Sunday, May 9, 2010

Excusing Obama

BP, Deepwater, Obama, Salazar

Debcoop at Open Left has a new post up trying to make sure everyone knows that Republicans are to blame for the oil spill, and not Obama.

The NY Times thinks that President Obama has not responded aggressively enough to this spill. Let's be clear:
No way is this oil spill Barack Obama's fault.

Seriously? As Paul Rosenberg points out (also in a post on Open Left!), Obama appointed an Interior Secretary (Ken Salazar) with deep ties to the oil industry. Salazar was confirmed in January of 2009. The BP permit for the Deep Horizon well was approved 3 months later in April, with zero meaningful oversight.

Since then, 26 additional well permits have been handed out in exactly the same way, by the exact same Interior Secretary. As Rosenberg says, these permits were simply rubber stamped, and the oil companies were allowed to simply assert that there would be no environmental impact. (Read Rosenberg's post if you want to get a good idea of what the Interior Department does to make sure disasters like the BP catastrophe don't happen.)

Now, you may argue that we can't expect the president to know all of the intricacies of deep sea drilling, and that it is true. But you simply cannot excuse him for appointing an Interior Secretary with the record that Ken Salazar has.  

And in case you think he just didn't know any better, just last month Obama approved a massive expansion of offshore drilling, which would have been done using the exact same regulatory process, by the exact same department-a process that could best be described as simply signing whatever drilling applications the oil corporations filled out, and then going back to sleep.

This is not some case of Obama making the passive and innocent mistake of not realizing that the Secretary of the Interior was in charge of regulating activity that could (and did) result in a massive environmental catastrophe. No, this is worse. Obama actively planned to allow a huge expansion of this activity, and he either did not bother to look into the risks of such activity, or did look into it and saw nothing or didn't care. And we know this because his administration has continued to issue rubber stamp permits, just like the one that BP got, even after the BP explosion!

None of these explanations are acceptable, nor the actions excusable. They are precisely the kind of thing that we would be (rightly) excoriating Bush/Cheney for, and yet here is DebCoop, on Open Left of all places, excusing this behavior.

This is exactly the kind of sycophantic drivel one would expect to find on the pages of the White House web site or some Democratic Party hack's blog, and yet it is making it's way onto the pages of

The fault lies with the ideology and mores of the Republican party and its theory of government.

Which are, it is becoming painfully obvious, no different from the ideology and mores of President Obama.

Their solution to this country's energy's future is to drill anywhere and everywhere.

This might be more relevant to your case if Obama had not- just last month!- approved a plan to pretty much just drill anywhere and everywhere.

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