Republican Convention 2012

'Ben Bernanke is a traitor, a dictator. He's rotting out our republic'


So said State Sen. Tom Davis (R-South Carolina) at Sunday's Ron Paul rally on the eve of the Republican National Convention. Davis also said of the Federal Reserve Chairman that "he's hollowing us out, he's destroying our liberty, he's destroying our economic freedom and he has to be stopped." Ron Paul, he said, "has opened up my eyes to who the most powerful man in the world is." Watch the video:

In Senior Editor Brian Doherty's account of the rally (which I joined for the last couple of hours), he described Davis' performance like this: 

Davis gave a very angry peroration against the "traitor" Ben Bernanke and called for advance support in his plan to unseat Sen. Lindsay Graham in 2014. While Davis' style was very un-Ron Paul in its intense shouty anger bordering on rage, many attendees told me it was their favorite non-Paul part of the day.

That "favorite" bit gives me pause. Facts are damning enough without hyperbolic embroidery, IMO, and untruths lead you to bad places. Ben Bernanke is many things, even many bad things, but the man's actions are not covered by this language

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Photo by the talented Mr. Will Cain

That's in the United States Constitution, a document whose carefully written text was invoked with some frequency at the Ron Paul rally. Did QE2 amount to "levying War"? Did it involve the conscious adherence to, say, China? I see no literal way of getting to the answer "yes." To the more serious (though less statutorily defined) charge of The Bernank being a "dictator," one can only congratulate Sen. Davis for having the good fortune of not really knowing what living under one of those sonsabitches is like. 

The Paul rally's dual tone–"both apocalyptic and hopeful," in Doherty's apt phrasing–was fascinating to observe, and there is no question after the truncated Day One of the RNC where the political enthusiasm (including genuine enthusiasm for broad-brased freedom) lies in Tampa: it's with the Paul delegates. (Who, unlike the vastly larger Romney faction, disregarded instructions to not show up to the convention floor Monday, waving Ron Paul signs in front of various GOP messaging.) I look forward to cheering on the Paulites as they fight to get their voices heard figuratively and literally during today's roll call and related events.  

But if the movement that remains after Ron Paul exits the stage rewards politicians for shouting "traitor," and allows targets of its righteous wrath to become obsessions all out of proportion to reality, then many Americans will have a difficult time understanding just what such exertions have to do with liberty.


NEXT: Brickbat: WTF?

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  1. Most powerful “main” in the world.

    Please fix, posthaste!

    1. Wasn’t posthaste, but thanks!

      1. Posthaste enough for me. Though for a minute there I thought you were implying that Tom Davis was trying to be cholo.

  2. Couldn’t one call a public figure a traitor without accusing them of the crime of treason as defined in the USC? Not sure.

  3. But if the movement that remains after Ron Paul exits the stage rewards politicians for shouting “traitor,” and allows targets of its righteous wrath to become obsessions all out of proportion to reality, then many Americans will have a difficult time understanding just what such exertions have to do with liberty.

    I think we can safely say that the libertarian movement (or any portion of it) is NEVER going to win enough people do do anything worthwhile by speaking calmly in facts, truths and calm reason(DRINK!). So the only other option is to devolve and use the lies, hyperbole and general tactics of the parties that the movement is trying to unseat.

    Now, obviously at some point, those tactics are going to subsume the core of the libertarian foundation, eat away at the noble basis for our views and become all that’s left of the movement. But there’s a tiny, inifinitesimal chance that in the interim, between when we’re at pure logically derived policy and rabid, bloviating belligerence that some decent and worthy changes could be made.

    And, to me, that miniscule, negligible chance is worth sacrificing everything everyone before me has made. But that’s just me. I’m a gambler, a risk-taker.

    If you want to be Susie Plays-it-safe, that’s on you. I mean the worst that will happen is that the party devolves, and a new Bastiat/Rothbard based party grows in its place. Or the world collapse. Either way, it’s the circle of life.

    1. you were doing so well right up to that final sentence. That song is now stuck in my head. You evil bastard

      1. Actually that typo in the next to the last sentence makes me want to commit suicide anyway.

        1. +1 for self loathing

  4. If you define Goldman-Sachs, JPM, etc. and the rest of the banking cartel as the enemy of all that is good in this world – then yes he’s a traitor.

    1. Why do you hate capitalism?

      1. That’s hilarious, shrike, you asking the question “why do you hate capitalism?”.

        Of course, you won’t get the irony.

  5. What a shame that the dems arent having their convention in New Orleans tomorrow. What a shame.

    I know that a number of times in the past I have said here that we need another katrina to come and wash new orleans into the gulf, but now that the possibility is real and upon us, I hesitate to say it again.

    Note that I hesitate, not that I take it back.

    1. Well, since New Orleans is a ‘chocolate city’, you’re obviously RACIST!!!11!!!won!!1

    2. If y’all are in Isaac’s path, best of luck Suthenboy. I hope you’re stocked up on the really important supplies, like booze.

      1. If I know Suthenboy, he’s got plenty of Drambuie, Amaretto and Zima to get through this thing.

        1. Zima: because zhit happens.

      2. and moist towelettes. Can’t have too many moist towelettes. Probably.

        1. All towelettes are moist after a proper storm surge.

      3. Thank you for your wishes. I am well supplied with everything important. The chainsaws, gas cans, generators, cupboard, flashlights, medicine cabinet and shotguns are all tip-top. And yes, so is the liquor cabinet.

        I shopped early…saturday. By yesterday afternoon all of the stores were wiped out completely of anything resembling hurricane supplies. There is no gasoline to be found at any station. Katrina and Gustav are still fresh in everyone’s memory so there is a tinge of panic. Yesterday I saw two old men playing tug-of-war in Sam’s with a case of bottled water. Geez.

  6. This is why nobody takes state senators from South Carolina seriously.

    1. Oh come on.

      It’s just one of MANY reasons.

  7. Setting aside the rhetoric and technical legal definition of treason, Davis’ critique of Bernanke is right on the money. One of the most important things a president Romney could do for this country would be to send this scumbag back down to South of the Border. Whether or not he has the guys to do it remains to be seen.

    1. Just for performing the legal duties of a central bank?

      Bernanke regularly has 8-9 votes behind him on FOMC decisions. 9-1 votes are not dictatorish.

      And Hoenig (the 1 vote) recently retired.

      1. ‘My stooges agree with me, therefore I’m not a dictator’

        ‘My rape is legally sanctioned, so it’s not rape’

  8. This anti-Fed insanity has leaked into the mainstream GOP. Gov. Rick W. Perry warned Bernanke not to visit Texas lest he get shot or strung up.

    “Them New York Jew bankers are ruinin’ America!”

    1. Just calling a spade is a spade….

    2. The Fed was in fact created by New York bankers (ancestry irrelevant) to largely benefit themselves, under the premise of “stopping bubbles”, among other reasons. It has largely failed in this regard.
      Zero percent interest rates kill savers and benefit large debt holders (i.e. large banks). The Fed is now in cahoots with Treasury to destroy small banks to benefit large institutions. Yes, too much hate is directed at Bernanke rather than the Fed itself, but it can’t end soon enough.

  9. This is some scary shit Matt. Demagoguery is no substitute for understanding the issues, and economics isn’t intuitive to everyone. Tom Davis thinks Bernanke deserves the moniker “traitor and dictator” because the Fed tripped M over the last 3 years. But inflation has been well below 2% the whole time. MV=PY, so clearly the velocity of money has gone down at least 3x. I really wish Paul and Davis were not so enamored of the batshit Rothbardian view of monetary policy, because it is plain fucking wrong.

    1. I left out the “plain fucking wrong” in my more or less contemporaneous post – thank you for mentioning it.

  10. Matt Welch is spot on on this one. If Libertarians are to be a credible alternative, they need to be credible, and having crackpots shouting “treason” is not a path to credibility….even if it was correct, which it’s not on so many levels.

    The Fed has behaved honorably within its mandate. In many cases they may have been ineffectual and misguided and based on false dogma, but that doesn’t make the Fed governors different from many public servants.

    Seeking an audit of the Fed is a legitimate point of view…accusing the Fed Chairman of treason is the rantings of a crackpot…the libertarian equivalent of Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor…hardly someone who helps the cause.

    1. No, this is absolutely nothing honorable whatsoever about destroying your own nation’s currency to enable the demented loons in power.

  11. This makes a lot of sesne dude. I like the sound of this dude. WOw.

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