Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Captain Josh, Cole, and Steve said ...

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John Cole: I’m Moving to Canada

I can’t take it anymore:

The ferocious oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening President Barack Obama’s reputation for competence, just as surely as it endangers the Gulf ecosystem.

So White House aides are escalating their efforts to reassure Congress and the public in the face of a slow-motion catastrophe, even though it’s not clear they can bring it under control anytime soon.

“There is no good answer to this,” one senior administration official said. “There is no readily apparent solution besides one that could take three months. ... If it doesn’t show the impotence of the government, it shows the limits of the government.”

Hope and change was Obama’s headline message in 2008, but those atop his campaign have always said that it was Obama’s cool competence — exemplified by his level-headed handling of the financial meltdown during the campaign’s waning days — that sealed the deal with independents and skeptical Democrats. The promise of rational, responsive and efficient government is Obama’s brand, his justification for bigger and bolder federal interventions and, ultimately, his rationale for a second term.

That’s Mike Allen and Glenn Thrush in the Politico, sneering that Obama’s “Hope and Change” 2008 slogan hasn’t plugged the worst oil spill in world history.

Assholes. I don’t think it is fair to the rest of us, but these douchebags in the beltway media deserve to live in a world ruled by Sarah Palin and Bill Kristol.

  • from the comments:


    Hope and change was Obama’s headline message in 2008, but those atop his campaign have always said that it was Obama’s cool competence — exemplified by his level-headed handling of the financial meltdown during the campaign’s waning days — that sealed the deal with independents and skeptical Democrats.

    I totally agree. Never more than today do I wish we’d gone with the “Drill, Baby, Drill” crowd. Their rationality and level-headedness would have capped that leak in the liberal tree-hugger media and kept this oil spill from turning into a massive headache for a proud, All-American capitalist enterprise like British Petroleum.

The lead headline at The New Republic this morning reads, "Is Dick Cheney To Blame for the Oil Spill? Signs Point to Yes." Well, that's an attention grabber.

The piece is from William Galston, hardly a liberal firebrand, and it's worth a look. Of particular interest, it notes that the Deepwater Horizon rig did not have a remote-control acoustic shutoff switch, routinely used by rigs elsewhere. Why the switch wasn't there is what matters.

As the Wall Street Journal, reports, after a spill in 2000, the [Minerals Management Service] issued a safety notice saying that such a back-up device is "an essential component of a deepwater drilling system." The industry pushed back in 2001, citing alleged doubts about the capacity of this type of system to provide a reliable emergency backup. By 2003, government regulators decided that the matter needed more study after commissioning a report that offered another, more honest reason: "acoustic systems are not recommended because they tend to be very costly." I guess that depends on what they're compared to.

The system costs about $500,000 per rig. BP is spending at least $5 million per day battling the spill, the well destroyed by the explosion is valued at $560 million, and estimated damages to fishing, tourism, and the environment already run into the billions.

The Minerals Management Service is the part of the Interior Department responsible for offshore drilling. Towards the end of the Clinton administration, MMS officials wanted rigs to have the acoustic shutoff switches, but by 2003, the agency had changed direction.

What happened in those three years? Well, for one thing, the MMS in the Bush/Cheney era became one of the most corrupt government agencies in American history. The Minerals Management Service proudly embraced an anything-goes atmosphere that led to literally Caligula-like corruption and debauchery -- federal officials traded cocaine and sex for lucrative oil contracts, for example.

For another, Dick Cheney's secretive energy task force concluded that $500,000 for remote shutoff was simply too great a burden, and the former V.P. and his team didn't want to force BP and other oil companies to spend the money.

I realize the White House is generally reluctant to blame the failed previous administration for the messes President Obama has to clean up, but when the oil-soaked shoe fits....
Marshall (TPM): Revenge Of Brownie!

Former FEMA Director Michael "Brownie" Brown is accusing President Obama of intentionally waiting until the Gulf oil spill became truly catastrophic because he wanted an excuse to shut down offshore drilling.

See the video.

Kurtz (TPM): How It Works

TPM Reader MS, with a perceptive take on "Heckuva Job" Brownie's comments and those like his:

Every time you hear a Republican say, "Obama's response to Deepwater was late because ... he hates drilling ... he's in the pocket of Big Green ... he's an Islamic sleeper ... he blew up that oil rig ..." just focus on that first part, "Obama's response was late".

That's what they're really trying to push here, the notion that -- like Bush's response to Katrina -- Obama responded too little, too late to Deepwater. While everyone is focused on the insanity of the claims ("Brownie said WHAT? Are you kidding??"), less noticed is the fact that that first part -- "Obama was late" -- is being taken for granted and stepped past to the next question, why he was late.

The insane is being used as a Trojan horse to bring in the factually incorrect.

My mind is still open to the federal government, including the White House, having been slow or ineffectual in responding to the spill. But while we work to determine those facts, MS's assessment is worth keeping in mind.

Paul Krugman warned us last week, explaining that conservatives would come up with some creative arguments to blame the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf on President Obama, his allies, or both.

Rush Limbaugh did his part on Thursday, suggesting that explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig may have had something to do with "hardcore environmentalist whackos" and the timing of Senate movement on a cap-and-trade bill.

Fox News, specifically "Fox & Friends," took the crazy ball and ran with it this morning, suggesting that sabotage and politics may have been involved. Based on what, exactly? A combination of blind partisanship, overactive imaginations, and conspicuous unintelligence.

Perino: "[W]as this deliberate?" On the May 3 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Dana Perino said of the spill: "I'm not trying to introduce a conspiracy theory, but was this deliberate? You have to wonder...if there was sabotage involved."

Bolling falsely claimed it was "nine days before" the leak "was even addressed" and asked, "Did they let this thing leak? ... if they're going to try and pull drilling, that may be the way they do it." On the same broadcast of Fox & Friends, Fox Business Network host Eric Bolling said: "The question is ... why the delay in the response? You guys were pointing out, nine days before it was even addressed, 12 days before he made a formal comment. The question is, did they let this thing leak? I mean, BP said maybe a thousand barrels a day, it went to five thousand. Did they let it leak a little bit and say, boy I don't know. The conspiracy theorists would say, 'maybe they'd let it leak for a while, and then they addressed the issue.'" Bolling added: "That would be a humongous accusation and probably the net result would be no different, but if they're going to try and pull drilling, that may be the way they do it."

I'm trying to decide which of the two bizarre media personalities was dumber. Bolling seems to have the edge.

Perino's comments were, to be sure, entertaining. In one breath, she's not "trying to introduce a conspiracy theory," and in the next breath, viewers "have to wonder" if her baseless conspiracy theory is true.

But Bolling enjoys the edge because his "analysis" (I use the word loosely) combines several layers of stupidity. Not only was he carelessly throwing around insane speculation about events he doesn't understand, but Bollling tops it off by asking why there was a "delay in the response," when in Grown-Up Land, there was no delay in the response.

Of course, GOP conspiracy theories, no matter how insane, don't have to make sense; they don't have to withstand scrutiny; they don't even have to be persuasive. They just have to be repeated. In this case, we see pure nonsense start on Limbaugh's show, and then work their way to Fox News. One can only assume other Republican outlets, assuming they cover the oil spill at all, will soon start reporting that "some say" politically-motivated sabotage may have been involved.

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