'New Hickory': Governor Rick Perry's Jacksonian Posture
The Obama administration immediately pushed back on Rick Perry's recent controversial comment the Fed's unending monetary printing is "almost treasonous," calling any attack on the Fed chairman "not a good idea."
The public confrontation between the Texas governor and the banking establishment recalls the heated standoff between Andrew Jackson and the Second Bank of the United States. Indeed, Governor Perry in many ways is posturing himself in a tough-talking populist way reminiscent of "Old Hickory" -- a renowned, though flawed, man of character.
Upon assuming office, Andrew Jackson declared his intent to end the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson believed that his opposition to the quasi-central bank led to an assassination attempt on his life. As he famously said, "The bank is trying to kill me, but I will kill it." And "kill it" he did.
While Andrew Jackson mayhap did not give us such colorful lines as the "den of vipers" quote, his other more substantiated comments on central banking are very forceful, and they drive his argument against the institution home:
I have read the scriptures, gentlemen, and I find that when Moses ascended the mountain, the children of Israel rebelled, and made a golden calf and worshipped it, and it brought a curse upon them. This bank will be a greater curse. I have no hostility to the bank; I am willing it should expire in peace; but if it does persist in its war with the government, I have a measure in contemplation which will destroy it at once, and which I am resolved to apply, be the consequences to individuals what they may. The bank has in circulation ten millions of checks, which I have no doubt are illegal, and which I will direct the state banks to refuse in payment of the public revenue. These checks must then be returned upon the bank, and will drain her of the specie she is hoarding. This measure I will apply, unless the bank desists from its course.
In addition to his stated opposition to the central bank of his day, Governor Perry shares qualities with Andrew Jackson in that he is a fiery populist with presumably humble roots. Also, both volunteered for the military. Jackson became a military hero, first governor of Florida, and eventually the seventh president; and as history would have it, he was the first to recognize Texas's independence. Beyond biography, there are parallels and connections extending into electoral circumstances.
The political climate prior to Jackson's eventual election had been marked by an "era of good feelings," which began to be strained in 1919 by Jackson's punitive expedition into Florida against the Seminoles, as well as a bank panic that led to high unemployment and a wave of foreclosures. The 1824 election contest was one of the most raucous in American history. The affair had Jackson gaining a preponderance, but not a majority, of electoral votes over his competitors, and it was therefore settled by Twelfth Amendment rules. The presidency went to Jackson's competitor, John Quincy Adams.
Over President Adams's term, the dominant Democrat-Republican party fractured, only to split in the 1828 elections into the National Republicans, led by Adams, and the Democrat-Republicans, which became the Jackson Democrats. The first modern election, replete with rampant mudslinging, culminated in Jackson's victory.
Governor Perry's campaign can also look forward to an electoral season of incendiary rhetoric, as he launched himself into the midst of a competitive race among a large field of Republican contenders and faces a progressive machine whose adherents will cling by their fingernails to the "transformative" program installed over President Obama's term.
On matters of contemporary relevance, such as national economic policy and the ongoing wars, one could only hope that Perry is the second coming of Andrew Jackson. Yet it is ultimately impossible to know what Governor Perry really believes about such matters as taking on the Federal Reserve (our own central bank) because his position cannot be verified by his record. Indeed, many conservatives will find that the tough-talking Texan needs to do some explaining: on working for an already climate change-espousing Al Gore, on suspicious comments made about and ties to Islam, associations with-known globalists, and questionable stances on illegal immigration. At the same time, however, Governor Perry draws a sharp conservative line on environmentalism, states' rights, and now central banking.
At first blush, the newly entered Republican candidate certainly projects himself as a kind of "New Hickory." The national vetting of his candidacy will decide how closely his words and deeds match up.