from his decision to have the Fed purchase billions of dollars in U.S. Treasury bonds to its decision to keep the interests rates near zero for another two years, at least.

But treason? These are policy disputes in which the best of economists sincerely disagree over what is the appropriate prescription for the U.S. economy.

No wonder that not just members of the current White House staff, but leaders of the administration of former President George W. Bush have chastised Perry for going too far in his attack on Bernanke.

For something to actually be treasonous, it would have to involve actions more deliberately aimed at harming this country, say like actively working to have your state secede from the United States ... Oh wait, that’s something Gov. Rick Perry has discussed for Texas. He didn’t take it beyond the talking stage, fortunately.

Gov. Perry is a formidable fundraiser and campaigner. And he has demonstrated in previous campaigns the ability to overcome great odds to win an election. He may very well be able to use those skills to win the Republican nomination.

But unless he learns to keep the safety on his fast-action mouth, he’ll have trouble convincing independents and a lot of centrist Republicans to vote for him in a general election.


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