Leave it to the State Department: While other U.S. departments and agencies waste tax payer money, no other department does it with quite the counter-productive flair of our friends in Foggy Bottom. First, there was the issue of U.S. money going to pay salaries to jailed Palestinian terrorists, including those who murdered Americans.
Now, it turns out that the State Department is paying money to the United Nations Development Program which is turning around and funding the Inter Press Service (IPS), a media outlet which seeks to be “a communication channel that privileges the voices and the concerns of the poorest and creates a climate of understanding, accountability and participation around development, promoting a new international information order between the South and the North.” In effect this means shilling for Venezuela, Zimbabwe, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. For example, in this story, IPS appears to be advocating for a renewed Palestinian uprising.
In late March, Salon’s Steve Kornacki wrote an article called “The unbeatable Republican?” It may still come as a surprise that Kornacki was referring to Scott Brown, the GOP’s rising star and current occupant of Ted Kennedy’s old Massachusetts Senate seat.
Democrats would love to have the seat back, but had commissioned a poll and found that Brown’s approval was at 73 percent and that he would beat Democratic challengers without breaking a sweat. Then Democrats got some good news—sort of. Congressional Republicans had successfully blocked Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren from being appointed to run the new federal bureaucracy she crafted, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Though a personal setback for Warren, it left her with an opportunity to challenge Brown—something that at first seemed to be wishful thinking on the part of liberal groups, but which now may be taking shape.
We don’t know yet whether Rick Perry will ultimately be the Republican who faces off against Barack Obama next year. But he is the subject of a conspiracy theory that bears a strange resemblance to the ones that some on the right have put forward against the president. While some liberals are wasting their time trying to argue that he should get no credit for Texas’ booming economy, others are honing in on Perry’s least attractive characteristic from the liberal frame of reference: his stance as a devout and very public Christian.
For the Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg, it isn’t enough to slam Perry for taking the separation of church and state too lightly. Instead, she attempts to link him to various church groups and beliefs that she claims are the Christian equivalent of Islamists. In this reading Perry isn’t merely an over-the-top evangelical, he is part of “Christian Plot” to take over the country and impose a theocracy. This goes beyond the now typical liberal trope of smearing opponents such as the Tea Party as “terrorists” for their tactics. For the Daily Beast, Perry and Michele Bachmann are part of a fantastic conspiracy theory to do nothing less than destroy American democracy.
I agree with John’s post about Rick Perry’s statement about Ben Bernanke about entirely. People shouldn’t throw around the words “almost treasonous” loosely; and certainly a person running for president shouldn’t do such a thing. To say someone is treasonous means he is a traitor to his country. In the long catalogue of crimes an individual can commit, there are not many that are worse than treason.
While I don’t pretend to be an expert on monetary policy, I do find persuasive the case laid out by the businessman and investor whom Bill Kristol and John cite. Other economists whom I respect share these concerns. But Perry should offer a substantive critique of Bernanke’s policies, not libel the man. What Governor Perry said is part of a broader pattern we find ourselves in these days. One side accuses the other of being terrorists or treasonous, of patterning themselves after al Qaeda or the Nazis. Whatever is driving these outbursts — whether it’s evidence of rage or shallow thinking or something else — it’s not helpful to our country.
Governor Perry’s announcement over the weekend was skillfully orchestrated, and he looks to be a man in possession of some impressive political skills. But what the Texas governor said about the Federal Reserve chairman is the kind of blustering, unthinking comment that Perry’s critics expect of him. Why he would play to stereotype is hard to fathom. Or, perhaps he’s simply being himself. We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime Perry ought to offer a retraction and apology — and then offer a serious intellectual critique of why he believes Ben Bernanke is pursuing injurious policies.