Presidential Candidates Who Didn’t Create the Financial Crisis
There were a lot of good reactions to yesterday’s post about candidates for federal office with responsibility for at least part of the financial crisis.
We listed House members and Senators who either voted for, or didn’t object to, a law freeing up financial services firms to offer these wagers known as “financial derivatives” without being subject to gambling regulation. The result has been a financial and economic disaster of as yet unknown proportions.
If you reviewed the list carefully, you noted that both Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) stood by and let the law pass in 2000. It went through the Senate on “unanimous consent” and they failed to object. Given their responsibility to know what is on the Senate floor and what it does, it’s fair to find them blameworthy.
In case you’ve been in a coma, McCain is the Republican nominee for president. Biden is the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee. (Neither Barack Obama nor Sarah Palin were serving in the House or Senate when the law passed, so they’re off the hook on this one. Same with independent candidate Ralph Nader.)
But there are some other presidential candidates out there that were around when the table was set for this part of the financial crisis.
Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney are the Libertarian and Green Party candidates for president respectively. They were both serving in the House of Representatives in 2000 — both representing districts in Georgia, in fact — when the vote happened on the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001.
Libertarian candidate Bob Barr voted NO. (Here again is the House vote.)
McKinney did not vote; she was one of 80 members who declined to register an opinion. It’s hard to know whether this was some kind of protest or if lots of Members of Congress were prioritizing Christmas shopping, but in this case it looks good for her. Even if all the non-voters had voted No, the bill still would have passed.
Particularly in the case of Barr, this tells you something about outsiders, and I think it tells you something good. The get-along, go-along types who have made it to the top of the heap in U.S. politics both participated in the creation of the country’s current economic woes. The people who don’t play ball both voted against that. There’s something to be said for not getting along.
A third-party vote signals to the major parties that you’re dissatisfied with they way they’re doing things. You’ve got reason to be, considering the role of McCain and Biden in precipitating the financial crisis. There’s another thing to consider when you go to the polls next week.