There’s a lot to like in a candidate such as Rick Perry, the governor of Texas who has thrown an oversize Stetson and great hair into the GOP presidential race. But the Texas swagger is already getting him in trouble.
We agree with the widespread and bipartisan criticism of his ugly remark about Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve.
“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,” Perry said while campaigning. “Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost ... treasonous in my opinion.”
Well, at least there’s no sugarcoating here.
Accusing the Fed of playing politics with the money supply is unfair, although hardly unprecedented. The nation set up the Federal Reserve to be independent of politics, so rhetoric about the alleged political maneuvers of the Fed is an easy way to score points without taking on any actual responsibility for the remarks.
Perry is hardly the first man to indulge in that political cheap shot, although it is an example of swagger without substance, not the judgment people expect from a president.
If Perry really believes Bernanke — who worked in President George W. Bush’s White House and was first appointed chairman of the Fed by Bush — has been converted to a Democratic operative pumping up the money supply to benefit President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, that’s one thing. It’s far-fetched, but maybe Perry does believe that. It doesn’t justify casting aspersions about treason.
We live, sadly, in a world in which such remarks by a major political figure can lead the deranged into violence against government officials all too easily.
Candidates make mistakes on the campaign trail. Perry ought to show he’s a big enough man to apologize.