I asked the other day: Will the real fiscal conservatives stand up?
GOP Sen. Richard Shelby stands up:
With anger mounting from the left and right against the Treasury Department’s proposed financial bailout, one of the opponents’ most powerful allies is Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, a Democrat-turned-Republican who espouses free-market principles with a populist streak.
Mr. Shelby, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in an interview Tuesday that he is likely to vote against the proposal. “I’ve never supported a direct bailout,” Mr. Shelby said. “I voted against Chrysler when I was a freshman congressman. They said, ‘Well, Chrysler will fail.’ And well maybe if it’d failed then we wouldn’t have the problems facing us today.”
Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, is one of several conservatives joining Sen. Dodd and other Democrats in their opposition to the Treasury’s financial bailout.
As a Republican, Mr. Shelby would normally be the one to defend a Republican president’s policies. Instead, he’s the leader of a mounting chorus of conservatives who think President George W. Bush has sold out conservative principles.
“I think we’re going down the road of France now,” Mr. Shelby told one television interviewer Tuesday, before quickly adding, “in all due respect for my French friends”…
….Mr. Shelby’s position in the closely divided Senate gives him a great deal of influence. On Tuesday, Mr. Shelby left Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson stuttering in an attempt to defend the proposal.
“What if it doesn’t work?” Mr. Shelby said. “You assume it will work, but you can’t assure us that you know it’s going to work, because you thought some of the other plans were going to work.”
Later, Mr. Shelby said, “there was no satisfaction from my questions that this will be the end of it. They wouldn’t say that — because they don’t know.”
A reminder of Hank Paulson’s year-long bad judgments here.