While Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the most articulate critic of banking in American politics, is the only truly acceptable choice to become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, the pending chairmanship of Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) shows Republicans can't be trusted to deliver even on the mediocre promises of "art of the possible" politics.
Bachus is next in line to accede to the chair of Financial Services. This is the committee to which Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke and wounded Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner testify when they can get away from their day jobs destroying capitalism.
Bachus, a pleasant non-entity in committee meetings, has become a non-interventionist-by-convenience during the Obama Administration. Here he is opposing the ARRA Stimulus not as a three-quarters-of-a-trillion-dollar money suck but because it fails to shovel enough pork into the barrels he prefers ("electrical grid" and nuclear energy).
There is nothing in Bachus' record that suggests he would make an effective Financial Services chairman. And there is one gigantic thing in his record that suggests his fellow Republicans should shave his belly with a rusty razor, put him in bed with the captain's daughter, and throw him in the longboat 'til he's sober.
Specifically Bachus voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the $700 billion down payment that made it possible for President Obama and the Democrats to create continuing trillions in new debt.
Remember that 67 House Republicans opposed President Bush and the scare tactics of ghoulish Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson during the 2008 political panic. Here's the roster, and in the No column you will find the names of congressbots who have gone on to do valuable opposition work in documenting the excesses of the Obama brain trust -- Mike Pence, Jeb Hensarling and Jeff Flake, to name a few.
Fortunately, one of those no-voters is challenging Bachus. Rep. Ed Royce (R-California) announced today that he wants to become chairman of the of Financial Services Committtee.
If Republican House leader John Boehner really wants to convince Tea Partiers he will never let them down, this choice is a no-brainer. Royce, a remunerated champion of the insurance industry, is by no means an ideal chairman. But the TARP vote draws a bright line between Republicans who are serious about reducing the size of government and those who are not. Boehner can't walk back his own vote for TARP, but by conspicuously rewarding a refusenik he can at least pay homage to virtue.
Royce explains why he was right to oppose the bailouts and support letting AIG fail:
Bachus boldly urges a "transition period" for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: