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Hullabaloo


Friday, April 30, 2010

 
Bad Roll Of The Dice

by digby


I wish I could be more sympathetic to the administration for being on the hot seat over this oil spill after announcing just a month ago that they were going to "drill,baby,drill", but I can't be. This is the reason why people don't want offshore drilling. It's not ideological and it's not aesthetic. We don't want to look at oil rigs on the horizon, but that's hardly the main objection. It's a concern for the environment.

Obama tried to help out his pal Huckleberry get some non-existent votes lined up for the energy bill and begin his inevitable turn to the right for 2012. And it didn't work out. When a policy is this bad, it rarely does.

And the politics are very, very bad. This is what the Village is saying today:
Andrea Mitchell: David you have a big interview, that you did just a few minutes earlier with Hillary Clinton the Secretary of State. And you asked about the oil spill and climate change which is a concern of national security. It is a big issue for the State department as well.

David Gregory: Well it is and I'll just tee off the clip that I believe you got, which is, again, looking at this in a broader context which is again the president talking about drilling off shore for oil is part of an effort to form a political consensus here in the US to move forward on climate change legislation, which has been described by proponents in national security terms, so the secretary of state has an interest in that and knows now that there is something of a setback with this oil spill because there are real questions now about safety before any kind of domestic drilling can go forward.

This is a portion of our interview earlier today:

Clinton: Well I think the president has ordered the departments to deal with this homeland Security, Interior, Environmental protection defense to all immediately not only to everything possible to mitigate the effects of this spill, but to try to come up with recommendations going forward. This is to try to get this spill under control which, as you know, has been very difficult and to try to prevent further damage to the coastline along Louisiana to the fishing waters to the wildlife.

I think it does raise questions which the president has said have to be answered. He preferred a very comprehensive approach that included the potential of drilling off of our own shore. That is a national security concern because we have to do better to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. But it has to be done safely. It can be done at the risk of having to spend billions of dollars cleaning up these spills.

So there's so much in these difficult areas that's going to require a balancing act.

Gregory: Andrea, as you've seen before, there are events that happen in the course of presidencies that are unplanned but that can really set the tempo and can become a front burner issue for an administration. This has the potential of being an environmental disaster of a scale that will require the administration to act more precipitously on this issue.

Mitchell: I was going to say David, that the president moved in with this mixed approach to his energy policy and was trying to incorporate offshore drilling, which is sensitive with his political base. He was trying to incorporate that to show that he can have a balanced approach, bringing Lindsay Graham and others into the mix and it did succeed. That of course, was derailed by other emergencies on immigration. And now he's got a real problem.

Isn't he going to face similar problems with George W Bush on Katrina? Not quite as obvious, but where was the administration in the first couple of days of this? Why didn't they anticipate this? Why aren't there requirements, more regulations than we have already?


The president trusted BP to handle things because they are "experts" and there aren't more requirement and regulations because they can't upset Little Lindsay and the rest of the planetary destruction caucus.

Democrats need to stop trying to be clever. They aren't good at it. The split the baby approach on offshore drilling has resulted in the Obama Administration owning this environmental disaster, and it was for nothing. They were never going to get Republicans to vote for any kind of climate change legislation this year, not even Lindsay, who I would bet a hundred dollars would have ended up "having" to vote against it because somebody "betrayed" him if it did manage to get to the floor. It's a fools game to try to finesse these right wingers.

Now, it's certainly possible that the administration actually believed that off shore drilling is a good thing to do on the merits. If so, they've just learned a valuable lesson about listening to oil men who say that what they do is perfectly safe and not to worry our pretty little heads about it. Not that it should take a huge disaster like this to do that --- we had one about twenty years ago which nearly destroyed the pristine Alaskan coastline. It shouldn't have to happen ever couple of decades to remind people of what the risks to the environment are.

But in this case, I honestly doubt they even thought much about it beyond a craven political deal with Huckleberry that has now blown up in their faces. And as I said, it's really hard to defend them. They sold out their principled position for nothing in return. That's a risky thing to do and the risk has not paid off.

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