[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
It's funny how right-wing talkers and their Beltway Village cohort really hate it when you point out how the lax regulatory oversight that resulted in the horrific Gulf oil spill originated in the Bush/Cheney administration.
Today at President Obama's press conference, it was Villager Chip Reid's turn to be all offended:
REID: Secondly with regard to the Minerals Management Service, Secretary Salazar yesterday basically blamed the Bush administration for the cozy relationship there.This was just too much for Megyn Kelly and her right-wing pal Mike Gallagher, who devoted a post-conference panel on Fox bewailing how wrong it was for anyone to blame poor George W. Bush for any of this.
And you seemed to suggest that when you spoke in the Rose Garden a few weeks ago when you said, for too long, a decade or more -- most of those years, of course, the Bush administration -- there's been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and federal agency that permits them to drill.
But you knew as soon as you came in, and Secretary Salazar did, about this cozy relationship. But you continued to give permits -- some of them under questionable circumstances. Is it fair to blame the Bush administration? Don't you deserve some of that?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well -- well, let -- let me just make the point that I made earlier, which is, Salazar came in and started cleaning house, but the culture had not fully changed in MMS. And absolutely, I take responsibility for that. There -- there wasn't sufficient urgency in terms of the pace of how those changes needed to take place.
There is no evidence that some of the corrupt practices that had taken place earlier took place under the current administration's watch, but a culture in which oil companies were able to get what they wanted, without sufficient oversight and regulation, that was a real problem. Some of it was constraints of the law, as I just mentioned. But we should have busted through those constraints.
Gallagher burst into crocodile tears, saying it was wrong for people to blame Obama now -- because they shouldn't have been unhappy with Bush's handling of Hurricane Katrina, either:
Gallagher: There has been way too much finger-pointing going on, and frankly, as a Bush supporter, it frustrates me to see Obama critics do the same kind of thing that people try to do with George Bush. Now, having said that, it does seem like that answer was trying to again have Barack Obama point the finger of blame at the Bush administration to some degree. It's regrettable. All of this finger-pointing is counter-productive.Yeah, we can't blame BP because they didn't want it to happen -- they just decided to take the cheaper and far riskier route when drilling this well, thanks to the handy green light they got from the Bush/Cheney MMS.
You know, we could have done one of two things, Megyn with this horrible oil spill -- we could have reacted, or we could have responded. Now that finally this flow has stopped, may we go forward and respond and be proactive and, and learn from what went wrong.
But this was a tragic accident that should not have been laid at the doorstep of either George Bush or Barack Obama, or even BP for that matter! No one wanted this to happen, they did everything they could to respond appropriately, and I think the blame game has just been absolutely appalling. And it's very distressing, and it breaks my heart to see what's happened the past few days.
Fortunately, the panel's token liberal, radio host Mark Levine, managed to make the salient point about all this:
Levine: Look, we've learned one thing -- if you don't learn from history, you're condemned to repeat it. The Republicans and conservatives have a philosophy -- they'll tell it to you all the time. They don't like any kind of government regulation, they trust corporations to do the right thing, they want government to get off the back of corporations, and not to regulate anything!This just produced more crocodile tears from Gallagher: "This makes me so sad," he said. Yeah, we bet. So sad.
And we see what happens. When the Bush administration fills these regulatory agencies with a bunch of people watching porn and not caring, in bed with the oil companies.
After all, we recall how right-wing defenders of Bush, for the entirety of his tenure, blamed every conceivable obstacle he faced on Bill Clinton.
The first Bush recession? Clinton's fault. The 9/11 attacks? Definitely Clinton's fault. (Remember The Path to 9/11?) Indeed, they even tried to blame the 2008 Bush recession on Bill Clinton. They never gave up.
And of course, before Barack Obama was even sworn into office, they began calling the last Bush recession "the Obama recession"
Well, as we observed last time we heard this whine:
The conservative approach to mis-governance comes up at every turn today for the liberals and centrists now dealing with repairing the damage, from managing the economy back onto its feet to fighting the two wars Bush got us into to coping with environmental disasters produced by his safety regulations. And it would be stupid to pretend that it's not what we're dealing with.Of course, I'm still wondering how these right-wingers think we're supposed to prevent these kinds of things from happening again without making an open and frank assessment of how we got there in the first place.
Because you see, if we don't constantly remind people of the disastrous consequences of conservative rule, they start listening to people like the talking heads at Fox News. They start forgetting just who got them into this big damned mess in the first place. Some of them even start blaming liberals for it (especially the hard-core insane conservative defenders).
We can't let that happen. Conservatives need to be slapped with the Bush legacy on a daily basis. Sure, they'll whine. But they have it coming.
Because it's clear they're more interested in saving the name of conservative dogma -- gasping and dying now from self-inflicted wounds like "Drill Baby Drill!" -- than they are in actually dealing with the mess they've handed us. But that's been clear for some time now.