As ThinkProgress has reported, the conservative movement is currently in the midst of a gold craze spurred by prominent Republicans like Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Glenn Beck. These “gold bugs” are demanding a return to the gold standard and encouraging their supporters to invest in gold — all based on the apocalyptic belief that the U.S. dollar is on the verge of collapse, runaway inflation is imminent, and gold is a more stable and reliable currency than paper money.
These concerns are baseless. As Matt Yglesias points out, the Obama years have seen the lowest inflation in 30 years, but Tea Party groups are determined to make returning to the gold standard a litmus test for GOP presidential candidates. And it looks like they’re succeeding. The Daily Caller reports that at least six Republican contenders are scheduled to speak at a pro-gold standard bus tour in Iowa:
The Iowa Tea Party and the group American Principles in Action announced that they are launching their 18-day bus tour starting June 13.
Republicans Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum are scheduled to speak during at least one stop on the tour, according to Andy Blom, executive director of American Principles in Action. All are either running or contemplating a run for president in 2012. [...]
“We’re facing dramatic inflation and we have a government with out of control spending,” Blom said. “If we go back to making our money actually worth something, it stabilizes prices, it takes away the government’s credit card, they can’t just decide to go print tons of money and devalue the dollar.”
Blom said they also hope to get the grassroots, populist support behind the issue.
Nevertheless, Republican candidates have increasingly pandered to the far-right base by endorsing these gold schemes. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) recently derided the U.S. dollar as a “fiat currency” — a dog whistle to “a narrow constituency of voters who believe that America’s woes began when it abandoned the gold standard.”