Who says Democrats haven’t paid attention to the Tea Party message? Suddenly, even though the Obama administration says that the bailouts helped rescue the global economy from collapse, vulnerable incumbents of the President’s party claim that they voted against TARP. Factcheck warns that some of them weren’t even in Congress at the time to cast a vote on the actual bailout, and that the vote that most of them use to justify these claims came after Treasury already had all of the cash:
At least five freshman Democratic House members are running ads claiming they voted against the bank “bailout,” when in fact none was in Congress when the bill setting up the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was enacted.
- Mary Jo Kilroy says she “voted against the bank bailout.”
- Kathy Dahlkemper says she voted “against a bailout that helped Wall Street.”
- Frank Kratovil claims to have cast his vote in opposition to “the big bank bailout.”
- Dina Titus’ ad maintains she “even voted against the bank bailout.”
- Glenn Nye’s ad tells viewers he went “against his own party” and “voted against the Wall Street bailout.”
But did they? Factcheck says only in the lamest, most symbolic way possible — after Congress had already allowed Treasury to take the funds:
By the time the Bush administration, at the request of President-elect Barack Obama, filed a request with the Senate for the rest of the money on Jan. 12, 2009, there were widespread complaints that too much of the first tranche had been used to bail out large institutions and not enough to help homeowners. The new funds could have been blocked had both houses of Congress voted to do so, but on Jan. 15, 2009, the Senate defeated a disapproval resolution, 52-42, effectively voting to release the funds. Treasury almost immediately announced it would use some of the money to shore up a deeply crippled Bank of America.
Where was the House in all this? Pretty much irrelevant. Eventually there was a similar vote in that body. Kilroy, Dahlkemper, Kratovil, Nye and Titus all voted for the disapproval resolution, and it passed, 270-155. But the vote came on Jan. 22, a week after the Senate’s vote (and two days after Obama was sworn in). Treasury already had the money.
In other words, these five — and everyone else who cast a yea or nay on the resolution — knew the vote on the unpopular program was purely symbolic.
In other other words, Nancy Pelosi held an ass-covering vote that meant absolutely nothing in order to allow Blue Dog Democrats the chance to claim they opposed the second tranche. And they have taken advantage of it. Each of these five Democrats face an angry electorate and want to put as much space between themselves and the bailouts, ObamaCare, and general incompetence of the past two years … even if they have to mislead to do it. In fact, misleading voters is the only way these Democrats can do it.