Count me in the same camp as John Podhoretz: Rick Perry’s comment on Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve was really dumb, and really unpresidential. As Podhoretz puts it:
I think it’s pretty clear from the clip that Perry was trying to play folksy straight-talkin’ populist guy while taking up a complicated issue, using colorful dirt-kicker language to connect to his al-fresco audience as he might in his home town of Paint Creek. And in the early going on Twitter, I suggested the harrumphers were knowingly making a mountain out of a molehill to bring him down a notch. I was wrong.
He’s trying to be the next president, and he needs to be judged on that standard. What Perry did was make a thoughtless blunder, an unforced error; we’re now going to spend a couple of days discussing whether he was summoning violence on Ben Bernanke’s head or not, which is of absolutely no use to Perry. He is, or was, moments away from becoming the race’s frontrunner, and what is in his interest is to harness the excitement of his late entry with qualities of leadership and control that will rally the majority of Republicans unhappy with the choices facing them to his side. Rick Perry made that more difficult today; this was a serious rookie mistake on the national stage.
Having written that, here’s a question I’d like Paul Krugman to ask himself a couple of questions: Who is he to criticize Rick Perry on this issue? Indeed, who is Paul Krugman to lecture anyone about the need for political civility?