The TARP Test

Almost completely ignored thus far in the Republican presidential race are the candidates' positions on the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program.  In many ways, TARP is the best measure we have for what kind of president each candidate could become.  Any candidate can dub himself  a free-marketeer during a Republican primary, but when political pressures are intense, we learn the difference between campaign rhetoric and what a candidate actually believes. Examining TARP also gives voters a reason to reevaluate (and possibly change or add to) the Republican race's top tier.  Both Rick Perry and Mitt Romney's actions at the height of the 2008 banking crisis raise warnings about how each might govern in times of trouble. First we'll go back to October 1, 2008.  That morning, Governor Perry released a letter, co-signed by Democratic Governor Joe Manchin, urging D.C. lawmakers "to leave partisanship at the door" and "pass an economic recovery package." The...(Read Full Article)