Democrats & Liberals Archives

News To The Republicans: BP is NOT Too Big Too Fail

A couple of years ago, Democrats backed a bailout of the banks, the reasoning being that if the Banks failed, we’d have another Great Depression. Now nobody’s happy about it, and the Republicans have been savvy enough politically to exploit that dislike of the bailout to their political advantage. It plays to the natural Republican position of leaving the free market to itself, letting failures fail. Well, at least as their rhetoric would claim.

Apparently, when a Democrat uses taxpayer dollars to bailout the banks to avoid the collapse of the economy, this is an evil, evil thing. But when one of many oil companies, one not necessary to the survival of the oil industry screws up and blows out an oil well off the Lousiana coast, It's only right that the taxpayers help bailout the monumentally stupid and incompetent company whose misbehavior caused the spill.

You know, you can give the Republicans credit for manipulating voter's hatred of the bailout of the big banks, but now their House Minority Leader does this. It's a wonderfully hypocritical gesture on his part, plays into the perception of Republican leaders as slaves to the corporate ne'er-do-wells, and also comes off as completely unnecessary and counterproductive.

Plus, I got news for you: people absolutely HATE British Petroleum right now. Having put Obama on the defensive about not having reformed the MMS, about his inability to plug the hole, now you've suggested that a business that had ten billion dollars in profits should get billions in tax dollars spent on it to make it whole.

Thank you Republican leadership. Thank you very much. You've thrown this pitch right over home plate. If Democrats can't beat Republicans silly with this one, we'll have missed a wonderful opportunity.

Look, here's what I think: BP ought to pay every dollar of restitution people have coming. If it can't do that, if it's destroyed by this, then it had it coming for unleashing a disaster of this magnitude on us.

Late Update: Before I finished this entry, Boehner's walked this one back. He claims that the reporter, Brian Beutler, who was in the front row mumbled.

This is the question that was asked:

So today I asked Boehner, "Do you agree with Tom Donohue of the Chamber that the government and taxpayers should pitch in to clean up the oil spill?"

This is what Tom Donohue of the US Chamber of commerce said:

"It is generally not the practice of this country to change the laws after the game. Everybody is going to contribute to this clean up. We are all going to have to do it. We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that."

This is what Boehner responded, with no apparent call for clarification, despite the fact that his spokesman says the question was mumbled:

"I think the people responsible in the oil spill--BP and the federal government--should take full responsibility for what's happening there,"

So, either:

a) Boehner made an unforced error, having failed to ask the reporter to clarify the question he misheard;

b) He didn't know what Donohue had said, but went with his natural sentiments and unfortunately spoke his mind;

or c) He knew exactly what Donohue said, supported it, but did not realize that Democrats would characterize taxpayers being forced to pay for BP Spill cleanup as a bailout.

I don't think Beutler mumbled. I think Boehner and his crew have a certain mindset: Make business whole, let the little people muck it out for themselves.

Late UpdateX2: Beutler points out what the crux of the issue is: payment beyond the already mandated 75 million. Remember, if they don't pick up the bill, then we do, and we're cleaning up the mess at taxpayer expense.

I wonder where Boehner's going to fall on that question.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at June 10, 2010 12:52 PM
Comment #301987

Stephen, your article’s focus is a bit pedantic. The bigger story is Gov. Jindal, who has boxed his governorship into a no exit corner. Jindal is rabidly creating media coverage of himself railing against BP and demanding BP make good in a timely fashion for his State’s people, which, of course, BP cannot do, if, for no other reason than fiduciary duty to shareholders to minimize what BP has to pay for this spill.

If Jindal’s citizens begin railing against Jindal for being ineffective in securing relief, Jindal has a political suicide choice to make. Does he kill his political career by refusing to lean on the federal government which he railed against doing in order to get elected? Or, does sacrifice his conservative ideology and go to the Obama administration and Democratic Congress for relief for his constituents?

It truly is a no win situation Jindal and his ideology have painted him into. Jindal’s neighboring Governor Bob Riley of Alabama is far smarter than Jindal as evidenced by his public praise of Pres. Obama reported on June 8:, “I want to thank the President for his personal intervention with the Coast Guard,’ [in regard to Obama’s intervention to get more boom from the Coast Guard to protect Alabama coastline.] If hypocrisy is not the heart of the Tea Partyer’s, they should be targeting Gov. Riley for removal.

Gov. Barbour of Mississippi is following the path of Jindal, damning on June 6 in an interview with Chris Wallace, Pres. Obama and his moratorium on Gulf drilling until they know what caused the BP disaster. Barbour is demanding of the Obama Administration that drilling continue in the Gulf, begging another disaster to occur on the back of his own words. In a worthless attempt to not bite the hand that can save his State from BP’s oil, Barbour commended Obama and Allen for responding favorably to requests for assistance in protecting their shores. Mississippi’s coast line has not been hit by the BP oil, yet, and may not be depending on weather and currents going forward.

Gov. Crist (FL.) on the other hand, has all his bases covered, except with the Tea Party supporters, having established a productive and cooperative working relationship with the Obama administration, and his coastal areas are being modestly assaulted by oil, though it may not BP’s oil, yet. Gov. Crist stood side by side with Pres. Obama on May 28 as Pres. Obama spoke of the BP oil disaster in the making. Crist is not about to box himself into a Jindal corner.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 10, 2010 2:57 PM
Comment #301997

David R. Remer-
The problem, I think, with Republicans, is that they have boxed themselves into corners. The problem for my own people, as far as I can see, is that they think they’re boxed into corners they really aren’t.

I read this terrible (in terms of news, not quality) article in Rolling Stone that just left me very disappointed in the Obama Administration about this matter. But I understand this: all things being equal, Democrats will vote for somebody who takes action on this, and sticks it to that oil company.

I just hope Obama gets that message. We need practical realities to dictate our policy, not political convolutions brought on by years of solipsistic rule by the GOP and its Democratic Party imitators. My party needs to distinguish itself openly and with much fanfare.

And when the contributors come calling? Tell them this: you made this happen. You made it too difficult for me to help you and survive politically.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 10, 2010 4:45 PM
Comment #302001

Obama has been on this since day one - that is what he tells us. His regulators approved the platform. Democrats control the House, the Senate and the Presidency.

You want to parse the words of Republicans to shift the blame. Democrats are in charge of this road show. Let’s see what they DO, not how you can catch words.

Posted by: C&J at June 10, 2010 5:37 PM
Comment #302007

“His regulators approved the platform.”

So what C&J so what. That doesn’t mean they are responsible for the explosion, fire and oil spill. Boehner is wrong to blame the feds for this accident, the repubs are wrong for blaming the feds and if they continue to do so it will come back to haunt them as will the silliness of Donahue’s comment.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 10, 2010 7:29 PM
Comment #302008

Were Federal regulators doing their job???

Posted by: Beretta9 at June 10, 2010 7:46 PM
Comment #302009


I don’t think the Federal government is omnipotent. Liberals tend to think government can really run things. During the Bush time, liberals held him to an impossible standard, implying that it was only his stupidity that prevented it from working. Now we see that Obama is no better at it than Bush. So if Bush was stupid, so is Obama. Or maybe neither can really make it work.

Posted by: C&J at June 10, 2010 8:59 PM
Comment #302011

“Were Federal regulators doing their job???

Yes they were, in accordance to the mandate set forth by the corporations and both political parties. This mandate supersedes the regulations, making them window dressing.

Was BP doing it’s job? Yes, they were maximizing profits.

Should repeat offender rules apply to BP? One misdemeanor and two felony convictions in the last decade.

If BP is convicted of another felony, should the three strikes rule be applied to this person. Life in prison without parole for Mr. British Petroleum.

Should BP shareholders have demanded that BP take the necessary safety measures to prevent screw ups like Texas City and horizon instead of just counting their maximized profits? Hindsight seems to suggest that may have been prudent of investors.

Should BP be allowed to declare bankruptcy? Yes, the bankruptcy court should recognize BP as a criminal operation and liquidate it’s assets.

Should any possible criminal proceedings be conducted in a Gulf state where nearly every judge has affiliations with the oil and gas industry as well as the chemical industry?

Someone is missing out on a multi-million dollar opportunity, F@%& BP bumper stickers and T-shirts.

Posted by: jlw at June 10, 2010 9:06 PM
Comment #302012

One more addition - John Steward says that Obama has to kick his own ass.

Posted by: C&J at June 10, 2010 9:15 PM
Comment #302013

“I don’t think the Federal government is omnipotent. Liberals tend to think government can really run things.”

Speaking for myself I understand the feds do not run things they regulate. You guys like to have us believe that it is the fault of the cop not the bank robber when the bank is robbed.

“During the Bush time, liberals held him to an impossible standard, implying that it was only his stupidity that prevented it from working.”

AN impossible for who standard? To think that this oil spill and Katrina have anything in common other than location is ludicrous. Speaking for myself I held Bush to a certain standard that expected him to not intentionally ruin government through his choice of appointees and their staff. I hold Obama to the same standard but do not expect to undo 8 years of intentional abuse in 2 years or for that matter 4 years, especially with the other inherited problems facing this administration.

“So if Bush was stupid, so is Obama. Or maybe neither can really make it work.”

Make what work C&J. Do you really believe the government should keep a few thousand skimmer ships on standby? BP got the regulations they wanted which if we think about it are a minimum standard not a maximum standard. Nothing prevented BP from installing a blow out preventer on the well. But to me the real issue is why are you holding the feds to such a high standard for the actions and responsibilities of a foreign business entity (FBE)? Why not hold the FBE to these standards. For that matter why not hold the minority speaker to a minimum standard of representing the people of this country not a FBE.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 10, 2010 9:43 PM
Comment #302016


The government is responding about the way I figure it would. It did the same during Katrina.

Obama talks about kicking ass, but not about solving the problem. Again, it is about why I expected of him.

The Obama regulators never should have exempted BP from the higher environmental standards. That is true.

The problem with regulators is that they get captured by the industries they regulate. Firms know how to play politics. It is no coincidence that Obama received more money in campaign contributions associated with BP than any other politician.

We have to use government sparingly so that we can demand it does things right. Obama was like the great Wizard of Oz, all bluster and no substance. Now he is revealed as the little man behind the screen.

Posted by: C&J at June 10, 2010 10:14 PM
Comment #302018


“Obama talks about kicking ass, but not about solving the problem. Again, it is about why I expected of him.”

Again, you repeat the same mantra. However, you avoid any specific criticisms, speaking conveniently in generalities. So, what exactly has Obama failed to do that would mitigate this disaster? Has he withheld secret blow out capping devices? Has he failed to deploy the Coast Guard or other federal resources that would assist in managing the spill? Has he failed to assemble technical experts to “problem solve” the engineering problem? What specifically should be done that has not been done or is not being done?

If I have read your past posts correctly, you actually have no answers to the above questions. In fact, if I have read you correctly, you don’t think that the federal government can effectively mitigate or respond effectively to disasters such as Katrina or the BP spill. Bush didn’t fail in Katrina. It was only an expression of the limitations of government. Ditto for Obama. So, why the gratuitious slaps at Obama? It seems to come down to that Bush was slapped silly about a problem he couldn’t solve so lets return the favor to Obama even if it isn’t intellectually consistent.

Posted by: Rich at June 10, 2010 11:23 PM
Comment #302019


I have said before, I don’t think Obama could have done much more than he has. BUT Obama implied that he could do things like this.

I believe this shows the limits of governmental power - in general. Obama is doing what i thought he would. He is doing what Bush would have been able to do, i.e. not much.

So let’s all recognize that the Feds are extremely limited in what they can accomplish. Remember it next time you hear solutions proposed from Washington.

Why the slap at Obama? Because you guys believe in that stuff. I am simply speaking the language liberals understand and using it against them. If you believe, as I do, in limited government, you can feel free to discount what I am saying. But if you don’t, then let us savor the irony of Obama caught in the big government expectation net.

Posted by: C&J at June 10, 2010 11:31 PM
Comment #302020


BTW - Obama is bringing it on himself with his silly comment about ass-kicking. He has the ridicule coming if he says things like that. Is he trying to be like Bush?

Posted by: C&J at June 10, 2010 11:33 PM
Comment #302022

C&J said “The problem with regulators is that they get captured by the industries they regulate. Firms know how to play politics. It is no coincidence that Obama received more money in campaign contributions associated with BP than any other politician.”

This is a very important point. I hear the 24 hour media talk about the MMS like it was doing all this behind the politician’s back. It is because of campaign financing and lobbying that most of our regulators are in bed with the corporations they’re suppose to be regulating. If they go after the wrong corporation Senator so and so will threaten to cut their funding.

As long as the politicians depend on special interest’s money to win office I don’t see much changing. But wait things are changing. Now a corporation doesn’t have to give campaign contributions they can just buy all the adds they like. If any representative or senator starts an amendment to change anything, he’s toast. They’re just bury him in negative adds. And since they don’t seem open to an article 5 convention, we’re screwed!

Here’s a time line of our energy policy. If you can get by the partisan nature of it. (I don’t see the Dems being much better at regulation, just better rhetoric.)

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at June 10, 2010 11:53 PM
Comment #302025

His problem on the ass-kicking comment is that you folks are looking for little nit-picky things. Last week he was Spock, now he’s being called a pottymouth. Go figure. He shows anger, he’s irrational, he doesn’t show it and he’s out of his Vulcan mind.

You’re opportunists. And nothing shows it more than your unwillingness to accept your share of responsibility (of which Obama has his, too.) for this mess. Have you forgotten how the Right Wing responded to the President when he proposed the increase in drilling? You said more. You did not say “We need to do all the safety checks, make sure the rigs aren’t going to blow”

You don’t get to act like the scientist who is vindicated at the end of the disaster movie by the disaster happening, and the warned of catastrophes occuring with it. You were part of the group of the people in those films who rejected the good advice, the terrifying prediction.

So quit acting self-righteous, like you’re not involved, like you can just hand off **** like this. If you had the Presidency, if you had the Congress, just what the hell would you have done different? At least some Progressives can actually say that they saw this coming, that they had concerns that the mainstream political groups ignored.

Everybody ****ed up on this. Nobody deserves, on the record from the past, to score political points as lacking responsibility.

The question now, is where do we go from here? Your party can’t answer that question, won’t answer it. If after all that has happened, your party or my party remain parties of the status quo, neither party deserves political points going forward. My party still has potential, and I will groom that potential until I see it grow into something big.

If all you can think about is badmouthing Obama, scapegoating him for everything, then you have your head in the wrong place. If you aren’t prepared to change things for the better, if you’re going to say government can’t do anything, if you’re just going to sit around and engage in vain political gamesmanship, rather than reconstruct the regulatory apparatus to prevent further such disasters, then we don’t ****ing need your folks back in power, now do we? We have nothing to gain going forward from opportunists like those you support, Not while the threat of this recurring looms. This is a mistake that is bad enough made once. I will not condone those who will condemn a president in one breath for policies they’re seeking to advocate in the next.

I am not a fan of people playing the blame game. If I seek to make blame stick on somebody, it’s to make an example of them, it’s to punish them so that others thinking of making their terrible mistake will think twice.

That’s why I’ve decided, after reading a particularly harsh article on what went on with the policy, that Obama bears quite a bit of responsibility. He made terrible mistakes, playing the politics, and I intend to join others in holding him accountable for it. But if I hold him accountable, but let folks like you support get away with the blatant hypocrisy of scapegoating him for the general state off affaris, I’ve only given room for others to screw up the same way. I’m seeking to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and my first concern is the practical situation. Obama’s not perfect by any means, but he has the potentail to do what he’s supposed to here.

Republicans? They’re demonstrating rather methodically that they don’t care to deal with the underlying problems.

So, I don’t care to hear their bull**** about trying to pin this all on Obama. You’re like the people who browbeat folks into trying to shoplift something, and then when it looks like you’re going to get caught, you yell, “stop him, he’s shoplifting” and run the other way.

No, this is an all around screw up that everybody’s staying after school for, and that everybody should get a spanking on when we get home. The person who can admit that they did wrong will be welcome. The one who goes out and starts doing better will be even more welcome. The ones who keep on advocating the same policies, the same politics on this issue should just take a hike. We don’t need their kind running politics in this country. They shouldn’t be rewarded.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 11, 2010 1:00 AM
Comment #302026

Mike the Cynic-
I also want better actions, not merely better words, but at least you can shame somebody who’s promised and reneged back onto the wagon on truth telling. Rhetoric matters.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 11, 2010 1:01 AM
Comment #302027

Mike the cynic, The Democrats should mail a copy of that to every home in America. It is a fine example of the Republicans version of letting the market work.

Stephen D., The Republicans haven’t changed, it’s the same Republican Party as when I was your age and when my grand father was your age. If there is any difference at all, it is that they now have most of the social conservatives voting with the corporate referees.

The Republicans have no choice but to go after Obama. They are torn between proclaiming him a socialist and in bed with the corporations. Of course the latter is amazingly more true than the former. They can’t run on their record. They have to pretend that they have changed, which they haven’t.

It is the Democrats that have changed. They have moved so far right chasing those corporate dollars that they have totally lost sight of who they represented. The progressives are in a position to send Obama and the Democratic party a real good lesson by boycotting the election. I would rather see the Democrats as a minority party than to see them continue to represent corporations to the detriment of the people.

Look at Arkansas, the unions had every right and plenty of reason to go after Lincoln and Obama gets in their face about it. The unions caused the Party to expend a lot of funds to defend a Republicrat, I guess those union guys just don’t get it.

TPM underestimates Obama’s ability to kill Lincoln’s tuff regulation amendment. I guess you know who she voted with over the EPA regulating carbon emissions. She is not a Democrat and the Party should not be supporting her. The party should not be supporting many of their incumbents.

Posted by: jlw at June 11, 2010 2:40 AM
Comment #302029

C&J, Obama is one person. Many of the folks in MMS were Bush’s people. Obama’s plate has been full of emergencies left by the Bush administration since he took office, and he has had one helluva time getting cabinet and other positions confirmed in the Senate do to inordinate Republican delays and filibuster threats.

One person sitting atop a government overseeing a nation as great and diverse as ours, has to set their priorities. And until The Great BP disaster, there were far higher priorities to deal with trying to set this nation on a better course from the one it had been on. One person as president in 16 months is very limited in what they can deal with, ESPECIALLY under the circumstances handed Obama by Bush and the Congress.

You want a superman in the White House, run for the job yourself. Our nation elected a crisis manager, the best one on the ticket, and Obama has accomplished much in just 1.5 years, considering how difficult change is in our current political environment. I still give Obama very high marks on his overall performance, and I didn’t vote for an oil engineer, I voted for change. And a lot has changed in the short time Obama has been office.

Economy is growing at 3%, the world’s banking systems were rescued from a global depression, the potential unemployment of 25% of greater was headed off at the pass and held at 10% or lower (a remarkable feat, considering), 30 million Americans who needed health insurance will be getting it, we are drawing down in Iraq, and we have Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting al-Queda and the Taliban on their side of the border. Indeed, a lot has changed and been accomplished on Obama’s watch, some of which many Americans believe could not be done when Obama took office. And many still wish the man hadn’t been so damned successful so far, and it infuriates them. Phhttt!, I say, to them. PHHTTT!

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 11, 2010 3:39 AM
Comment #302036

David R. Remer-
Damn it! You got spit on my screen!

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 11, 2010 12:10 PM
Comment #302045


OK, the joke was fine, but you carry it too far. Make up your mind, do you want proactive agencies anticipating every contingency, or do you want responsive agencies responding to changing realities?

Or do you want none of the above? Which of course means you are just fine and dandy with Corporate control of everything and don’t worry about little things like destroying the environment at all. Of course, we all know that is your true position, but you continually try to couch it behind a pretense of wanting “some” government. Just not enough to gore your ox, or your political supporters ox, or anyone’s rich ox.

BTW, stop saying outright lies like “BUT Obama implied that he could do things like this.” That is entirely your fabrication.

Sorry but your argument is childish and simply about trying to score political points, which is the entire problem with the “arrogant, angry, white men” running the Republican part into the ground.

Posted by: gergle at June 11, 2010 4:33 PM
Comment #302047
Make what work C&J. Do you really believe the government should keep a few thousand skimmer ships on standby?
Posted by: j2t2 at June 10, 2010 09:43 PM

Thanks j2t2! Skimmer ships. I didn’t know what to call them. I emailed these guys and asked them if they have offered their assistance.

I recall reading about an offer of assistance being turned down in the early days of this ordeal. I can’t find the link to the story. Perhaps these guys could shed some light on the question.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 11, 2010 4:54 PM
Comment #302048
Everybody ****ed up on this. Nobody deserves, on the record from the past, to score political points as lacking responsibility.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 11, 2010 01:00 AM

Stephen, I believe this comment just shot your original post in the foot. You’re agreeing with Boehner!

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 11, 2010 5:03 PM
Comment #302049
Make up your mind, do you want proactive agencies anticipating every contingency, or do you want responsive agencies responding to changing realities?
Posted by: gergle at June 11, 2010 04:33 PM

I’d like to have agencies that can enforce the rules they put in effect.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 11, 2010 5:22 PM
Comment #302051

Dagnabit! Redo! Mulligan!!!

Make up your mind, do you want proactive agencies anticipating every contingency, or do you want responsive agencies responding to changing realities?

Posted by: gergle at June 11, 2010 04:33 PM

I’d like to have agencies that can enforce the rules they put in effect.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 11, 2010 5:26 PM
Comment #302053

Finding fault at this stage of the game is secondary to finding out what actually happened to cause this mess. It’s been reported that processes were not adheared to. It’s been reported that equiptment was faulty. It’s been reported warning signs were ignored. Shouldn’t we be asking why these conditions existed?

I recently replaced my electric disconnect on my home. I called the energy provider and they required a certified electrician and a utility employee present while this disconnect was installed. The electrician showed up but the utility rep didn’t. The electrician performed his function without question. He said, “I don’t have time to wait here for the utility guy.”

Maybe it has more to do with a non-functional government than it does with a non-functional corporation. Maybe this corporation took advantage of a non-functional government as a way to cut corners. Either way, playing the blame game only diverts attention away from the problem.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 11, 2010 6:00 PM
Comment #302058


I want government to be limited and efficient. I wanted Obama’s regulators to be more circumspect and make the right decisions.

This is generally a bad situation. It is not Obama’s fault that it happened. This is true. But Obama made all sorts of claims about the efficacy of big government. When Obama tells the country that big government is not the solution and acknowledges the limits of its power, instead of just threatening to kick ass, I will be done with this.

I say again. I don’t believe government could have avoided this, no matter how much they made rules. I suppose they could ban all drilling, and if you are willing to pay $10 a gallon for gas and become more dependent on Iran etc, where, BTW, they pollute a lot more, that is a government solution.

Posted by: C&J at June 11, 2010 8:57 PM
Comment #302062

“But Obama made all sorts of claims about the efficacy of big government.”

Really? Could you share with us a few of those gems. It seems to me that Obama has consistently taken a pragmatic rather than an ideological view of government. What works should be retained, what doesn’t should be discarded. From his inagural address: “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works—” I can recall no instance where he promoted the efficacy of big government, per se.

Posted by: Rich at June 11, 2010 9:35 PM
Comment #302063

I said something to that effect.
I said Ohama will come out of this smelling like a rose.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 11, 2010 9:46 PM
Comment #302064

You guys think a foxhole is a cute girl. It ain’t.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 11, 2010 9:51 PM
Comment #302065

“I say again. I don’t believe government could have avoided this [BP spill], no matter how much they made rules.”

Nonsense! Rigorous inspection, required improvements in BOPs and regulatory requirements for simultaneous drilling of a relief well, as required in Canada, would have have gone a long way in reducing the probabilty of the disaster and vastly mitigating the consequences.

You seem hung up on this big vs. small government issue. Quite frankly, in this instance, I don’t think it makes any difference whether we have big or small government. It simply must take the necessary actions to ensure protection of the environment as well as ensure sources of energy for the nation. We can’t just throw up our hands and say there is nothing that can be done to meet those sometimes incompatible goals. Drill baby drill and to hell with the consequences is not an acceptable policy.

Posted by: Rich at June 11, 2010 10:02 PM
Comment #302066
I don’t think it makes any difference whether we have big or small government.
Posted by: Rich at June 11, 2010 10:02 PM

Then step out of the way, Rich.

You’re not needed.

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 11, 2010 10:07 PM
Comment #302071


But Obama made all sorts of claims about the efficacy of big government.

Name one that applies to this situation.

I agree the kick ass comment was pure pandering, but you and I both know you’ll never be done with this. If you can’t keep your promises, why do you expect a politician to?

I say again. I don’t believe government could have avoided this, no matter how much they made rules. I suppose they could ban all drilling, and if you are willing to pay $10 a gallon for gas and become more dependent on Iran etc, where, BTW, they pollute a lot more, that is a government solution.

Of course, you contradicted yourself in the same paragraph, by offering a narrow one sided supposition that the only solution is the one you proscribe. It has not a tinge of truth to it. Big government does regulate without raising enormous costs all the time. It isn’t easy, nor all encompassing, but then nothing in life is. If anything worthwhile were easy, we’d all be millionaires and never complain about anything. Neither life, nor governance is like that.

Empty rhetoric offers no solutions. It’s only purpose is to tear down and destroy. Chris Matthews is going to do piece on the rise of this rabble rousing side of politics in the right wing. It’ll be an interesting piece, is my bet. He described to a tea the popularity of Palin.

Posted by: gergle at June 11, 2010 10:59 PM
Comment #302073

That is right Rich, you need to step out of the way so conservatives can eliminate half of the fascist/socialist government.

Speaking of foxholes, that mans man, Mr. Conservative, Ted Nugent said that if he hadn’t gotten student deferments from the draft while performing 300 concerts per year, and if he hadn’t finally resorted to crapping and urinating in his pants for a week to beat the draft, and if he had gone to Vietnam, he would have killed all the American hippie soldiers in their foxholes. He would either have been killed or he would have killed everybody. It is amazing how much bravado some cowards can generate. A real Rambo.

Keep attacking Obama, maybe it will work. Maybe you will be just as successful as the Democrats were in 2004.

C&J, It seems to me that I recall a certain person saying a couple or three years ago that Iran was nearly out of oil.

Considering the number of American companies doing oil business with Iran, that may have been an overstatement. But then, considering the fact that some American companies are involved in the Iranian nuclear program, maybe they are running out of oil.

Posted by: jlw at June 11, 2010 11:26 PM
Comment #302076

Weary Willie-
Most spills people are familiar with are surface spills. This is one that’s going on a mile beneath the surface, and is creating giant subsurface plumes. You’re literally just scraping the surface of the problem.

As for what I said about nobody deserving credit, please note that I said “on the record from the past.” it’s a distinction I don’t make lightly. The plain fact of the matter is, what will define the quality of leadership from this point out is how people respond to the gravity of this mess. Do they run back to a status quo, or do they face the problem and deal with it.

Boehner, clearly, reflexively, is stuck in the past. He, and most of the other Republicans are still trying to sell weak government and strong corporations as an ideal. Has it not occured to the people in the Republican Party that this might not be the right time to extoll the virtues of that, or do they simply not care?

The strange thing here is how you pose this as a problem of government overreaching its capabilities, as if it passed some natural threshold and couldn’t do this.

I don’t buy that for a second. The MMS didn’t use to be the way it is now. The government successfully prevented deflationary traps before 2008. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lasted for decades before the credit crunch strangled the mortgage market, which they depended on.

We’ve been playing out your principles in practice, don’t you understand? Your approach has been discredited. There’s a difference between people finding government performance lacking, and that performance having to be lacking.

You can make up all the strawmen you want to. Fact is, and I blame Obama for this, he accelerated drilling, and his people did not get in the way of the current, lax system. As for avoiding this? Well, you always get into trouble arguing from a hypothetical, but the fact is, there are discernable signs of what got messed up, even now, even before the investigation is complete.

Also, there are other countries where they fitted rigs like this with failsafe devices, and required relief wells to be dug at the same time, just in case. You’re simply reasoning here from what you would like to be true, when in fact the situation badly contradicts you.

Oh, and I don’t want to stop all drilling, but we should take prudent precautions rather than make the mistake once more of trusting the oil companies at their word. We need to take stock, find potential threats, and take care of them before we see another avoidable, preventable oil spill.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 12, 2010 12:53 AM
Comment #302085


government does a good and useful job. It just cannot do too much nor can it avoid all problems. It is not necessarily a failure of leadership if the organization cannot always perform the duties you want it to do. Sometimes it is the organization itself (as is often the case with government) and sometimes it is just bad luck.

re “my” approach being discredited. I am strictly pragmatic. I believe in what works. I believe that you have to solve problems close to where the problem lies and be flexible with responses.

I like to give people as much choice as possible in their lives. This is perhaps my ideology.

It is true that the financial system nearly collapsed. Some of this happened BECAUSE of government’s best efforts, not in spite of them. The debacle of Freddie and Fannie is nearly completely a government failure and is not “my” approach.

Governments - I use this in plural because it was not only ours - pushed home ownership to people who were not qualified for loans. And they are still doing it. Our own government is making heroic and quixotic efforts to “keep people in their homes”. This is merely prolonging the problem if many of those people are not financially able to pay their mortgages.

Re oil companies - we should not trust them. That is why we have regulations. The Obama regulators didn’t enforce the regulations already in place. Yes, they messed up. Change that.

Posted by: C&J at June 12, 2010 12:16 PM
Comment #302089

The government was fairly balanced until the formation of the DNC and the election of Clinton. I think they surprised the heck out of the Republicans. I don’t thing the Republicans ever imagined that the Democrats would swing so far to the right that they could challenge the Republicans for the corporate dollars in such great amounts. The Democrats thought they could give the corporations what they wanted and maintain the social programs that Americans like.

Stephen is right about Franny and Freddie. It was Clinton, Rubin and Sommers joining forces with Phil Gramm to deregulate the financial institutes and Sommers writing the housing derivative that sent the housing market headed for the cliff.

In addition, the Democrats began to buy into the corporate philosophy that the Republicans have promoted for many years, that being, self-regulation of business is in the best interest of America. The idea being that it is in the best interest of business to self-regulate, but, as the BP incident has shown, business has an even higher incentive that interferes with their desire to self-regulate themselves, profit.

This is when the Republicans began devising their trap or, it seems that way to me. Bush and the Republicans got rid of the balanced budget, gave huge tax breaks to the wealthy and began spending like drunken sailors. They did their part to drive the country towards bankruptcy and create an awesome recession that has the people scared and angry.

BP is the Democrats Waterloo. They thought they could get away unscathed for their compliant attitude towards corporations, for money. The sad part is that the Democrats have very little maneuvering room. They start doing the right things to reverse the situation and they could loose enough of the corporate money to harm their competitiveness in the elections. In addition, the Democrats constituents are finding it harder to deny their party’s complicity.

The Republicans are now pounding the Democrats and Obama, laying the blame for Congressional indiscretions and the corrupted regulatory agencies on them. In addition, the huge deficits by the Democrats in an effort to bring the economy back to life, are being used by the Republicans to promote their small government theme. Get rid of the social programs that has government trying to do to much and let government do what it does best, promote corporate interests.

Posted by: jlw at June 12, 2010 4:16 PM
Comment #302092


Republicans sure are clever. Why even bother trying to oppose them when everything Democrats do play into their hands? And Democrats? How dumb must they be to fall into that trap and stay stuck for nearly twenty years?

Posted by: C&J at June 12, 2010 9:13 PM
Comment #302100

“Why even bother trying to oppose them when everything Democrats do play into their hands?”

No, almost everything they and the Republicans do plays into the hands of the corporations.

And yes, that is exactly how I feel, give the Republicans unlimited control of the government so that they can eliminate the socialist elements in government policy and restore America to it’s Golden Age.

Posted by: jlw at June 12, 2010 11:07 PM
Comment #302104


You are still attributing to Republicans fantastic ability to plan and manipulate and by extension characterizing Democrats as either stupid,craven or both. How does this square with how liberal describe Republicans as out-of-touch bumpkins, clinging to their God and guns?

Beyond that, during the last fifty years Democrats have been in control of the presidency or the congress for all but six years. How clever are Republicans to control government with such disadvantages?

I am a conservative and not always a Republican. But I am still flattered that you think that we are so much smarter than liberals. But I do wonder how I never learned of this nefarious plan until now.

Posted by: C&J at June 12, 2010 11:30 PM
Comment #302107

“You are still attributing to Republicans fantastic ability to plan and manipulate and by extension characterizing Democrats as either stupid,craven or both. How does this square with how liberal describe Republicans as out-of-touch bumpkins, clinging to their God and guns?”

C&J are you assuming that all repubs are exactly alike and there can be no “grey area” amongst them? That kind of in the box thinking is why Obama and the dems inherited such a mess less than 2 years ago.

I believe jlw has made a correct assessment and has identified attributes associated with conservative movement leadership, those like Boehner. Meanwhile you describe talk radio conservatives, those that get their marching orders from conservative talk radio personalities without questioning the validity of the infotainment messages filled with half truths misinformation and outright lies.

Posted by: j2t2 at June 13, 2010 7:56 AM
Comment #302116

“Beyond that, during the last fifty years Democrats have been in control of the presidency or the congress for all but six years.”


Let’s see;

Kennedy/Johnson 8
Nixon/Ford 8
Carter 4
Reagan 8
Bush1 4
Clinton 8
Bush2 8
Obama 1.5

Somehow your figures just don’t add up right.


Posted by: Rocky Marks at June 13, 2010 12:03 PM
Comment #302122

C&J, I guess I should clarify my statement.

First, liberals are obviously more intelligent that conservatives. The Republican talking heads have a captive audience.

When I say I want the Republicans to rule, I’m not talking about girly conservatives. I want real conservatives, the kind that will walk the walk instead of just talk the talk.

We need the true neocon, social conservatives, the kind that know that the socialist/progressive/unionist ideas have to be stamped out to keep them from festering further. The kind that have followers that think it might be prudent to tattoo identification numbers on the wrists of Muslim Americans so they can be identified easier.

Posted by: jlw at June 13, 2010 1:17 PM
Comment #302135

Hello there C&J,
I don’t know where to start. One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Well, I’m doing the same thing, BUT not expecting any improvements. I guess that means I’m getting better. One thing you might consider (and then again maybe not) are three things: Two are reality and one is simply an abstract concept. Homeless children, vacant housing and morality. Please explain.
You also might question yourself with this weird idea. It’s something I say to others. Who told you that and why do they want you to believe it?

Posted by: Stephen Hines at June 13, 2010 6:20 PM
Comment #302172
I recall reading about an offer of assistance being turned down in the early days of this ordeal. I can’t find the link to the story. Perhaps these guys could shed some light on the question.
Posted by: Weary Willie at June 11, 2010 04:54 PM

I received a reply to my questions from these guys!

In answer to your first and last question, I think you will find interesting the following link to a press release from the European Union Commission:
As regards your second question, the answer is “no”. EMSA has no assets in the Gulf of Mexico.
Thank you for your interest in the Agency’s activities.
My best regards,
Louis Baumard
Communication officer

Posted by: Weary Willie at June 14, 2010 1:35 PM
Comment #302188

Don’t you remember what I wrote about Fannie and Freddie? As the secondary market went wild, their market share went down. But Republicans talk about this, because it involves government, and reinforces a narrative. That’s not a pragmatic approach, because a practical person depends on the fact.

Fannie and Freddie didn’t cause the Housing market problem, much less the crash itself.

It wasn’t the pushing of the houses alone. A dysfunctional market had to surround these assets and leverage them beyond all sanity to make them into an epochal financial crisis. Strategic regulation and a willing set of regulators could have stopped this, or at least calmed things down.

As for what the Republicans did?

Over the last thirty years, Republicans have built their political ascendancy on bashing liberals, in particular on making them looke like they were anti-job, anti-economy. With Reagan’s rise, with the rise of the Republican Party in Congress, they were faced with a situation where your political ideology was the rising power in Washington. And you guys made damn sure everybody knew it. “This is a center right nation!”, you proclaimed.

You had Congress for the last 12 years before 2006. You had the Presidency for twenty of the last thirty years, and 26 of the last 40. You had the power to get what you want, to push Democrats around, and you used it, and were not shy about using it. It wasn’t for no reason that you had Bill Clinton saying, “The era of big government is over.”

It’s real funny, with all the efforts your people went through in the end to make it clear to everybody that you were in charge, how powerless you now claim you were.

There’s an easy way to deal with this, if by easy I’m saying it just takes a simple admission: Your party screwed things up. Your theories were wrong.

Then you’ll have the freedom to be truly pragmatic, because you won’t have to answer to people who are going to hold you accountable simply because you don’t maintain the same dogma. True pragmatists are results oriented, and take the world as they find it, rather than making airy pronouncements about the way it has to be.

Acknowledge the complesity and be guided by it, and you will truly be free. Buy into somebody’s misguided gloss, and you’ll have to follow it to its logical conclusion.

Which isn’t necessarily going to be logical itself on the substance.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 15, 2010 8:48 AM
Comment #380576

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