The Rick Perrys of the world have cowed Bernanke into paralysis

I’ll be shocked if Mr. Bernanke proposes anything significant — that is, anything likely to make any serious dent in unemployment or offer any serious boost to growth.

Why don’t I expect much from Mr. Bernanke? In two words: Rick Perry.

O.K., I don’t mean that Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, is personally standing in the way of effective monetary policy. Not yet, anyway. Instead, I’m using Mr. Perry — who has famously threatened Mr. Bernanke with dire personal consequences if he pursues expansionary monetary policy before the 2012 election — as a symbol of the political intimidation that is killing our last remaining hope for economic recovery.