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August 16, 2011 12:35 PM Perry won’t disavow extremist Fed rhetoric

By Steve Benen

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry raised a few eyebrows yesterday with borderline-violent rhetoric about the Federal Reserve and Ben Bernanke. “If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas,” the Texas governor said. “Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous, or treasonous, in my opinion.”

The comments have drawn bipartisan criticism, but as of this morning, the Perry campaign isn’t backing down.

A spokesman for Mr. Perry said Tuesday the governor “got passionate” in his remarks about the Federal Reserve, but he did not disavow the comments.

“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.”

The campaign went on to say Perry was “expressing his frustration with the current economic situation and the out of control spending that persists in Washington.”

No apologies, no regrets, no concessions. A leading presidential candidate raised the specter of violence against the chairman of the Fed and casually threw in a reference to “treason,” but those waiting for contrition will be waiting a very long time. As far as Perry and his team are concerned, yesterday’s rhetoric was acceptable. If the campaign saw the quote as a negative, they’d retract it. Obviously, they don’t.

At this point, the focus will likely be on the reckless comments and the perception that Rick Perry is a thuggish buffoon. But even if he’d phrased his criticisms in a more responsible way, it’s important to realize that the underlying policy sentiment is itself ridiculous.

For one thing, the implication of Perry’s remarks is that he believes the Fed could do more to boost the economy, but taking such steps would be “almost treacherous or treasonous.” In other words, if Bernanke were to take steps intended to help the economy, this would, in Perry’s mind, be outrageous.

For another, Perry’s understanding of monetary policy is pathetic. The governor just doesn’t understand the topic he’s addressing.

What’s more, Perry actually seems to believe we’ll all benefit if policymakers take money out of the economy and focus, not on job creation, but on a balanced budget. He’s as confused about economic growth as he is about monetary policy.

And finally, in the bigger picture, those who raise the specter of secession just haven’t earned the right to start accusing anyone of treachery or treason.

Not since Newt Gingrich’s out-of-the-gate collapse has a candidate humiliated himself so thoroughly, so quickly.

Update: Mark Thoma reminds me that Perry’s assertion that the Fed “should cut spending and move much more rapidly to a balanced budget” is itself strikingly ignorant, since the Fed doesn’t have those kinds of powers anyway.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

  • c u n d gulag on August 16, 2011 12:39 PM:

    Boy, am I going to date myself (hey, somebody's got to!) :-)

    But Perry kind of reminds me of that old Robert Conrad ad when he'd put a battery on his shoulder and says, "I dare you to knock this off. C'mon... I dare you!"

    He was the subject of many a comedians schtick for awhile.
    Anyone else remember it?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoAmQGzcLkc

    Also on Perry - here’s a purported Republican from Texas who’s not at all happy with Perry, with some stuff about strippers, adultery, a hint at coke use, and other salacious stuff:

    http://www.stuffedsuits.com/news/national-politics/721-fraud-rick-perry-is-political-herpes

    I’m not sure how true any of this is, if any, but it was sure fun to read!!!

    Is it irresponsible to speculate?
    It would be irresponsible not to!

  • ArchTeryx on August 16, 2011 12:46 PM:

    Is he really doing anything that different then any other Republican huckster? He expects to win with a combination of a red-meat base that he constantly throws chum at, and the dupes that'll vote for him because they hate the status quo/are low information voters/etc. Worked great for Dubya. Damn near worked for McCain, too; in the end, he lost because he had NEITHER.

    (The red-meat base by and large hated him, and the dupes all went for Obama once the economy went down in a flaming wreck).

  • SkJL on August 16, 2011 12:46 PM:

    Do we really need anymore Cowboy Justice after eight years of Bush? Don't think so...

  • micromeme on August 16, 2011 12:50 PM:

    Steve,
    Look past what Perry understands about economics. What his statement did (with its shiny rhetoric) was to threaten the Fed with more public attacks if they do anything to produce jobs. This will very probably prevent the fed board from acting since those who oppose QE3 will say "we can't take sides in the election..." and will delay until 2013.
    This is the "real" effect of the statement. And better yet, no-one is noticing that effect in all the outrage discussing it as a policy comment. Pretty clever for one simple rant (which plays well to the base anyway...)

  • Brenna on August 16, 2011 12:52 PM:

    Oh, he's a loose cannon all right. If America was dumb enough to vote him in, he'd do some real damage. I think generally the public rejects these kinds of buffoons. Yes, Bush was voted in twice, but he wasn't near this bad or over the top stupid.

  • mistersnrub on August 16, 2011 12:52 PM:

    In other news, Perry has chosen "Throw the Jew Down the Well" by Borat as his campaign theme song.

  • Anonymous on August 16, 2011 12:54 PM:

    "Fractional reserve banking, how does it work?"

  • rick on August 16, 2011 12:54 PM:

    Perry is a walking train wreck. Time will tell how many people are attracted to him. My guess is it will be a fairly small minority of crazies who will be willing to follow this mess.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on August 16, 2011 12:56 PM:

    "I don't know what y'all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas"

    Really?

    Does Perry not realize that somebody "down in Texas" is the one who originally tapped Bernanke for the Fed?

  • T2 on August 16, 2011 12:58 PM:

    No apologies, no regrets, no concessions. Yep, thats Rick Perry. Except of course when the TeaParty demands the apologies, regrets, and concessions.
    Rick is now in the first half-week of his campaign, and has probably been jotting down his rejoinders for months now. He'll keep 'em coming until his mouth outruns his brain....won't be long (maybe already did).
    Wait until Rick is on stage with Mitt and Michelle....debating the nation's future......don't hold your breath. The Debate setting is one he hates and with good reason.

  • fourlegsgood on August 16, 2011 12:59 PM:

    Shorter Perry,"Don't you DARE do anything to improve the economy while I'm trying to get elected!!"

    God but I hate him.

  • Grumpy on August 16, 2011 1:05 PM:

    Perry’s understanding of monetary policy is pathetic.

    There are only two things I know about monetary policy: that I only know two things about monetary policy, and that the second thing is that monetary policy is different from fiscal policy.

    That's two more things than Rick Perry knows about monetary policy.

  • FlipYrWhig on August 16, 2011 1:08 PM:

    I think he doesn't know the different between the Federal Reserve Bank and the Treasury Department.

  • greenwitch on August 16, 2011 1:11 PM:

    Texan here...our new two year budget has a $4 billion hole in it - our legislature underfunded Medicaid by that amount, but we won't feel the effects until next year. Right now, Texas is like a family that can pay its bills this year, but not the next.

    Perry managed to plug the holes in our previous budget with $6 billion in federal bailout money. Yeah, that same old federal money he denounced. He's such a tool.

  • FRP on August 16, 2011 1:14 PM:

    As the need for Steenkeen Badchess has diminished post Bogart Ford , there has been thus far an unexplained rise in jaw loosened over the top dramatic face the music , self wallow love gravitas , I'm with stoopit grave digging .
    With Governor Perry boldly leading the way where , mainly , no ones or one (aside from boosch cheenie) , willingly admits they have gone before .
    Here after we hope the study of Uma Thurman stopped well before chapter nine , as deus ex machina of Pogo level "We have met the enemy..." redux could painfully affect box office , not to mention hair pulling tedium bullying for a show based on Christian Charity .

    Cancelled

  • stormskies on August 16, 2011 1:16 PM:

    Oh well wait till the used corporate condom called David Gregory fixes this for him ......

  • MattF on August 16, 2011 1:20 PM:

    Well, c'mon folks... Perry isn't going to back down, needless to say. The man's just gettin' his wind up, and the good people of Iowa know exactly what he means.

  • Anonymous on August 16, 2011 1:24 PM:

    "No apologies, no regrets, no concessions"

    And that, my friends, will be one of the Perry campaign's strongest attributes. His "fuck you" to nuance and thoughtfulness. His appeal will be his in-charge, take no prisoners, phoney macho bluster. Voters seem to like that.

  • LL on August 16, 2011 1:24 PM:

    stuff:

    http://www.stuffedsuits.com/news/national-politics/721-fraud-rick-perry-is-political-herpes

    I’m not sure how true any of this is, if any, but it was sure fun to read!!!

    Is it irresponsible to speculate?
    It would be irresponsible not to!

    c u n d...the guy who wrote the article at the stuffedshirts link is either a total whack-job, or that was some kind of agit-prop hatchet job. I'd like to believe the latter, but given a certain subset of 'bagger crazies who live in Texas, I suspect this article is legit, to the extent that the guy who wrote it believes it, true or not.

    The guy who wrote it is so far right I suspect even a GPS couldn't locate him. He's plain crazy.

    I expect Perry has plenty of skeletons in his closet. Question is, will they be released, and if so, will it even matter?

  • Yossi Gestetner on August 16, 2011 1:40 PM:

    "A leading presidential candidate raised the specter of violence"??? When was the last time Texans commited violence against political people? I mean, when Perry said "treated Ugly," why would you think it m eans violence?

    You dont "get" Texas language. do you now?

  • PTate in MN on August 16, 2011 1:46 PM:

    "At this point, the focus will likely be on the reckless comments and the perception that Rick Perry is a thuggish buffoon. "

    Rick Perry IS a thuggish buffoon. This statement makes it sound as if the perception is wrong, as if Perry's true character is different from "thuggish buffoon." But in this case, the perception is correct. Perry is a mean, nasty man with a lot of bad ideas.

    Maybe this kind of recklessness flies in Texas, but it will won't persuade the rest of the country.

  • TCinLA on August 16, 2011 2:23 PM:

    No apologies, no regrets, no concessions. A leading presidential candidate raised the specter of violence against the chairman of the Fed and casually threw in a reference to “treason,” but those waiting for contrition will be waiting a very long time. As far as Perry and his team are concerned, yesterday’s rhetoric was acceptable. If the campaign saw the quote as a negative, they’d retract it. Obviously, they don’t.

    Are you kidding???? He scores points with his "base" when he says something like this and acts tough. Hey, his supporters think he was "ballsy" to execute an innocent man knowing the guy was probably innocent.

    Further proof that "the only 'good Republicans' are pushing up daisies."

  • ExTex on August 16, 2011 2:49 PM:

    With RP in the race Dems need to put on their big boy pants and not get the vapors when he says stuff like this. He's not suggesting violence to the Fed chief, it's tough talk hiding vacuous ideas. People in Texas and elsewhere believe and feel same way -- reality and appropriateness aside -- so overreacting to this kind of rhetoric only plays to the hard right crowd who despises whining east coast liberals (their view, not mine). Let it go -- there will plenty more to call RP on. Substantively, it's a valid debate as to whether QE3 would help between now and Nov. 2012.

  • Cha on August 16, 2011 3:04 PM:

    "No apologies, no regrets, no concessions"

    And that, my friends, will be one of the Perry campaign's strongest attributes. His "fuck you" to nuance and thoughtfulness. His appeal will be his in-charge, take no prisoners, phoney macho bluster. Voters seem to like that."

    Yeah, stupid voters.

  • Lance on August 16, 2011 3:07 PM:

    Ben Bernanke:

    "I don't know if Governor Perry's ignorance of the Role and Independence of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve disqualifies him to be President of the United States, but I am pleased to see him admit that he would need the help of the whole state of Texas to 'treat me pretty ugly' should he choose to be upset when I next exercise my role and independence."

  • Styve on August 16, 2011 3:10 PM:

    I give him a month, tops!

  • Lance on August 16, 2011 3:17 PM:

    Is this another Texan Jet Pilot trying to suggest he'd be a better commander in chief than the man who directed the kill operation against Osama bin Laden?

  • Gridlock on August 16, 2011 3:38 PM:

    Is this the same guy that said we need "a president who's in love with America."??

    You know, the same guy that has threatened secession from the United States...the country he's 'in love' with.

    He loves his wife so much that he only beats her on days with an 'r' in them.

  • MavorW on August 16, 2011 4:52 PM:

    Remember he earned a "D" in Econ. at Texas A&M. Here is the transcript.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-6vG5ZeJ149E/Tj99DF69jzI/AAAAAAAAMUY/LZh27HUHzWg/s1600/PERRY.jpg

  • Doug on August 16, 2011 8:28 PM:

    Let him feed his base! They can't get him elected by themselves and remarks such as this won't go over well with a voting public turned off by hyper-partisanship. Should he get the nomination, I expect to see the same sort of crowds as showed up at Palin's speeches.
    How'd THAT turn out?

  • wb on August 16, 2011 11:14 PM:

    When was the last time Texans commited violence against political people?

    November 22, 1963.


    Speaking as a Texan, I'd expect you to be a bit more concerned about Perry's political history. If you opposed the execution of Martin Grossman in Florida (IQ: 77), how do you feel about Perry's *235* executions, which include:

    Milton Mathis (IQ of 62);
    Bobby Wayne Woods (IQ of 68, effectively illiterate);
    James Lee Clark (IQ of 65, did not appear to understand he was being executed);

    Kelsey Patterson (severely schizophrenic, Texas Board of Pardon and Parole recommended commutation; Perry denied);
    James Colburn (paranoid schizophrenic);
    Monty Delk (psychotic and schizophrenic);

    Napoleon Beazley (minor at time of killing);

    Humberto Leal Garcia (Mexican national, not allowed to meet with Mexican consular officials);
    Jose Medellin (Mexican national, not allowed to meet with Mexican consular officials, Perry defied an order by George W. Bush to stay the execution);
    Jesus Aguilar (Mexican national, not allowed to meet with Mexican consular officials);

    and, of course,
    Cameron Todd Willingham (five years after execution, believed innocent of arson charges by Texas Forensics Science Commission's Dr. Craig Beyer. Perry then replaced the chair and key members of the commission just before they were scheduled to review the report; the new chair cancelled the review).

    Perry, by the way, vetoed a 2001 bill that would have banned the execution of the mentally retarded. Fella loves him some Ellis Unit One, he does.

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