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.”

Baird insisted Democrats did the right thing passing TARP, which was signed by President Bush in the fall of 2008. Most Democrats in Congress backed it while it faced more resistance from the GOP.

“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.”

Democrats “got punished” for supporting this legislation, Baird said.

“There are a lot of American families and working families who would get clobbered if didn't pass TARP,” he said.

Baird is not a partisan Democrat. He has broken with his party leadership on the Iraq war, claiming a few years ago that the troop surge worked. He also led the charge to allow the public and lawmakers to read legislation before it is voted on.