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Thune: I was for TARP before I was against TARP

Presidential hopeful Sen. John Thune (R) of South Dakota is trying to walk a fine
line when it comes to his vote in favor of TARP — the Troubled Asset Relief Program
— and his verbal gymnastics point to the fundamental flaw in Republican messaging
on bailouts and deficit spending.

Thune defended his vote for TARP to C-SPAN. He claims he supported TARP because
“when somebody comes to you and says, ‘The economy is in a meltdown, the credit
markets are frozen up,’ these are all the experts on both sides of the aisle, Democrats
and Republicans. That was a very compelling argument at the time, and there was
a lot of fear that if we didn’t take steps, it could have been disastrous for the
country. And so in light of imminent financial meltdown, it was, I felt at the time,
the right vote to make.”

Thune, a member of the GOP leadership now and at the time of his vote in favor of
TARP, goes on to say that since his vote he’s advocating ending the program because
of how it was implemented. He claims he doesn’t support the use of the program to
buy “equity shares” of corporations.

Wouldn’t someone in the Republican leadership have known what was in the TARP bill
— including the authority to buy equity shares — when President Bush and his economic
team pleaded for it? Thune’s messaging on TARP reveals the inherent flaw in GOP
messaging on the economy. The recession, and the deficit, is a direct result of
their failed economic policies. TARP was their elixir for their horrid economy.
Thune’s twisted logic shows how hard that will be to continue to conceal from the
American people.

Thune’s “I-am against-it-even-though-I voted-for-it” posturing reflects the vehement
and irrational opposition to TARP among the Tea-Republican Party and the craven
sleight of hand a politician like Thune will undertake to win an election.

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