C’mon. His cowboy image is half the reason the base is excited about him. And surely the dreaded GOP establishment on the Hill understands that they’re only doing him a favor with the base by trying to shush him. If you thought yesterday’s quasi-endorsement of Perry by Obama’s team was campaign gold, imagine what it’ll do for him once word gets out that those darned RINOs on the Beltway cocktail-party circuit wish he would go easy on the rhetoric. They’re throwing him in the briar patch here and they must know it.

“You can’t be calling Bernanke a traitor and you can’t be questioning whether or not Barack Obama loves America, that type of thing,” said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and veteran Long Island incumbent. “I’ve been with Perry a few times, and I can see how he could project, again, if it’s done the right way. But no, if he continues this, he’ll have a tough time.”…

Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), the Chief Deputy Whip and an emerging political powerhouse in suburban Chicago, added of the treason reference: “That’s not something you want to lead with if you’re trying to get independents to come your way. I would imagine that he’s thinking through his strategy.”…

“This is a very critical period for Perry,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman and longtime political strategist. “He’s got to prove he won’t self-destruct. There is only one race like the presidency and that’s the presidency. He’s been playing Triple-A ball until now.”…

“He is not my type, but I suspect I have a lot of constituents who will like him,” said one moderate Midwestern Republican of Perry. “And in spite of the fact that I do not agree with him on numerous issues, I suspect he’d be better than Michele [Bachmann].”

One of the many fun aspects of a Perry/Palin/Bachmann race in Iowa will be the competition among them to see who can talk the toughest about Obama and the Fed. Someone has to win the “authenticity” primary and there are only so many ways to do that via the relatively small policy disagreements that exist between them. Palin’s the most blue-collar (although Perry will challenge her on that), Perry’s the most southern/small-town/rural (although Palin will challenge him on that), and Bachmann’s the most ardently socially conservative. Who wins that game of rock/paper/scissors when you’re playing with an electorate like Iowa’s?

Via Think Progress, here’s Palin on Perry’s Bernanke comments.