Rick Perry 'treasonous' comment a strategic play for South Carolina vote?

Was Rick Perry's comment that Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's actions were "almost treasonous" a political gaffe – or a line that will resonant with South Carolina GOP primary voters?

Charles Dharapak/AP
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa. He told a smaller group in Iowa that he found the Federal Reserve chief's acts 'almost treasonous.'

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was the controversial topic du jour around the political stratosphere due to comments he made Monday about Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and President Obama’s patriotism.

While Decoder wrote about reasons Perry may be slinging gaffes at an amazing rate, conservative newsgroup Human Events argues Perry may be crazy like a fox. And like a South Carolina fox, in particular.

Human Events’ Tony Lee argues Perry’s statements may help the governor in South Carolina, Perry’s clearest shot at winning an early primary state, by endearing him to the state’s strong libertarian-leaning Republicans (who abhor the Federal Reserve). Further, his comments could be seen as pitting him against the national media, another positive for South Carolina voters in Lee’s eyes.

Not convinced? Maybe Perry was sending sartorial signals: He reportedly changed into a seersucker blazer – a staple of conservative southern fashion – before he made his remarks in Iowa.

Lee reminds us that Perry has used what many saw as a gaffe to his political advantage in the past. Chiefly, his 2009 comments hinting that Texas could secede from the union which were, Lee argues, carefully crafted to avoid using the word secede. What Perry did say:

“There’s a lot of different scenarios. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

That supposed gaffe “helped him gin up the conservative base in Texas to help him cruise to a primary win over establishment politician Kay Bailey Hutchison” during Texas’ Republican gubernatorial primary, Lee writes.

The Bottom Line: Perry eventually beat Hutchison, a well-regarded Texas senator, by north of 20 percentage points. Sometimes, one man’s gaffe is the same man’s political gain.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.