Call me old fashioned, but I expect politicians to make hard decisions. It doesn't matter if I voted for them or not, I tend to think that Senators, Representatives, Governors and Presidents are elected with the implict trust of the people that they will do their level best to govern. Sometimes that means doing things I might disagree with, but I tend to understand that they were called on to make the hard decisions and that's what they did.
I see the vote for the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) as one of those hard votes. A lot of people found it rather disgusting that we had to save the very people who helped bring the economy down, but it was either that or see the economy implode. It's a vote that I can imagine many a lawmaker had to hold their nose and vote for, but I trust that they did the right thing.
The sad thing is that Republicans who voted for TARP are catching heat from Tea Party folks for their vote. As Jeb Gonklin notes, the recent losses by Bob Bennett and Bob Iglis were because of their support for TARP.
So, what would those opposed to TARP would have done? The thing is, they have never given an answer. At least nothing more than doing nothing.
Of course, the Federal Reserve chose to do nothing when Lehman Brothers collasped and many (including myself) thought it was a good idea. We had to let Wall Street know that Washington would not always come to their rescue. Then, a few days later, the markets went into free fall. The idea of letting the market handle it was not working.
None of this seems to matter to some people. Even though the perferred "let the markets handle it" was failing big time, many in the Tea Party still think their approach was the right one.
Again, I expect lawmakers to make the hard decisions. That's what leadership is all about. Leadership is about making those decisions and not simply pleasing the rabid base. We need people who are not simply bound to their ideology, but are able to govern with their brains and in the interest of all the people. A lawmaker that never makes hard decisions and only follows the party line, is not leadership. As Gonklin notes, its high time Republicans in tight primary battles to go on the offensive and not only defend their vote on TARP but challenge their opponents to explain what they would have done. If the opponent says the market would handle it, then they shouldn't have the priviledge of serving in Congress.