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.