The Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate poked fun at the controversial comment his home state rival, Governor Rick Perry, made in Iowa this past week, just a few days after he jumped into the presidential campaign. Paul said Perry “makes me sound like a moderate” by the way the Texas Governor warned Iowans that the Fed chairman might resort to expanding the money supply between now and the 2012 election to help President Obama.
"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 history is almost treasonous in my opinion."
Perry has been widely and sharply criticized for the remark, particularly in what might be called respectable Republican circles. Karl Rove, the often-controversial political advisor to former President George W. Bush, both in the Texas Governor's office and in the White House, was quick to call Perry out of bounds — though he did make some allowance for the fact that the Governor is new to presidential politics:
It's his first time on the national stage, and it was a very unfortunate comment. You don't accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country and being guilty of treason and suggesting that we['d] treat him pretty ugly in Texas — that's not, again, a presidential statement.... Governor Perry is going to have to fight the impression that he's a cowboy from Texas. This simply added to it.
Former Bush White House official Pete Wehner struck a similar theme, albeit in a a harsher tone, when he wrote in Commentary:
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....
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.
Rep. Paul, who has had the Federal Reserve issue virtually to himself until quite recently, took a more lighthearted approach to Perry's comments, even as he pretended to forget the name of his state's Governor.
"Now they have this other governor, I can't remember his name," Paul said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. "He realizes that talking about the Fed is good, too. But he makes me sound like a moderate. I have never once said Bernanke has committed treason. But I have suggested very strongly that the Federal Reserve system and all the members have been counterfeiters for a long time."
Paul has in fact been a critic of the Fed for years, if not decades, for its manipulation of the money supply and inflating the currency by printing more dollars backed with nothing but still more paper dollars. In recent years he has called for the Fed to be audited and even abolished. End the Fed is one of several best-selling books he has written since he ran for President in 2008.
Writing on LewRockwell.com, historian Tom DiLorenzo came to Perry's defense — sort of. DiLorenzo acknowledged that the Fed's role in manipulating the nation's money supply does not fit the definition of treason found in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution: "Treason against the United States shall consists only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” He continued,
But what the Fed is guilty of is being the financial handmaiden of the subversion of constitutional government in America ever since its founding in 1913. It has helped to finance all of America's unconstitutional wars and other "military adventures," for example, beginning with the Korean War.
Congress no longer declares war, as required by the Constitution, and then disguises the costs of war with debt and with money creation by the Fed. Without the Fed, there would have been fewer unconstitutional wars over the past 60 years, and the wars that did occur would have been shorter.
The creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, along with the federal income tax in that same year, paved the way for America's ill-fated entry into World War I, DiLorenzo charged, and the centralization of power that has undermined the structure and purpose of the Constitution.
Armed with the ability to engage in legalized counterfeiting, virtually all political power became centralized in Washington, D.C. All states became effective franchises of the central government who could easily be bribed or bullied into submission with federal grants or the threat of their withdrawal....
Thus, the Fed may not be responsible for "levying war" against the states, the definition of treason that is in the Constitution, but it has played a crucial role in the destruction of the system of federalism or states' rights that was established by the American founders. Perhaps Governor Perry can do a better job of articulating this point the next time he attempts to steal Congressman Ron Paul's thunder on the campaign trail.
So what does Paul, the 12-term Congressman, think of Perry and other candidates trying to steal his thunder by joining the growing chorus of critics of the Federal Reserve?
"He kind of looks at it as, it's good to see other candidates finally catching up by at least paying lip service to some of this," Paul spokesman Gary Howard told Newsmax. "Unfortunately, we're looking at people's records, and they don't have much of a record in dealing with this issue."