On the heels of the conspiracy theory about the liberal media and pollsters “inventing” President Obama's post-convention bump—which has turned out to be quite reality-based—the wingers have a brand-new fractured fairy tale. This one features the former George W. Bush adviser and appointee, Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, sporting an Obama campaign button and laughing maniacally as he orders the money-printing machines cranked up to top speed. (“Forward, pussycat! Forward!”) Yesterday, Bernanke announced a new, open-ended policy of “quantitative easing”—pumping huge sums of money into the economy, as the Prospect’s Robert Kuttner explains, in order to fuel growth by driving down interest rates, particularly on home mortgages. The Fed’s action was a bracing rebuke to deficit hawks like JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and the Norquist GOP. But that’s not what’s got the right wing buzzing. After all, why would a Federal Reserve chair want to stimulate a stagnant economy—unless he was doing it purely to benefit our foreign-born Muslim president’s re-election effort?
The Drudge Report called it “Election Manipulation.” At The New York Post, Charles Gasparino’s column was headlined, “Printing money to bail out Bam.”
Noted economist Sarah Palin opined, “President Obama is no doubt happy that this latest sugar fix comes 53 days before the election.” Many congressional Republicans agreed: “It really is interesting that it is happening right now before an election,” said Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho. “It is going to sow some growth in the economy, and the Obama administration is going to claim credit.” New Jersey Republican Representative Scott Garrett demanded to know: “Who exactly is this helping?”
What’s remarkable about the ludicrous idea that the Fed acted purely out of pro-Obama motives is that it’s not remarkable. The contemporary Republican mainstream has inherited the once-risible conspiratorial mindset of the John Birchers. The idea that Obama could be a “legitimate” commander-in-chief is so far-fetched, so utterly unthinkable, that these folks are convinced the rest of the universe is in on the plot. It’s a small leap, really, from diabolical issuers of faux Hawaiian birth certificates to "election manipulators" on the Federal Reserve Board. They’re all in on it, people! You can’t say you weren’t warned.
So They Say
"I'm kind of a Snooki fan. Look how tiny's she's gotten. She's lost weight. She's energetic. Just her spark-plug personality is kind of fun."
Daily Meme: Greetings from the Values Voter Summit
- Michele Bachmann: "I just want to say a word about this concept that you’ve heard about called the war on women, the so-called war on women. And I just want to say I think it has about as much reliability and truthfulness as Bill Clinton’s arithmetic."
- Paul Ryan: “Lately he’s been trying out a new tactic. It’s a classic Barack Obama straw man: If anyone dares to point out the facts of his record, why then, they’re just being negative and pessimistic about the country. The new straw man is people hoping for the decline of America. It’s pretty sad, but this is the closest President Obama can come these days to sounding positive himself."
- Rand Paul: "I think there is crisis in our country. It’s not just a fiscal crisis. I think it’s a moral crisis. I think it’s a spiritual crisis."
- Jim DeMint: "Really, I come out because this is the aroma of freedom, just to have all of you in town. And I know Harry Reid would say you’re smelly."
- Bill Bennett: "The message Mitt Romney gave was heard, it was heard and it was repeated, it was echoed, it was approved, the American people applauded it. God help it be seen and heard elsewhere."
- Eric Cantor: "Many of our fellow Americans are now being forced to take our government to court, to sue them, to sue our government in order to practice our faith, [which is why] we must repeal ObamaCare."
- Bryan Fischer: “I think if Mitt Romney loses this election that the pro-family leaders in the United States should get together with Rick Perry on Nov. 7 and start planning for 2016."
- Kansas Representative Tim Huelskamp: "Like the pro-slavery forces who invaded Kansas, the pro-abortion forces in Washington and elsewhere want us to believe that abortion is not murder—that being born is worse than death, that the unborn baby is property, not a person. We've heard that before—150 years ago."
What We're Writing
- Harold Meyerson: Why do Chicagoans strongly support the teachers’ strike?
- Jamelle Bouie: Romney’s not the only presidential candidate who thinks $200-$250,000 is “middle income.”
What We're Reading
- Dept. of Stunning Hypocrisy: Romney echoes the embassy statement he all-too-hastily condemned earlier this week.
- …but his advisers are still in attack mode. It’s “amateur hour” at the White House, says a Romney aide who encouraged his candidate's premature attack on Tuesday night.
- Could the Mideast uprisings end up hurting the president, though? Alex Altman says yes. Greg Scoblete disagrees.
- Andrew Sullivan calls Obama “the sanest conservative president since Eisenhower.”
- How do politicians get away with lying? By tarring the fact-checkers, writes David Corn.
- Why is Florida still up for grabs? David Freedlander explains.
- George Zornick: Scott Brown is lying about his record on reproductive rights.
- Annals of Propaganda: How did Nathaniel Hawthorne end up writing a campaign biography for one of America’s worst presidents?
Poll of the Day
Americans love Bill Clinton, Barack Obama’s MVS (Most Valuable Surrogate), more than ever after his deliciously wonky convention speech. CBS News/The New York Times findsthat only 25 percent view the former president negatively, while two-thirds love themselves some Big Bill. The closest political figure in terms of belovedness? Michelle Obama, seen favorably by 61 percent and as not-so-hot by 19 percent.
For more polling information, go to the Prospect’s 2012 election map.