Apparently I touched a nerve. 

Yesterday I wrote that Texas Gov. Rick Perry was out of line for suggesting Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke would be engaging in “treasonous” behavior if he launched another round of quantitative easing.

The article spurred some heated discussion in our comments section, with some calling me “naïve,” while others insisted that QE3 would be “a threat to the entire citizenry of the US.”

Others, of course, were also alarmed at Perry’s comments. Thomas W. wrote that it is “becoming clear that many of the GOP Presidential candidates are campaigning in the belief that the Federal Government should do nothing to prevent recessions from developing or deepening….I can think of nothing scarier for the banking system and the economy.”

What’s interesting is that while nobody defended Perry’s wording, exactly, many were perfectly willing to assume he was making a substantive policy argument in what he said. 

But I think Perry was talking off the cuff, not contributing to a larger debate.  

Based solely on his comments, Perry seems to think QE3 is a problem not due to its substance, but on the dubious proposition that Bernanke is implementing it to help President Obama win re-election. I’m not sure this is a policy position, per se. It seems more like paranoia than anything else. (Bernanke is a Republican, after all.)

Yet others saw in Perry’s comments a potential reflection of their own views. 

“The Fed is a broken institution that ought to be replaced with a much more streamlined institution that focuses on monetary policy making and leaves banking regulation to the FDIC, period,” wrote David W. “If Governor Perry has in mind this sort of undertaking, then more power to him.”

Perry himself has tried to pivot the conversation toward substance rather than heated rhetoric. At a stop this morning in New Hampshire, Perry said he “got in trouble” for his comments but defended them by making a wholly separate point

“There have been a number of politicians who have stood up and really questioned the transparency of the Federal Reserve,” Perry said. “They should open their books up. They should be transparent so that the people of the United States know what they are doing and how they are doing.”

Had Perry made this argument in the first place, there would have been no outrage in the media or elsewhere (and certainly not from me). Indeed, it’s a substantive point that others in the presidential race – including Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich – have also made. (Read my interview with Gingrich here.)

While neither of those men spoke out on this topic yesterday, it’s important to note that several noteworthy Republicans did condemn Perry’s comments. Speaking to Fox News, GOP strategist Karl Rove said: “You don't accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country. Of being guilty of treason. And, suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in Texas. You know, that is not, again, a presidential statement."

Democrats, too, were mad, with Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, suggesting that Perry should learn to watch what he say. 

Perry scoffed at that on Wednesday, saying actions speak louder than words. That may be, but the Texas governor would do well to remember that words are also important. Next time he speaks about Bernanke or the Fed, he should stick to policy over hyperbole. 

What did you think of Perry’s comments? Weigh in below. 

Rob Blackwell is the Washington bureau chief of American Banker.

Apparently I touched a nerve. 
Yesterday I wrote that Texas Gov. Rick Perry was out of line for suggesting Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke would be engaging in “treasonous” behavior if he launched another round of quantitative easing. (http://goo.gl/wWmnw)
The article spurred some heated discussion in our comment sections, with some calling me “naïve,” while others insisted that QE3 would be “a threat to the entire citizenry of the US.”
Others, of course, were also alarmed at Perry’s comments. Thomas W. wrote that it is “becoming clear that many of the GOP Presidential candidates are campaigning in the belief that the Federal Government should do nothing to prevent recessions from developing or deepening….I can think of nothing scarier for the banking system and the economy.”
What’s interesting is that while nobody defended Perry’s wording, exactly, many were perfectly willing to assume he was making a substantive policy argument in what he said. 
But I think Perry was talking off the cuff, not contributing to a larger debate.  
Based solely on his comments, Perry seems to think QE3 is a problem not due to its substance, but on the dubious proposition that Bernanke is implementing it to help President Obama win re-election. I’m not sure this is a policy position, per se. In fact, it seems more like paranoia than anything else. (Bernanke is a Republican, after all.)
Yet others saw in Perry’s comments a potential reflection of their own views. 
“The Fed is a broken institution that ought to be replaced with a much more streamlined institution that focuses on monetary policy making and leaves banking regulation to the FDIC, period,” wrote David W. “If Governor Perry has in mind this sort of undertaking, then more power to him.”
Perry himself has tried to pivot the conversation toward substance rather than heated rhetoric. At a stop this morning in New Hampshire (http://goo.gl/GeQaF), Perry said he “got in trouble” for his comments but defended them by making a wholly separate point. 
“There have been a number of politicians who have stood up and really questioned the transparency of the Federal Reserve,” Perry said. “They should open their books up. They should be transparent so that the people of the United States know what they are doing and how they are doing.”
Had Perry made this argument in the first place, there would have been no outrage in the media or elsewhere (and certainly not from me.) Indeed, it’s a substantive point that others in the presidential race – including Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich – have also made. (Read my interview with Gingrich here -- http://goo.gl/caL1H)
While neither of those men spoke out on this topic yesterday, it’s important to note that several noteworthy Republicans did condemn Perry’s comments. Speaking to Fox News, GOP strategist Karl Rove (http://goo.gl/xmoiH) said: “You don't accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country. Of being guilty of treason. And, suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in Texas. You know, that is not, again a presidential statement."
Democrats, too, were mad, with Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, suggesting that Perry should learn to watch what he say. 
Perry scoffed at that on Wednesday, saying actions speak louder than words. That may be, but the Texas governor would do well to remember that words are also important. Next time he speaks about Bernanke or the Fed, he should stick to policy over hyperbole. 
What did you think of Perry’s comments? Weigh in below.