Ron Paul to confront Fed Chair Ben Bernanke: Will there be fireworks?

Before retiring, Congressman Paul has one last chance for a face-off with his number one target, Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Photo: Congressman Ron Paul

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2012 — On Wednesday, July 18, Congressman Ron Paul will have his last chance to take apart Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, when Bernanke delivers his semi-annual report on the nation’s monetary policy.

The Fed Chair will be testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, on which Paul sits. The last time there was a face-off between the two men was in February of this year, when Paul delivered a diatribe about the Fed devaluing the dollar while waving a silver eagle dollar at Bernanke.

Bernanke kept his cool and when finally allowed to speak, simply and sardonically said to the Congressman, “First of all, nice to see you again.”

Congressman Paul, who aspired to be President during the Republican primary and basically ran on the gold standard, is retiring in November after 24 years in Congress as the maverick Libertarian, though registered Republican. He has spent most of that time lambasting the Federal Reserve, which he wants abolished and if not that, then greater oversight of the Fed instituted.

During the campaign, Paul indicted the Fed of “creating money out of thin air, manipulating interest rates, and interfering with the free market,” blaming the Federal Reserve for its role in the latest financial melt down.

Ever since Bernanke took the chairmanship of the Fed in 2006, Paul has targeted him for tongue-lashings on bad days and lectures on better days at Congressional hearings.

Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve

So don’t expect Ron Paul’s swan song to exhibit his kinder and gentler side. Instead expect something very similar on Wednesday to what we’ve seen in the past, especially since it’s Paul’s last chance to hold Bernanke’s feet to the fire. Paul has already accused Bernanke of “printing money” to shore up the economy, debasing the dollar, and destroying the wealth of all Americans. So what’s left to excoriate the Chairman with?

Never underestimate Ron Paul. He always has another arrow in his quiver of quips and barbs. Don’t expect him to let Bernanke off easy, much less  let him respond. Back in February, Bernanke couldn’t get a word in edgewise, much less defend his monetary policy. When Congressman Paul is on the warpath, watch out.

That’s probably why the idea of a speech in prime time at the GOP convention by Ron Paul or his son Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) make Republicans nervous. They don’t want another Pat Buchanan moment as happened back in 1992 when the super-duper conservative went rogue and hijacked the convention with his “Cultural Wars” speech, probably costing Bush 41 his second term.

So this may be Ron Paul’s last big moment. If you had a chance to score some major points before bowing off the political stage, wouldn’t you take them? And Paul honestly believes he has made a difference and appears to be gratified to see that both sides of the political spectrum are criticizing the Fed, maybe not as extreme as wiping the Fed from the face of the Earth, but Congress has considered some bills that would remodel the Federal Reserve. With Paul gone, will they die a natural death or will someone else (besides Senator Paul) take up the battleshield?

As for Wednesday, hope that CSPAN covers the hearings. It may be all sound and fury, signifying nothing or as Ron Paul himself told The Hill in a recent interview: “In politics, it’s a lot of grandstanding to get attention and do a little shouting and accusing…and see if you can get attention through conflict.”

Or it could be the gunfight at the OK Corral all over again as Ron Paul goes out in a blaze of blistering words and accusations. This is when politics is truly a contact sport.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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