Libertarians challenge bailout supporters

Three NC Libertarian Congressional candidates are among 89 Libertarians nationwide who are challenging incumbent members of Congress who voted for TARP bailouts in 2008.

Dr. Michael Beitler is challenging Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican. Tom Rose is running against Rep. Bob Etheridge in District 2 and Lon Cecil is opposing Democrat Rep. Melvin Watt in District 12, both Democrats.

“Few acts of Congress have evoked as much fear, ire, disgust, and disapproval from Americans as the 2008 TARP banker bailouts, passed with bipartisan support in Congress, and signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush,” said Mark Hinkle, Libertarian Party national chair.

The Libertarian’s number one target is John McCain, who Hinkle called the “Bailer-in-Chief.” The Arizona senator famously suspended his 2008 losing Republican presidential campaign to rush back to Washington DC to vote for TARP. McCain is being challenged by Libertarian Party co-founder David Nolan.

The list includes 27 Republicans and 62 Democrats. Twelve of these TARP incumbents are in close re-election battles, classified in the “tossup” or “leans” category by Congressional Quarterly.

The Libertarian Party hopes to help kick them out of office. “They tried to justify TARP by claiming our economy was going off a cliff. Let’s push their teetering careers off a cliff,” said LP Executive Director Wes Benedict.

Benedict said that the Tea Party movement is one potentially positive reaction to TARP, but that Tea Party members should pledge to vote against all incumbents who voted for TARP, no matter which party they belong to.

“Any Tea Partier who votes for a TARP-supporting Republican is a plain old hypocrite, just as bad as the incumbent he or she is pushing back into office,” he said.

He said that liberals should also vote against TARP incumbents and for a Libertarian challenger because giving hundreds of billions to Wall Street bankers and their stockholders and bondholders is not what Democrats are supposed to stand for.

“Any liberal-leaning voter who votes for a TARP-supporting Democrat, when a Libertarian alternative is available, sends a callous message to the middle class and poor: Thanks for your taxes! Get another job if you can find one — we want even more of your money to pass up to the Wall Street fat cats,” Benedict said.

Libertarians criticized the TARP bailouts as more than just a a huge transfer of wealth from taxpayers to bankers, but also as a moral failure.

“It’s hard to think of another government program that did more to reward stupidity and punish prudence,” said Benedict. “TARP is both a short-term and long-term failure. We would be better off today if Congress had done nothing.”

The Libertarian Party has 21 candidates for U.S. Senate and 170 candidates for U.S. House in the upcoming November 2010 elections.