Here's to the hope of a silver lining in this corporate-sponsored, free market disaster. Perhaps yet another junk punch to our collective groins will make people more agreeable to the notion that greater regulation is the clear alternative:
Just a quarter of Americans back expanding offshore drilling in the wake of the BP oil spill, and most fault federal regulators for the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.With the Bush and Obama-led feds disintersted in regulating, here's how BP failed to plan for the worst:
* * *Some 63 percent point a finger at inadequate enforcement of current regulations, and 55 percent see an overall weak regulatory structure. Even more, 73 percent, blame BP and its drilling partners for the accident. And the same number now call the spill a major environmental disaster.
NEW ORLEANS – Glaring errors and omissions in BP's oil spill response plans have exposed a slapdash effort to follow environmental rules, outraging Gulf Coast residents who can see on their beaches how unprepared the company was.It would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic.
* * *Professor Peter Lutz is listed in BP's 2009 response plan for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a national wildlife expert. He died in 2005. Under the heading "sensitive biological resources," the plan lists marine mammals including walruses, sea otters, sea lions and seals. None lives anywhere near the Gulf. The names and phone numbers of several Texas A&M University marine life specialists are wrong. So are the numbers for marine mammal stranding network offices in Louisiana and Florida, which are no longer in service.
Republicans, as one should expect, are trying mightily to turn an indictment of their ideology into a opportunity to place blame on liberalism. A stronger central government, John Boehner would tell you, isn't the answer and poor federal regulation isn't the exception but the rule.
I'm reminded of what the late, great David Halberstam wrote in the dark days following Katrina:
I never expected to see my government fail so completely when high professionalism would have meant saving lives by the hour. I suppose that if you have a formidable political movement which for 25 years has pushed the idea that government is the enemy—that is, if you have a government run by people who do not believe in government—things like this will happen. The service agencies inevitably atrophy, ever less capable people man them, and they have less and less leverage with which to gain their necessary share of the annual budget.
What Republicans don't want Americans to do is think beyond their flimsy rationale and ask what the appropriate response should be. Because their answer is what we've already got. What you see is what you get.