The GOP will be hitting Fox News again this week with an ironic demand that the government, which they say in all other circumstances cannot do anything right, should trump their much beloved private sector darling, BP, and take over the campaign to cap the drilling rig mess which Bush bureaucrats set into motion. Apparently the private sector can't handle all of the problems it creates after all.
This is just another cheap shot moment to score political points at the expense of President Obama.
The media, a bit bored with video of continued spilling oil and Bobby Jindal's sand castles, is perpetuating the blame Obama drum beat even though most experts would tell you, for the government to get involved, it would be hiring many, if not all of the same emergency players that BP hires now, but with days and days in delays to get contracts on-line and at rates that will dwarf even the astronomical numbers which BP is paying.
From Day One of the explosion in mid-April, the appropriate government agencies have been monitoring and working with BP.
There are no deep water emergency management teams in government. Any response plan to drilling disasters is always put on the driller and the owner of the well, as it should be.
The people involved from the private sector are about the only ones who can respond to this deep water disaster. In many cases they are guessing, because something like this has not happened. Thus far the only huge shortcoming in the system appears to be a lack of redundancy in safety measures like the blowout preventer.
The irony is that the GOP is trying to lay this disaster at Obama's front porch, but it was years of watering down regulations and enforcement at Minerals Management, and the pro-big-oil Bush Administration's zeal to streamline and speed up offshore oil drilling that lie at the bottom right along with the twisted pipes and the gushing oil.
Yet that is not the news on the cycle. It is whether this, yet again, somehow defines Obama's presidency.
I think it does, but not for the reasons that the GOP and Fox News would like you to believe.
The publicity-over-substance news cycle, short of BP plugging up the oil gusher, is designed to be a win-win for the GOP and the media which is cheerleading them on.
Either way the Republicans and Fox choose to spin it, the Obama Administration loses: They're either damned for not pushing BP hard enough, or they would be accused of failing to cap the well themselves and running up a government tab for something that should be covered and handled by the superior private sector.
The Republicans, after all, have a mendacity for all seasons.
In the media-stirred indignation lies the unrealistic belief that our government has some Harry Potteresque magic wand in its arsenal to handle mega-disasters like this.
Bonehead Boehner and the GOP singers have not only done a 180 turnaround on their free market principles, but they seem to think that Obama can somehow go to the roof of the White House, light up the Bat Signal and bring the Superfriends in to save the day.
Here, the private sector really is the best solution.
Why Mr. Obama is such a gifted leader, though, is because he knows when to turn into the political headwinds.
Last week, President Obama did something which only Harry S. Truman had done before him in recent decades: Took responsibility for something still largely out of his control. The buck once again stops at a sitting president's door. That was not only refreshing, but politically savvy. The public want someone accountable, and Obama stepped up to the plate to be just that.
It would have been nice if the media had back-stopped that with a little reality check on the GOP types that like to seed FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) into the public discourse.
Even if the Administration had cracked the whip on Minerals Management and cleaned house, the ship had already sailed for the rig in the Gulf that blew up. It would be very unlikely that the project would have been recalled or halted. More inspections might have helped if the regs, which were loosened under King George W. were brought back into line with good public policy on workplace and environmental safety.
A Clinton-era Minerals Management team might have required more redundancies, but, as we're finding out with a lot of Bush-era appointments and agency shake-ups, it will take years, perhaps decades, to undo all of the mess that the Bushies have made of our government bureaucracy.
The oil spill is also a smoke screen by the GOP, which was fighting a losing battle to prop up an unchanged Wall Street in the news cycles leading up to the spill. Putting the BP disaster up on the radar knocks down the financial reform legislation in the public eye, and gives Wall Street a chance to regroup while our attention is focused elsewhere.
The Republicans would like you not to be an elephant, and to forget.
If Steele quits as GOP boss, they better hope that David Copperfield is available. If he can make an airplane and a pyramid disappear, maybe he can make the most costly and useless war in history, the financial melt down on Wall Street and the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history slide off of the Republicans plate magically.
Otherwise, the rest of us outside of the GOP Delusional Channel, er Fox News, have not forgotten on this Memorial Day.
My shiny two.
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