Republican Masochism

The modern Republican Party has become a model of self-contradiction. A party loaded to the rafters with self-proclaimed freedom-lovers was forced to justify a systematic destruction of civil liberties; acts perpetrated by a Republican President and Republican Congress under the auspices of the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. Conservatives had to find methods for dealing with the same Republican power structure as it violated the tenants of fiscal conservatism by doubling the national debt; debt that had been reduced by the fiscal policies of the previous Democratic administration. Finally, Republican stalwarts heard Mr. Bush repeatedly claim to listen to the generals, then watched as he fired one soldier after another who had the temerity to disagree with one of his cabinet.

All of that contortion taught Republicans flexibility, because the Party and its cheerleaders in the right-wing media have bent over backward to criticize Obama for taking actions Republicans have previously endorsed. Don’t believe me? Let’s start with Rudy “9/11” Guiliani, who was for mirandizing and trying trans-Atlantic airplane bombers in civilian courts before he was against it. How about the dozens of Republican members of the House and Senate who were against the Stimulus before they were for taking credit for jobs it brought to their districts? Who remembers the bailouts? The $700 billion bailout called TARP that was written by Hank Paulsen and signed into law by George W. Bush. That hasn’t stopped many who voted for it from throwing accusations of Marxism at President Obama for much smaller “bailouts” of the auto industry.

And then there was The Big Spill. Republicans have spent the last two months running around like Sue Lowden’s medical savings account without a head. President Obama oversaw a massive and immediate federal intervention into the disaster, slowed only by B.P.’s stonewalling of the truth. But while conservative bloggers have the cheek to constantly rehash Rahm Emanuel’s “never let a good crisis go to waste” comment, the Republican Party has been busy trying to follow the Chief of Staff’s advice. The tiny little, big-ass problem with the GOP’s strategy, is that the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon was, and is, a market failure. Like the Wall Street crash and Massey Energy’s mine disaster before it, The Big Spill is the result of an under-regulated major firm screwing the pooch in epic fashion.

Let the gymnastics begin! First, the GOP floated the “Spill is Obama’s Katrina” theme. Their immediate problem lay with the simple reality that for the comparison to do any damage, Republicans must admit that Bush flubbed Katrina. Laura Bush squashed that theme double-quick, while average Americans were wondering what an unpredictable and unknown industrial accident had to do with a predictable hurricane. The right-wing blogosphere then settled on the Jones Act (actually the Merchant Marine Act of 1920) and its supposed limitations of foreign assistance. Obama, it seemed, had failed to waive the Act so that foreign flagged ships could participate in the cleanup. Of course the President was also taken to task for refusing the foreign help outright. Which is it kiddies; did he refuse the help, or did he accept it and fail to sign the waiver? Republicans, it seems, want to have their spill and eat their cake too.

That last thread is still active in the news, largely because major news outlets are still LYING about it. I have linked an article here from the Seattle Times that is emblematic of the whole charade. The authors headlined and led with the theme that foreign aid was finally arriving, then later stated that foreign aid was already on scene. This is the bias we are told exists in the “liberal mainstream media”; I wish I could see some examples. Fox News and the denizens of Clear Channel radio are still carrying on a War of the Worlds like broadcast of fantasy; they write and read news that didn’t happen as if it were the honest facts. It is the convoluted conservative echo-chamber that helps the Republican Party get through its flexibility-testing routines.

All of which leaves us with the ultimate contortion; convincing America that the President was responsible for the spill and the failure to stop or contain the leak. Let’s move briskly past the ridiculous notion that “an effective” President would have a solution for the leak. I am interested in how conservatives justify holding the President and the Executive Branch responsible for this industrial goat-screw. They feel that Obama should have had tighter controls over these operations. I can understand liberals who are pissed about the non-performance of the Minerals Not-Really-Managing-Anything Service; the liberal philosophy demands government intervention to prevent, contain, and clean-up market failures. But conservatives? Are conservatives suggesting that the reason the spill happened was that Obama wasn’t liberal enough? Yep; if your head is hurting, you aren’t alone.

The aftermath to this is even better. The President imposed a moratorium on deep-water drilling so that a commission could figure out what went wrong. It seems reasonable; and conservatives who wanted to hang Obama for not preventing the disaster should be comfortable with his more hands-on approach now…right? Predictably, now that the oil is out of the tube, conservatives want the market to fix the problems while continuing operation. They even found a federal judge with extensive investments in drilling interests to sign off on an injunction to keep the drilling going. Drill baby drill! It is a strange world we live in friends. After the Challenger and Columbia disasters, our shuttle program was grounded to give engineers time to fix the problems. The same process happens with airframes and engines when systemic problems are found that cause crashes.

The Louisiana judge who made the ruling decided that the Administration had not shown that the problems of the Deepwater Horizon were duplicated on other rigs; he called the ban “arbitrary”. His decision was clearly not arbitrary. The contingency plans of other operators are not any better than B.P.’s, and the blowout valve is common technology. Perhaps the only comments as shallow and self-aggrandizing as those from the judge belong to Joe “ex-ARCO-guy” Barton. He and Rush Limbaugh, and now Fox News, believe that the $20 billion escrow account that the President asked for and received from B.P. was a “shakedown” and “organized crime”. It looks to most Americans like a President getting the job done for his constituents. And that last point is the reason for all of the contortions that Republicans have engaged in these last 17 months.

The notion that Barack Obama, who conservatives painted as a fair-spoken bimbo with no substance, is actually a capable and results-oriented leader is terrifying to the Republican Party. In that sense, what we have witnessed is less like a gymnastics exhibition, and more lack the frantic wanderings of a mouse in a maze; desperately unable to catch the scent of cheese.

Leave a Reply

Animated Balls: Election 2012

Episode 1: It's Hard to Choose Just One

Episode 2: Occupy Wall Street

Episode 3: 999! The Cain Train to Prosperity

Episode 4: Small Government

Episode 5: Newt is Forgiven

Episode 6: A Candidate with Big Balls

Episode 7: Why We Must Elect Rick!

Episode 8: Don't Make Me Use the "S" Word!

Episode 9: Santorum & Obamaville

Episode 10: Settle for Mitt!

Episode 12: Austerity and Obama's Debt!

Episode 13: From My Cold, Dead Hands!

Episode 14: Ryan is a Bold Choice for VP!

Episode 15: Mitt Romney's Taxes

Episode 16: Mitt & Me; 2 Peas in a Pod!

Episode 17: Mitt and the 47%

Episode 18: The PA Voter ID Law

Episode 19: The Boss is Running!

Episode 20: Benghazi Has Legs

Episode 21: Grover, the NRA, and the GOP

Animated Balls: A New Frontier!

Piers Morgan & the White House Conspire Against Alex Jones!

Affiliated Sites