Senator John McCain, just now realizing that conservatives consider his vote for the TARP financial industry bailout to be a political liability, offers this defense (Arizona Republic, February 22):
Under growing pressure from conservatives and "tea party" activists, Sen. John McCain of Arizona is having to defend his record of supporting the government's massive bailout of the financial system.
In response to criticism from opponents seeking to defeat him in the Aug. 24 Republican primary, the four-term senator says he was misled by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. McCain said the pair assured him that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program would focus on what was seen as the cause of the financial crisis, the housing meltdown.
So. Bush administration officials assured you that the money would be used in a particular way. Then, you and your staff combed through the proposed legislation and found that yes, safeguards were in place to ensure that the money would indeed be used in the way specified by the officials. Thus, with confidence you cast your vote in favor of the TARP legislation.
Wait. What’s that? You didn’t read the legislation before voting on it? You simply relied on administration assurances that the the money would be spent to combat the housing crisis?
And now it’s their fault that you cast your vote for a bill that had no such restrictions on the money?
You think this defense is going to mollify your critics?
Again and again, you remind us that if Sarah Palin hadn’t been on the ticket, your loss to Barack Obama in 2008 would have been epic.