Paul Hodes Voted Against The No-Strings-Attached Bush Wall Street Bailout That Judd Gregg Helped Push Through The Senate
Before she ruined it by declaring her fealty to Wall Street, backing more tax breaks for millionaires, Missouri Democrat Robin Carnahan mounted a beautiful attack on corrupt GOP hack Roy Blunt, the Architect of the TARP Bailout. Carnahan wasn't in Congress late in 2008 when the Bush Administration stampeded most Members of Congress to vote for a multibillion dollar no-strings-attached Wall Street bailout. They used the shock doctrine and persuaded most of them that if the bailout didn't go forward the whole worldwide financial system would fall apart. Most Senate Republicans-- 34 of them, in fact-- voted for the bailout, including such "conservative" stalwarts Richard Burr (R-NC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), John McCain (R-AZ), John Kyl (R-AZ), John Thune (R-SD), Miss McConnell (R-KY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)... while true blue progressives like Russ Feingold (D-WI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted NO and warned about the consequences of giving the band of crooks around Bush and on Wall Street-- as though there was a distinction-- so much unregulated access to taxpayer money.
The bill failed in the House but a week later Republican leaders John Boehner, Roy Blunt, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, David Dreier, etc forced enough Republicans to switch their votes to pass the most wasteful and ill-conceived bailout in history. As I mentioned above, North Carolina "conservative"-- if "conservative means you take massive bribes from Wall Street and Big Business and then just let them decide how you're voting-- Richard Burr was an avid bailout supporter. Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling thinks that's part of why Burr could turn out to be the one Republican Senate incumbent to lose his seat in November.
58% of voters said they were less likely to vote for someone who had supported the bailout to only 25% who said more likely.
The big question now is whether Democrats can take advantage of these unpopular votes. There are three main places I can see it helping:
-The Undecideds. In the Missouri race 74% of undecideds said a candidate supporting the bailout would have a negative impact on their vote to only 6% positive. It's a similar story in North Carolina where 57% of the undecideds say less likely to only 20% more likely. If Blunt and Burr can be turned into the bailout candidates in those races it may help bring the folks who haven't made up their minds yet into the Democratic column.
-Make Republicans Depressed. The most interesting thing about the bailout numbers in Missouri and North Carolina is the voters who react most negatively to it are the ones supporting Blunt and Burr who supported it in Congress. Among Blunt voters 88% are less likely to vote for someone who voted for the bailout to 5% more likely and among Burr voters it's 85% less likely and 7% more likely. I don't know how many of those voters can be converted into the Democratic column but relentless attack on the issue could leave GOP voters unhappy with their candidates and staying home, which might help with the Democrats' enthusiasm gap issues.
-Flip Independents. One of Robin Carnahan and Elaine Marshall's common problems is a deficit with independents. Carnahan trails Blunt by 5 with them while Marshall is down 19. But those same voters react extremely negatively to the bailout- 19/66 in North Carolina and 25/61 in Missouri. If Carnahan and Marshall can convince independent voters, who are madder at the system than anyone, that they are the alternatives to business as usual in Washington it could go a long way.
Though they are both on record opposing any no-strings-attached bailouts and are clear that they would not have voted for them, both Carnahan and Marshall are Secretaries of State and neither had to cast a vote. Paul Hodes, who's running for the open Senate seat in New Hampshire, however, was in Congress-- and he did vote-- twice. And despite pressure to do otherwise, Hodes voted against the bailout twice. The reason the seat is now open is because New Hampshire's senior senator, Republican Judd Gregg is retiring rather than face an angry electorate-- angry because he voted for the bailout. In New Hampshire, voters can either listen to the yowlings of Republican activists hopped up on Fox News who claim Paul Hodes is... [fill in the blank, since they're trying anything and everything], or they can look at his voting record. Unlike scores of so-called conservative Republicans, Hodes voted NO on the bailout and was one of the leaders in Congress against earmarks and one of the leaders in the battle to end all tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs overseas. His first TV ad of the season makes the point (and he wrote and performed the music):
UPDATE: Meanwhile Republicans Continue To Tear Each Other Apart With Negative Campaigning
One radical right kook goes after another, more corrupt, radical right kook: