Sunday, December 05, 2010


Well, this is an amusing thought exercise, but I have doubts about the likely result:

Dem: We could have let economy fall and been in majority for 40 years

Retiring Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) said that Democrats wisely passed the 2008 financial rescue bill, but it cost them politically.

Addressing the economic collapse of 2008 and the subsequent passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), Baird told The Hill, "Had we wanted to, we could have let the president, President Bush... stew in his own juices." ...

"We could have said, 'The economy is going to collapse. The world is going to go into a depression. You’re going to get the blame and your party is going to get the blame because you're in power and we are going to ride this into the majority for the next 40 years.' That is what the Democrats could have done." ...

Nahhh -- I don't think so.

Let's imagine that some Democrats joined with the proto-teabagger Republicans in the fall of 2008 to block TARP. And let's imagine that Congress continued to block TARP after Obama was elected. I agree that the results would have been even worse than what we got, for everyone.

But I don't think it would have sunk the Republicans. The GOP noise machine would just have delivered up a different script. There'd have been no attempt to elevate the tea party movement on Fox and talk radio -- instead, we'd have heard that, in demanding action, Bush was right!!! The rehabilitation of the GOP would have been based in an effort to rehabilitate Bush. And no matter what part of the Democratic spectrum the TARP resisters came from (never mind the Republican resisters), we'd have been told that TARP couldn't pass the Democratic Congress because Democrats hate business!!! (The complementary message from centrist op-ed pages would be that resistance to TARP came from "extremists on both sides.")

By now, needless to say, the (even more horrible) economy would all be the fault of the congressional Democrats and Obama. And Jeb would be the front-runner to beat Obama in 2012.

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