August 17, 2011


Wednesday saw a full-blown media hyperventilation – stoked by the president and White House press secretary – over Perry’s comments that it would be “almost treasonous” if the Federal Reserve chairman were to print more money in a bid to boost the wilting economy in advance of the 2012 election.

The Obama campaign and its liberal backers have begun to build the narrative that Perry is a reckless and radical figure, including one cable and radio host who cut a Perry sound bite to make it seem that Perry had said Obama was “a dark cloud” hanging over the American economy instead of what he did say, which was that uncertainty and debt were dark clouds hanging over the economy. This led to a long discussion about Perry’s secret racism and the racist tendencies of the Tea Party movement.

Meanwhile, other reporters have been digging through the trove of piquant Perry statements from his decade governing Texas, including the hot microphone moment when he left the set of a querulous TV interview saying “adios mofo.”

None of this is going to hurt Perry. In fact — do I really have to spell this out to our lame punditry? I guess so — they’ve played right into Perry’s hands. First, he’s building a narrative that consumer inflation, currently accelerating, is the fault of reckless Obama spending and the Bernanke money-printing that supported it. The attacks on him over the Bernanke comments just draw attention to it. Right now inflation, especially in food and other necessaries, is an irritant, but it’s likely to be a much bigger issue by election day. Second, when former Bush people attack him for dissing Wall Street and the Fed, it’s helping him put distance between himself and Bush. That’s not as important as it used to be, since the Bush era is starting to look like an economic golden age compared to what came later — those $180 billion deficits and sub-5% unemployment rates don’t look so bad now, do they? — but it’s still essential to Perry building the necessary separation. And watch him attack Obama for being too close to Wall Street and the Fed before this is all over.

As for the “Adios, mofo,” line, well, it calls up another Perry resemblance. That’s not going to hurt him either. If you’re living through a seventies rerun, why not look like a seventies clean-up hero? And I can think of worse advice for Obama than A man’s got to know his limitations. . . .

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