WASHINGTON — If there is a more cynical way to launch a presidential campaign, I'd like to hear it.
Less than a week after announcing he would run for president, Texas Gov. Rick Perry hinted late Monday that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke should be taken to the woodshed if the central bank launches another round of quantitative easing.
Then he went even further.
"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. "Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous, or treasonous in my opinion."
For the video, courtesy of the liberal group Think Progress, click here.
So let me get this straight: If Bernanke, in an effort to help bolster the economy, launches QE3, that makes him a traitor?
I'm not sure what's worse—that Perry made the comment, or that the crowd around him actually applauded when he said it. There should have been audible gasps, not clapping. It speaks volumes of the popularity of the Fed, or lack thereof, that many do not realize the central bank is at least trying to help.
According to the Washington Post, Perry explained his reasoning to reporters, saying QE3 would be seen as a blatant attempt to reelect President Obama.
Which just makes things worse. Listen, it's possible to disagree with QE3, but we shouldn't doubt the motives behind it. If Bernanke launches another round, he will be trying to save the economy—and the country at large—not Obama. No matter what political pundits might say, the two things are not the same.
It's worth noting that Bernanke isn't even a Democrat. He's a Republican first appointed by President George W. Bush. Secondly, no matter his political affiliation, the Fed is an independent agency—and is not taking directions from the White House.
Yes, I'm fully aware that if the economy improves, Obama's reelection chances go up. But that doesn't mean Perry or anyone else should be rooting against economic improvement. We should all want the economy to improve because it would—and I can't believe I have to state the obvious here—help millions of Americans.
I find it disturbing that Perry, and some others, appear to have lost track of that. Because who is the real traitor: someone who is trying to help improve the lives of American citizens, or a politician who is hoping the economy flatlines or worse for their own personal gain?