Rep. Gresham Barrett was the only member of the South Carolina House delegation to vote against the president’s financial bailout plan yesterday, so the same question to him that we put to Jim DeMint: what’s your plan and where is your bill?
Barrett spent a lot of time yesterday saying what he could not do in good conscience, which he said amounted to using tax dollars to reward bad financial decisions. But he also said, “I understand the need to act, and the urge to act quickly.” So he understood that the market would tank, which it did. That means he understood that his position could sink the U. S. economy that eventually will be felt by every household in South Carolina.
Joe Wilson and Henry Brown are just as conservative as Barrett; they led the conservative movement in South Carolina long before he came along. They, too, understood the urgency of the moment and voted for the plan, holding their noses all the way. Here’s what Wilson said: “There are no perfect options. This was a compromise at a time when we need solutions.”
This is not a good guy/bad guy situation. I’ve contributed to both Gresham and Jim’s campaigns, I’ve supported them and will continue to do so. They could well be right about the plan, and conservative, market-based solutions most likely would be a better choice.
But we’ll never know, because neither attempted to force a vote on what they say are better ideas. They neither wrote nor introduced legislation reflecting their principles when there were unanimous expectations that the stock market would crumble without congressional action. They simply said no. And they did it knowing full well the consequences of doing nothing.
I just don’t understand.