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When Will "Limited Government" "Take Over"?

Did you ever hear this Republican refrain:

Barack Obama is a foreigner, an anti-American socialist and Nazi dictator who wants to take over the American government in order to enslave the people. The stimulus, healthcare reform and financial reform are merely means for achieving the government take over.

Regardless of what Obama does, Republicans apoplectically yell "government takeover." What we need, they say, is "limited government."

Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana and a firm believer of "limited government," has been in the forefront of the "government takeover" blast. He screamed against the stimulus and proclaimed he would not accept the money. (Of course, he did). In a TV address, this is what he said to wild cheers from Republicans:

Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.

Well, a man-made, or rather a BP-made, volcanoe erupted in the Gulf and it is spewing oil, millions of barrels of oil that is killing wildlife, fisheries, tourism, jobs, businesses and a way of life for all Gulf states, not just Louisiana. A terrible tragedy. What does Jindal say now? Allow me to quote Bob Cesca:

Bobby Jindal, the state's rights small government governor who tried to block stimulus money from entering Louisiana (though it didn't stop him from eventually accepting giant checks during photo-ops), is demanding that the federal government take over the handling of the disaster.

Did you notice the "government take over" in the last sentence? Here I thought Jindal was for "limited government." Confusing, isn't it? Not really. Jindal does not want "government take over" to help poor people he does not know. But now that the catastrophe affects him in a big way he is ready for a "government take over." This is Republican consistency.

Bob Cesca also quotes Hannity of the Republican subsidiary Fox News;

This is the worst environmental disaster and [the administration] did nothing from day one.....Bobby Jindal has been begging for help and it's not been forthcoming.

For years and years and years, Hannity and Republicans in general have been preaching "limited government," that government should keep its hands off the economy. Free the free market to do its miracles, they declaimed. They pushed for deregualtion, and one result of this misguided policy was that BP took short-cuts that led to this disaster. With unproven technology, BP drilled 50 miles offshore where the water is a mile deep and the well itself is 2/12 miles below the bottom of the ocean. They discarded safety issues. After the blowout they have been using old techniques that have not been very successful before.

Now that the free market had a huge blowout that hurts him directly, Jindal is at the head of the shouting Republican chorus demanding a "government take over." Not a word against BP; the responsible party is the government. Evidently, Jindal's philosophy is:

We need "limited government" so that corporations can be free to grow, but when they get into serious trouble we must have a "government take over."

In plain language, Jindal and his Republican and Tea Party friends believe that private enterprise should be supreme. Government should be there to keep Big Business strong. The primary purpose of Republicans is the boosting of Big Business. This is why they constantly villify President Obama, whose primary purpose is to help the American people whenever their interests are hurt by harmful practices of corporations.

The major political conflict is not between big government and limited government. This is a false choice advocated by the super-rich and Big Business. The major political conflict is how to use government - to help Big Business or to help ordinary Americans.


Posted by Paul Siegel at May 29, 2010 3:44 PM
Comments
Comment #301333

It would be justice in a poetic sense, for Obama to tell Jindal to negotiate with BP for assistance. That is after all, what Republicans advocate ideologically. If you get screwed by the private sector, they say “Caveat Emptor” or, let the buyer beware. If you fall on hard times losing your job and savings, they say: “You didn’t work or save hard enough to ride it out, therefore, it is on you to suffer the consequences of your actions.

It would be poetic justice. But, thankfully, Obama is an ethical person and is not about to take a laissez faire position just to spite his political opposition. Obama is going to help and aid those millions of Republicans who voted against him in the last election, because when it comes his view of government working for the people, he doesn’t ask what party they voted for, or what political ideology they subscribe to, as Republicans often try toward the poorer more democrat demographic of the population.

This is what separates the bad president’s like GW Bush, and the great ones like FDR and Obama who saved this nation from the reckless policies of the Republicans.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 29, 2010 5:02 PM
Comment #301339


Why volcanoes?

Wouldn’t it have been easier for the citizens of Louisiana to understand Jindal’s position if he had said:

Instead of monitoring hurricanes, what Congress should be doing is monitoring the hurricane of spending in Washington.

Posted by: jlw at May 29, 2010 6:15 PM
Comment #301343

Paul,
Good article, and good comment, jlw. I can see Mt St Helens from my front yard, and everytime I see Jindal, I remember that comment. He was asked to name one example of pork spending. He blurted something about ‘volcano monitoring’ as an example of pork. What an ass.

The disaster in the Gulf places conservatives in an impossible position, and their attempts to make political hay are full of contradictions. I caught a few minutes of Limbaugh the other day while driving, and his commentary was incoherent. In the matter of a few minutes he contracticted himself, but I doubt gullible conservatives would even notice.

On the one hand, conservatives want to blame ‘environmentalist wackos’ and the Obama administration and big government; on the other hand, they cannot defend the indefensible, namely their unflagging support for Big Oil and corporations, and the failure of their limited government solution to be able to address disasters like the one in the Gulf.

Posted by: phx8 at May 29, 2010 8:38 PM
Comment #301366

Mr. Remer wrote; “Obama is going to help and aid those millions of Republicans who voted against him in the last election, because when it comes his view of government working for the people, he doesn’t ask what party they voted for, or what political ideology they subscribe to…”

OH PLease…such a statement is complete hyperbole. I am disappointed with you Mr. Remer as your arguments are usually well reasoned. We all know that not a penny of federal money is spent without congressional approval. And, we all know that a president, even one such as Barry, is not above politics.

I wonder just where exactly we would find enough oil to run this country if we didn’t drill offshore. Do any seriously suggest that we become even more dependent upon others for our energy needs? Fortunately or unfortunately, there is an oil glut in the world right now otherwise we would see oil and derivitave products skyrocketing in price. Some may say…well, that would be a good thing as it would make green energy more competitive thus bringing more of it to market. Perhpaps…but in the interim, how would our nation keep running.

The degree of magical thinking with regard to our ability to function without huge amounts of oil is just astonishing.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 30, 2010 4:14 PM
Comment #301372

Paul

No, I have not heard that “Republican refrain”. What you have quoted is the Democratic caricature. You are setting up a straw man.

Appropriate government is what we want. I love government and think it is so precious that we should use it sparingly.

IMO - anybody who compares any American president to a Nazi is beyond the pale and should be rejected. So let’s condemn all Republicans who do this now to Obama and all Democrats who did this to Bush.

And if you find anybody who believes the thing you wrote about, you can argue with those guys. But when arguing with yourself, please don’t make up our arguments too.

BTW - I was Obama’s Federal regulators who approved giving BP and exemption from some environmental rules and Obama’s regulators who were about the expand those exceptions only eleven days before the blowout. Jindal didn’t. If you want to blame someone, you have to blame Obama. What we want is government that works. It doesn’t help to expand it if it doesn’t work at what it does already.

Posted by: C&J at May 30, 2010 9:11 PM
Comment #301373

phx8,

Since you can see Mt St. Helen from your front porch, I’m guessing you know how volcanoes think. :) and would be an excellent ambassador to the Vulcans.

Royal Flush,

What does anything you said have to do with Federal aid?

Posted by: gergle at May 30, 2010 9:14 PM
Comment #301377
The degree of magical thinking with regard to our ability to function without huge amounts of oil is just astonishing.

No magic needed. Just open a history book and you can read about centuries and centuries of people who lived without oil.

Of course there was a different standard of living then.

I’m pretty sure we can handle a short period of time of limited oil supplies/high oil prices until greener sources of energy come online. Many of the technologies already exist (such as fission, natural gas, wind, solar etc). The only thing missing is the impetus to invest in them. The reason the investment has not come yet is that imported oil is so cheap.

Posted by: Warped Reality at May 30, 2010 9:30 PM
Comment #301378
The only thing missing is the impetus to invest in them.

Well, that and a desire not to live under 19th century conditions and economies.

Posted by: gergle at May 30, 2010 10:59 PM
Comment #301385

Royal Flush, your comment’s sgnorance of the millions of Republicans who have already been helped and aided by Pres. Obama’s initiatives without regard for political party is truly astounding. Check into Obama’s emergency appropriations, stimulus initiatives, and allocations to State’s teachers, all his initiatives, not Congress’. Sure Congress appropriates, but, for such measures, the President initiated the call for them. And I have yet to meet a Republican who has rejected Obama’s offerings, even as they denigrate him as they bit the hand that fed them.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 31, 2010 11:19 AM
Comment #301388

Warped Reality wrote; “I’m pretty sure we can handle a short period of time of limited oil supplies/high oil prices until greener sources of energy come online.”

And you rely upon what for your statement? By “short period of time” are you talking about a few years, a decade, or longer?

Mr. Remer, if Barry wasn’t as noble as you proclaim and wanted to only help dems and liberals…how would that work? Where would that support in congress and the general public come from. Since you wish to credit Barry with doing all the things you mentioned with congress merely being his lapdog, then I guess Barry gets to claim all the responsibility for many of those same programs and initiatives failing to work to any measureable and meaningful degree.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 31, 2010 12:45 PM
Comment #301401
By “short period of time” are you talking about a few years, a decade, or longer?

I’m thinking it’ll probably take 20 or 25 years to transition. I’m basing this on the fact that it took about the same amount of time to transition into an oil dominated economy. The economy of the 1920s were not based upon oil, although we did use a fair amount of coal back then. However, we used a lot less of it because lifestyles were different back then. Most people who did not work in agriculture lived in densely populated cities with massive public transportation networks and did not need personal vehicles to get around. By 1950, all this had changed.

Posted by: Warped Reality at May 31, 2010 3:24 PM
Comment #301404

Coal remains vital for the production of electrical energy and will continue to do so for many years. I’ll accept your time span for transition as that seems to be achievable. However, we can not bankrupt ourselves or our county getting there. All the cries for higher energy prices is certainly not the answer. We will not get from here to there riding on the back of a horse. Reality dictates that we use the huge natural resources we have while we transition. It is impossible to take our nation of 300 million back to the 20’s.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 31, 2010 3:53 PM
Comment #301405


The oil debate reminds me of those people who claim that the earth produces oil naturally at about the same rate as we use it. According to them, we empty oil wells and move on to others. As we pump oil from new sources, the empty wells are refilling rapidly.

We can sink a thousand new wells into the Gulf of Mexico and more wells everywhere in America that oil may be found. We can pump oil continuously from those wells and we will still begin to see shortages and lines in ten years, possibly less.

If the world economy is unprepared for the decade of the twenties, this recession that we are experiencing now is going to seem like a walk in the park, picnic basket in hand.

Posted by: jlw at May 31, 2010 4:14 PM
Comment #301550
However, we can not bankrupt ourselves or our county getting there. All the cries for higher energy prices is certainly not the answer. We will not get from here to there riding on the back of a horse. Reality dictates that we use the huge natural resources we have while we transition. It is impossible to take our nation of 300 million back to the 20’s.

I disagree with your sentiment.

The only way to wean ourselves off of oil within the time period I mentioned will be to remove the artificially low price that oil receives today. A carbon tax or cap+trade proposal seems like the best way to do this. The result of either of these two policies will not be bankruptcy nor will it mean going from here to there on the back of the horse. It will mean people may have to sell their expansive suburban/exurban homes and move back into a smaller house (or an apartment) in the city and take the train to work rather than drive. It will mean people may think twice or three times before leaving the lights on when nobody is home.

We can not spend or natural resources will-nilly. We must allocate and budget for the long haul. Even after we move into a post-carbon energy economy, oil will still be vital for it’s lubricating properties, and it will still be the fuel of necessity in certain applications (such as for the military). It would be a shame to consume everything now and leave future centuries and millennia of civilization without these resources.

Posted by: Warped Reality at June 2, 2010 10:14 PM
Comment #301898

Paul,

Perhaps you should avail yourself of the proper info before blathering on about that which you don’t understand. States currently have state regulatory jurisdiction over internal and near-shore waters up to 3 miles offshore. Federal waters extend 3 miles to 200 miles from shore. Deepwater Horizon was about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast… IN FEDERAL WATERS.

Having said that I do not agree with a “take over” of any company, but Republicans should have voted to remove the “cap” (safety net) of monetary responsibility!!! Why do you think that the owners let anything “go lax”?… because they MOST they have to pay is a DROP IN THE BUCKET compared to the millions, billions, or trillions they make in between accidents.

“you would think that common sense would be more common!

Posted by: Zette at June 8, 2010 2:13 PM
Comment #310380

How did this collection of intellect at Google lose its connection with common sense? The comments above are well prepared; they are cogent in making their points. However, their points are, for a large part, idiotic. None of them present evidence that the writer knows Barack Hussein Obama very well, yet they defend him at the drop of a hat.

Why?

None of us like to admit mistakes which touch on the higher side of life and government. In fact, none of us care to dig up our past which wandered beyond our intellectual means. Yet, here we have a man who is definitely a British Subject, born in Kenya. He knows nothing of government and how to handle the issues that arise incessantly. I heard one conservative say, “He could never qualify to be mayor of Hoboken, NJ”. That may be a little ridiculous, but it makes a point.

Without George Soros, who is incidentally admitting to using his fortune unwisely, and who has stated his next venture will be given much more thought and consideration, Obama is hopeless. Make no mistake, folks, Soros is the man who coughed up the first US$300M, which your hero refuses to reveal, violating another law.

It is very true, and I do not have any idea who created it or how many are involved, that corruption has saved Obama’s butt on many occasions in the courts. Eric Holder seems to be the epicenter.

Let me close with a question. How many of you who still support Obama, believe the following is true?

He has committed treason against our constitution at least three times.

Obama is linked to two murders, one in Chicago in ‘04 when he was senator, and one in DC in ‘08 before the election. The FBI refuses to investigate either of them. I am not alleging that Obama ordered the killings.

He lied to the Illinois election committee saying he had never used a name other than Barack Obama?

He entered the U.S. using the name Barry Soetoro, and told the faculty at Occidental College in California he was a foreigner (He wanted to take a federally funded course which was available only to foreigners.) He therefore is an illegal alien, independent of a birth certificate.

Mr. Obama, with a need for a Social Security Card and a Selective Service Card to show some evidence of American citizenship, forged them both, using a SS number assigned to a man in CT who was born in 1890. Why? Without an American birth certificate, he could not obtain either of those cards. Mr. Obama is therefore guilty of ID theft.

He is guilty of several other felonies, which I will not detail here.

If you believe one or more of the above statements is false, then you truly do not know Barack Hussein Obama.

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