The nod and the wink? Deconstructing Perry’s comments about Bernanke

I didn’t really notice Phil Noble’s release earlier about Rick Perry and Ben Bernanke (I’m drowning in email), until it was also forwarded to me by Samuel Tenenbaum today. Here’s the full release, and here’s an excerpt:

Noble Calls on Perry to Apologize for ‘Unacceptable’ Attack on South Carolina Native Son Bernanke

Gov. Rick PerryIn response to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s continuing suggestions that South Carolina born-and-bred Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke is not acting with America’s best interests at heart, SC New Democrats president Phil Noble is calling on the GOP front-runner to apologize.

“In the last few days,” Noble said, “Rick Perry has called our native son Ben Bernanke ‘treacherous’ and ‘treasonous’ and has questioned what his ‘true goal is for the United States.’ Somebody needs to tell Mr. Perry that we don’t talk that way about central bankers here in the South Carolina, and we certainly don’t talk that way about central bankers who happen to be Jewish.”

Noble continued, “The stereotype of the ‘treacherous” or ‘treasonous’ Jewish banker is one of the most poisonous slurs in all of recent Western history. And whether Rick Perry is exploiting this anti-Semitic stereotype today out of true malice or simple ignorance of that long and tragic history doesn’t really matter. Either way, it’s completely unacceptable, and he needs to apologize to Mr. Bernanke and all the people of our state for this grossly inappropriate attack on one of our most distinguished native sons before his Texas boot heel touches South Carolina soil again.

“Or, to put this in terms that even the Governor should understand: Gov. Perry, don’t mess with South Carolina.”

Samuel offered his own observation, which I’ve heard him make before in different contexts:

Remember Campbell and his political anti-Semitism [a reference to the campaign against Max Heller]? It is the old nod and wink game here. Call it the “nink.” Those who have the correct receptors get his message and those who do not, never would associate anti-Semitism with his statement.

True, as a goy, I did not at first associate what Perry said with Bernanke’s Jewishness. But then, I had not initially heard that one bit of comment from Perry, “… I think there will continue to be questions about their activity and what their true goal is for the United States.” To a Catholic, that sounds familiar. But still…

Samuel and I have a lot of discussions about stuff like this. We went to see “The Passion of Jesus Christ” together, along with Moss Blachman, on Saturday in 2004, and then we all went to lunch and debated it. We did not see it the same. But we agreed about one thing: We didn’t like the movie.

Bottom line, I don’t think Perry is going after Bernanke because he’s Jewish any more than because he’s from South Carolina. I think Perry is going after him because a section of the electorate he’s trying to woo deeply dislikes the Federal Reserve, and Bernanke just happens to be its current chairman. The Fed chair could have been a gentile from Oregon, and for that matter could be pursuing policies completely different from Bernanke’s, and Perry would still be on his case.

That’s what I think.

25 thoughts on “The nod and the wink? Deconstructing Perry’s comments about Bernanke

  1. Steven Davis

    And in the other 49 states (or 56 if you’re Obama), they either agree with Perry or simply don’t care what Noble has to say.

    Perry’s going after Bernanke because Bernanke’s actions are doing absolutely nothing to help the economy. Just watch his actions when he speaks, there’s no confidence there, he’s at a loss for ideas. When you have a weak link, you fix it or suffer the consequences. We’re suffering the consequences at the moment.

    Who brought up the fact that Bernanke is Jewish… until this blog article I had no idea or care what religion he is. Is this just another version of the race card being tossed out because they have nothing else to defend him?

  2. Mab

    “Is this just another…”

    No, Steven, it is not. It is entirely possible that the crooked bastid that is pulling his strings has tied his hands. Literally.

    Or any number of distracting messes. Who knows?

    The last SC firm I worked for had an imported (North Carolina) CFO who was thwarted at every turn by the owner, IRS, local bankers, IT staff, HR policies — and military lawyers run amuck.

    I wouldn’t bet on his being at liberty to implement what he would/could do.

    Just sayin’ / speculating.

  3. Michael

    I don’t even think it’s common knowledge among politicos that Ben Bernanke is Jewish. Like who even thinks of religion in the context of the Fed Chair. I used to have respect for Phil Noble – you know, back when he was actually trying to put the “New” in the Democratic Party – which used to mean you didn’t concern yourself with nonsense but rather focused on actually developing pro-growth, pro-business policies for America’s left-of-center party. But over the past few years Phil has come across as someone sitting at the kids table, constantly trying to get attention, but with little success.

  4. j

    Steven, you ever take Econ 101? If you had, you’d understand fiscal and monetary policy and the interaction of each on the national economy. You may want to review the economic history and policy actions and impact in 1937.

  5. Steve Gordy

    Monetary policy has done about all it could to provide the fuel for a recovery; fiscal policy, which is not the Fed’s business, is required. I don’t think it would worth one’s while to convince the Tea Party of this . . .

  6. bud

    Perry is going after Bernanke for purely political reasons. I doubt if he had any anti-semetic thinking in mind. Frankly I get tired of all these accusations of racism, anti-semitism, anti-gay or anything else related to a specific group. Can’t we just say Perry’s comments were inappropriate and even dangerous without all the group reference stuff?

    And just to be clear I completely agree with Bernanke’s actions. If we don’t get the unemployment issue under control does it really matter if the dollar is weak? Seems like a risk worth taking to me.

  7. Steven Davis

    @ j – Actually I have a Bachelors degree in Economics… so I do know a thing or two about the subject. Thanks for explaining it to me though.

  8. j

    Steve, you’re welcome. I only have a graduate degree in finance so I may have missed your economic rational.

  9. Steven Davis

    j – Well good for you. Where in what I said did I bring up economic rational. I was talking about Beranke being a failure in his job.

  10. j

    Steven, what does “,, Bernanke’s actions are doing absolutely nothing to help the economy.” I suppose his actions relative to monetary policy have had no impact. However, I presume you were just channeling Perry and have read Perry’s mind. It would be informative to know what you really think as a Republican. It may be helpful to me and others to understand Perry’s economic reasoning behind his comments cited by your first entry relative to Bush’s Fed Chair (the guy who has committed treason according to Perry).

  11. Billy

    I think you are right, Brad. I don’t think Perry even knew or even thought about Bernanke being of Jewish descent. However, I’m sure he’s enjoying having just learned it. You see, his purpose is to stir the emotions of racial bigotry against Obama and now he’s having fun getting his bubba friends riled about Jewish people too. It’s a win-win for him!

  12. Mab


    And once Rhett Perry extends that already tried-and-true strategy to whip his KKK/Nazi base into a furor — he will (albeit more subtly) go after Catholics, Mormons, and ‘Womens’.

  13. Mab

    btw — the SC firm I was talking about above self-sabotaged and went belly-up. It was their business plan all along. The CFO was a very expensive but very lame duck.

  14. Steven Davis

    @j – Just as an FYI – I did attempt to answer your request, it wasn’t approved by Brad and I’m not going to bother retyping it.

  15. j

    My dad always said if you throw a brick into a pack of dogs, the one that is hit, barks the loudest.

  16. j

    Why do you keep commenting and not address the earlier points relative to your Perry and Bernanke comments?

  17. Steven Davis

    @j – Did you see my post where I stated that I had addressed them, and Brad banned it? Maybe your beef should be with Brad and not me.

  18. Brad

    Or… maybe you could try rephrasing your comment without all the in-your-face attitude.

    I don’t remember the particular comment, but that’s usually the reason I don’t allow one.

    For instance, in another of yours a moment ago, you started out by saying to another reader, “I realize your purposely avoiding the question I’ve asked…”

    Without that, it would have been fine. But the attitude, the chip on the shoulder, the accusatory tone, is the problem.

  19. Steven Davis

    I’ve rephrased the question, which was purposely avoided. Take a look at the discussion and you’ll see what I mean. Obama was taking private jets, Mark is talking about commercial tickets and telling me their the same thing.

    I’m not the only one with “accusatory tone” in that discussion. How about “j” in this one… for example. Doesn’t your wife go by the same initial? That could possibly be the explanation why one post is posted and one is deleted.

  20. Brad

    This particular “j” is a guy. He’s written me e-mails in the past; same email address.

    “J” is the initial of his last name. Unlike with my wife, for whom it stands for her given name.

    In his case, I’m pretty sure I know his real name. Which under my code, gives him certain rights. He doesn’t change his handle around, and use fake email addresses and such. Which tends to put people on double-secret probation, as I believe you’ve called it…

  21. Steven Davis

    That’s fine… I’ve noticed a few other regulars here who have begun posting less and less. I think I know why.

  22. j

    Brad, thanks for your observations. I am who you say. In fact, we met a couple of years ago when I was introduced to you at a political event by my friend of some 40 years who is a credible, experienced legislator and long-time public servant.

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