GOP Now Running Against Wall Street Bailout They Voted for – Here’s a List of GOP Reps and Senators Who Voted ‘Aye’

On MSNBC last night, Rachel Maddow looked at the political rationale behind the White House decision to make House Speaker Wanna-Be John Boehner, R-Ohio, the face of the “Party of No” in the midterm elections.

Boehner was chosen, in part, because he is a boozey, overly tanned cartoonish character, but mainly because he was the GOP leader in 2008, back when it was the Bush rubberstamp party. In late September 2008, when the United States financial system was in freefall, Boehner took to the well of the House and tearfully begged the Republican caucus to support the Bush bank bailout of Wall Street and the “too big to fail” banks, officially known as the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008”:

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, MINORITY LEADER: Think about what happens if we don’t pass this bill, think about what happens to your friends, your neighbors, your constituents. So, I ask all of you, both sides of the aisle: what’s in the best interest of our country? Not what’s in the best interest of our party, not what’s in the best interest of our own re- election– what’s in the best interest of our country? Vote yes.

The bailout eventually passed both houses of Congress, with over 90 Republicans in the House and 33 GOP senators voting yes. (There’s a complete list at the below.) The vote was taken before the rise of the GOP’s astroturfed tea party mobs and their virulent opposition to Obama policies — particularly the government funding of programs intended to resolve the financial collapse brought on by the Bush Recession.

Since the rise of tea baggery, many, if not most, of the Republicans in Congress have made a spectacle of themselves by desperately kowtowing to the mob, so it is surprising to see many of their names on the list of Republicans who voted “aye” on the tea baggers’ much-despised Wall Street Bailout.

In the Senate, as Maddow pointed out, the bailout was strongly supported by then-presidential candidate John McCain, along with his running mate, Facebook blogger Sarah Palin. A week or so prior to his vote for Bush’s bailout, McCain had humiliated himself by declaring that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong” just hours before word came that the stock market had collapsed and the entire U.S. and world financial systems were in meltdown.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., voted for the bailout, as did his minority whip, Jon Kyl of Arizona, and McCain’s friend Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Scandal figures Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and John Ensign, R-Nev., the C Street Christian center members who are subjects of an investigation into Ensign’s pay-offs to the husband of his mistress, also voted yes.

Right-wing extremist senators Christopher Bond, R-Mo.; Richard Burr, R-N.C., who is up for reelection; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa (who humiliated himself by standing silent after a town-hall meeting tea bagger volunteered to assassinate Pres. Obama); and Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia all voted yes.

Two senators who voted yes — Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska — lost their primaries because of tea bagger anger, in part, because they voted for Bush’s bailout Wall Street.

In the House, members of the GOP leadership who voted for the bailout include Speaker Wanna-Be Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va. The GOP’s young financial “expert” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., voted yes. House members then who are running for the Senate now who voted for the bailout include Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Boozman, R-Ark., Mike Castle, R-D.E.; and Mark Kirk, R-Ill.

The list of nutty and outspoken former and current House members associated with tea bagger mobs includes immigrant-bashing former Colorada Rep. Tom Tancredo, who is now running as a third-party candidate for governor; Rep. Joe “You Lie!” Wilson of South Carolina; and Rep. Wally Herger, the Mormon businessman from California who later made national news by telling a tea bagger who referred to himself as a “proud right-wing terrorist” that he was a “great American.”


MADDOW: But, we begin with what is known in American politics as a soft target.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, MINORITY LEADER: Think about what happens if we don’t pass this bill, think about what happens to your friends, your neighbors, your constituents. So, I ask all of you, both sides of the aisle: what’s in the best interest of our country? Not what’s in the best interest of our party, not what’s in the best interest of our own re- election– what’s in the best interest of our country? Vote yes.

MADDOW: That was the top Republican in the House, John Boehner, getting emotional, getting choked up while speaking on the House floor. Keep that in mind as you watch this — the newly unveiled first campaign ad of the season from the National Republican Congressional Committee. It’s an ad that targets a Democratic congressman named Joe Donnelly from Indiana. This appears to be their template ad so you should watch what they’re attacking the Democrat here for.

NARRATOR: Joe Donnelly claims he’s independent. But he’s voted with Nancy Pelosi 88 percent of the time, for the Obama/ Pelosi health care plan, the Wall Street bailout.

MADDOW: The Wall Street bailout. OK. Here’s the problem right now, if you’re the Republican Party. Here’s the problem if you are the Republican Party trying to figure out the message that you are going to try to win on in November. If you want to run against the Wall Street bailout, first of all, you have to run against the fact that almost all of the Wall Street bailout money has been paid back. Second of all, we awkwardly still do have a financial system in America which at one point was not a foregone conclusion, which is why we got the bailout in the first place. But most acutely, in political terms, if you want the Republican Party to run against the Wall Street bailout in this year’s elections, how do you handle the fact that the Wall Street bailout was substantially a Republican policy? It was put into place under Republican President George W. Bush and his treasury secretary, Hank Paulson. It was given the seal of approval from Republican presidential candidate John McCain. You will recall that he suspended his presidential campaign and rushed back to Washington to make sure the bailout passed. Mr. McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, right there with him on the bailout.

SARAH PALIN(R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: The bailout provisions and the measures that have already been taken, it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in playing an appropriate role. Government did have to step in there.

MADDOW: The National Republican Campaign Committee, which is now running ads against the bailout, is headed by a man named Republican Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas. Pete Sessions of Texas cast a vote for the bailout back in 2008. As Republicans try to cast themselves as the party ready to take over Washington, to take the country back from the horrible, horrible Democrats and their horrible, horrible Democratic policies like that horrible, horrible Democratic bailout, here is the Republican Party’s speaker in waiting as they keep calling him now, John Boehner– a man who not only voted for the bailout but grew teary-eyed on the floor of the House while beseeching his fellow Republicans that they should vote for it, too.

BOEHNER: So, I ask all of you, both sides of the aisle: what’s in the best interests of our country? Not what’s in the best interests of our party, not what’s in the best interests of our own re- election– what’s in the best interests of our country? Vote yes.

MADDOW: Vote yes. That’s John Boehner imploring Republicans to vote for the bailout as Republicans now try to campaign on how much they were against the bailout. This is not ancient history. This is not one of those unknown knowns. You can look this stuff up. It’s in Google news still. There’s tape. John Boehner crying over how much he wants the bailout is one giant awkwardness for Republicans as they try to put together their message for this fall and they want it to be an anti- bailout message. It also explains why Democrats, at the start of the campaign season, seem to have found a very, very, very clear point of focus for their Democratic political message.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. Boehner and Republicans in Congress– Mr. Boehner and his allies — when Mr. Boehner was here in Cleveland– let me be clear to Mr. Boehner and everybody else– Mr. Boehner dismissed these jobs we saved — Mr. Boehner has, so far, said no to infrastructure. When these same Republicans, including Mr. Boehner, were in charge — there were no new policies for Mr. Boehner–

MADDOW: President Obama today in Cleveland, Ohio, delivering what was billed as a major speech on the economy and using that platform to call out John Boehner by name over and over and over again — almost as if the two men were facing off against each other on the ballot in this year’s elections. A few hours before President Obama’s speech today, the chairman of the Democratic Party, Tim Kaine, expanded on the ” John Boehner, John Boehner, John Boehner” thing.

TIM KAINE, DNC CHAIRMAN: Mr. Boehner led Republican opposition to legislation important in Pennsylvania and Virginia and elsewhere that helps states in a tough time keep teachers, firefighters, and policemen on the job. This is the same John Boehner who infamously handed out tobacco company campaign checks to Republican members of Congress on the floor of the House of Representatives a couple years ago and plotted with the Wall Street lobbyists to block financial reform.

MADDOW: Around the same time that Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine was blasting ” John Boehner, John Boehner, John Boehner” in Philadelphia, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office was churning out this fact sheet on ” John Boehner, John Boehner, John Boehner,” and his policy proposals that they calculate would add $4.2 trillion to the deficit. Democrats know that history over all is against them for this year’s elections. The president’s party always loses seats in the first election of a new president’s first term. Democrats also know that the strongest wind blowing against them right now is that the economy is really bad and voters vote against the party in power when the economy is bad. So they know they have to talk about the economy. They know they have to campaign very aggressively, that the odds start out against them. So, Democrats are making the case that Republicans are campaigning against policies that they supported. Democrats are making the case that Republicans say they’re fiscally conservative, but they want to give millions of dollars to the richest people in the country without paying for it, just larding that onto the deficit. If you are the Democrats, you can make all those policy points you want, but in the campaign year, what you really want is to have all of the bad things you want to say about the other party personified in one very easily caricatured opponent.

OBAMA: To most of you, I’ll bet this just seems like common sense. But not to Mr. Boehner and his allies.

MADDOW: It is Barack Obama versus John Boehner in 2010. We speculated this might be it before. Now, as of today, Democrats are leaving no ambiguity. This is their frame — Barack Obama versus John Boehner. The Beltway media says this is elevating John Boehner. But Democrats aren’t promoting him. They’re not changing his job title. They’re just trying to make sure that this year, this campaign season, John Boehner is very, very, very, very famous.

Bush’s Wall Street bailout passed both houses on Oct. 4, 2008. Bush signed it that day.

Republicans Who Voted for Bush’s Wall Street Bailout

Republican House members who voted for the bailout:

Rodney Alexander. R-La.
Spencer Bachus, R-La.
J. Gresham Barrett, R-S.C.
Judy Biggert, R-Ill.
Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
John Boehner, R-Ohio
Jo Bonner, R-Ala.
John Boozman, R-Ark.
Charles Boustany, R-La.
Kevin Brady, R-Texas
Henry Brown, R-S.C.
Vern Buchanan, Fla.
Ken Calvert, R-Calif.
Dave Camp, R-Mich.
John Campbell, R-Calif.
Chris Cannon, R-Utah
Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Mike Castle, R-D.E.
Howard Coble, R-N.C.
Tom Cole, R-Okla.
Mike Conaway, R-Texas
Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla.
Barbara Cubin, R-Wy.
Tom Davis, R-Va.
Charlie Dent, R-Pa.
David Dreier, R-Calif.
Vern Ehlers, R-Mich.
Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo.
Terry Everett, R-Ala.
Mary Fallin, R-Okla.
Mike Ferguson, R-N.J.
Vito Fossella, R-N.Y.
Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J.
Jim Gerlach, R-N.J.
Wayne Gilchrest, R-Md.
Kay Granger, R-Texas
Wally Herger, R-Calif.
David Hobson, R-Ohio
Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich.
Bob Inglis, R-S.C.
Peter King, R-NY
Mark Kirk, R-Ill.
John Kline, R-Minn.
Joe Knollenberg, R-Mich.
Randy Kuhl, R-N.Y
Ray LaHood, R-Ill.
Jerry Lewis, R-Calif.
Ron Lewis, R-Ky.
Daniel Lungren, R-Calif.
Mary Mack, R-Calif.
Jim McCrery, R-La.
John McHugh, R-N.Y.
Buck McKeon, R-Calif.
Gary Miller, R-Calif.
Sue Myrick, R-N.C.
John Peterson, R-Pa.
Chip Pickering, R-Miss.
Jon Porter, R-Nev.
Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio
Adam Putnam, R-Fla.
George Radanovich, R-Calif.
Jim Ramstad, R-Minn.
Ralph Regula, R-Ohio
Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y.
Mike Rogers, R-Mich.
Hal Rogers, R-Ky.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
Jim Saxton, R-N.J.
Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio
Pete Sessions, R-Texas
John Shadegg, R-Ariz.
Christopher Shays, R-Conn.
Bill Shuster, R-Pa.
Michael Simpson, R-Idaho
Lamar Smith, R-Texas
Mark Souder, R-Ind.
John Sullivan, R-Okla.
Tom Tancredo, R-Col.
Lee Terry, R-Neb.
Mac Thornberry, R-Texas
Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio
Fred Upton, R-Mich.
Greg Walden, R-Oregon
James Walsh, R-N.Y.
Zachary Wamp, R-Tenn.
Dave Weldon, R-Fla.
Jerry Weller, R-Ill.
Heather Wilson, R-N.M.
Joe Wilson, R-S.C.
Frank Wolf, R-Va.

Republicans in the Senate who voted for the bailout:

Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
Bob Bennett, R-Utah
Christopher Bond, R-Mo.
Richard Burr, R-N.C.
Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.
Norm Coleman, R-Minn.
Susan Collins, R-Maine
Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
John Cornyn, R-Texas
Larry Craig, R-Idaho
Pete Domenici, R-N.M.
John Ensign, R-Nev.
Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Charles Grassley, R-Iowa
Judd Gregg, R-N.H
Charles Hagel, R-Neb.
Orrin Hatch, R-Utah
Kay Hutchison, R-Texas
John Isakson, R-Ga.
Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
Richard Lugar, R-Ind.
Mel Martinez, R-Fla.
John McCain, R-Ariz.
Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska
Gordon Smith, R-Oregon
Olympia Snowe, R-Maine
Ted Stevens, R-Alaska
John Sununu, R-N.H.
John Thune, R-S.D.
George Voinovich, R-Ohio
John Warner, R-Va.

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