Rick Perry's recent "gaffe" regarding Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke shows just how close the Republican Party has saddled up to Ron Paul. The WSJ, which now is the Fox News of print journalism, has completely shrugged off Perry's remarks, noting that his basic policy premises are correct even if he didn't say it in the right way. The editorial notes that the real issue is that Rick Perry is for "sound money." Dylan Matthews has compiled a list of quotes from major Republicans revealing a view that most conservatives would have repudiated several years ago.
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan: "There is nothing more insidious that a country can do to its citizens than debase its currency."Matthews goes on to note that Mitt Romney is pretty much alone in standing up for Milton Friedman style monetarism. Matthews notes that many Republicans did as well several years ago. Both Shelby and DeMint were staunch supporters of Bernanke, that is before it became unpopular to do so. Friedman's critique of Keynesian economics and government spending has been the hallmark of conservative economic thinking for the last forty years. Now Ron Paul and his merry band of Austrian economists have done irreparable harm to the economic policies of the Republican Party. This is not a cheery turn. David Frum has nicely documented the history of why Richard Nixon took the United States off of the Bretton Woods system. Ron Paul and Rick Perry (in Perry's case he more than likely does not understand) ignore the reasons why the United States made such a change.
House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp: "Simply to begin printing more money at this stage I think is a great concern."
Former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty: "We need to make sure that we stop the practice of devaluing the dollar. ... When you devalue the dollar, you are devaluing the net value of this country."
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: "Pouring out more paper money and increasing the risk of inflation is not a very clever way of trying to solve [our problems]."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Whip Jon Kyl, House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor: "[Quantitative easing] introduces significant uncertainty regarding the future strength of the dollar and could result both in hard-to-control, long-term inflation and potentially generate artificial asset bubbles that could cause further economic disruptions."
Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby: "Long-term interest rates since quantitative easing started have gone up. The object was to make them go down. That hasn't worked. ... The balance sheet of the Federal Reserve is at unprecedented levels."
Sen. Jim DeMint: "Mr. Bernanke has been one of the chief proponents of the Fed's easy money policy that created the current financial crisis. He ignored asset bubbles, dismissed concerns about the weakness of the dollar, and helped encourage the credit mania that led to the financial panic."
Conservative leaders have chosen an easy route of leaning hard on catch phrases and populist talking points. Instead of leading, they cower to an audience that is fearful and unsure about the future. Blasting the Federal Reserve is an easy thing to do, especially if you don't really understand what it does. Let's just hope that Romney will withstand the pressure of bowing to Ron Paul like so many other Republicans have already done.