Republican Convention 2012

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

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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.