Presidents can’t stop the oil from flowing

Anne Applebaum, who is no conservative, points out that the notion that President Obama should “do something” about the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrates this strange assumption held by both liberals and conservatives that our government should solve problems that are just impossible for it to solve:

In the Gulf of Mexico, plumes of black oil are gushing into the ocean, coating the wings of seabirds, poisoning shellfish, sending tar balls rolling onto white Florida beaches. It is an ecological disaster. It is a economic nightmare. And there is absolutely nothing that the American president can do about it. Nothing at all.

Here is the hard truth: The U.S. government does not possess a secret method for capping oil leaks. Even the combined wisdom of the Obama inner circle — all of those Harvard economists, silver-tongued spin doctors and hardened politicos — cannot prevent tens of thousands of tons of oil from pouring out of hole a mile beneath the ocean surface. Other than proximity to the Louisiana coast, this catastrophe has nothing in common with Hurricane Katrina: That was an unstoppable natural disaster that turned into a human tragedy because of an inadequate government response. This is just an unstoppable disaster, period. It will be a human tragedy precisely because no government response is possible.

Which leads me to a mystery: Given that he cannot stop the oil from flowing, why has President Obama decided to act as if he can? And given that he is totally reliant on BP to save the fish and the birds of the Gulf of Mexico, why has he started pretending otherwise — why is he, in his own words, looking for someone’s “ass to kick”? I suspect that there are many reasons for this recent change of rhetorical tone and that some of them are ideological. This is, of course, a president who believes that government can and should be able to solve all problems. Obama has never sounded particularly enthusiastic about the private sector either, and some of his congressional colleagues — the ones talking of retroactively raising the cap on BP’s liability, for example, or forcing BP to pay for the lost wages of other oil companies’ workers — are downright hostile.

A large part of the explanation, however, is cultural: Obama has been forced to take a commanding role in a crisis he cannot control because we expect him to — both “we” the media and “we” the bipartisan public. Whatever their politics, most Americans in recent years have come to expect a strong response — an invasion, massive legislation — from their politicians in times of crisis, and this one is no exception. We want the president to lead — somewhere, anywhere. A few days ago, the New York Times declared that “he and his administration need to do a lot more to show they are on top of this mess” and should have started “putting the heat” on BP much earlier — as if that would have made the remotest bit of difference.

via Anne Applebaum – The oil spill isn’t Obama’s Katrina.

This is not to say that the government shouldn’t police such things and try to keep them from happening.  But the point is that to talk about limited government goes beyond thinking government should be limited.  It is also to recognize that government has intrinsic limitations, that there are things that it just cannot do.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • NavyMom

    The reason people expect Obama to fix this problem is because he spent two years campaigning and making such ludicrous promises. He’s the guy who said that once he was inaugurated the seas would stop rising and the whole planet would be ruled by peace and harmony. What gripes me is how many people believed him.

  • NavyMom

    The reason people expect Obama to fix this problem is because he spent two years campaigning and making such ludicrous promises. He’s the guy who said that once he was inaugurated the seas would stop rising and the whole planet would be ruled by peace and harmony. What gripes me is how many people believed him.

  • Susan

    I think the problem is how slow and laissez-faire Obama has been. He turned down 17 nations who immediately offered to help contain the oil and mitigate the damage while BP sought to cap the oil well. The Dutch offered four skimmers that were capable of skimming off 20,000 tons of oil per day. http://www.examiner.com/x-325-Global-Warming-Examiner~y2010m6d12-US-reconsiders-Dutch-offer-to-supply-oil-skimmers

    He refused to act on Governor Jindal’s request for emergency dredging and berm-building to protect his state’s fragile coastal wetlands and barrier islands from the spreading oil slick.
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Obama_s-2-percent-solution-for-the-Louisiana-oil-spill-crisis-95266834.html#ixzz0r0k682UB

    No, I don’t think the problem is expecting Obama to be a demi-god. It’s about his utter lack of ability to address a national crisis. And, no, I did think it is a question of limited government. Nation disasters are what we expect to fall within the realm of limited government. We expect our government to be able to make an “all hands on deck” call in times of national disaster. Obama utterly failed to make this call.

  • Susan

    I think the problem is how slow and laissez-faire Obama has been. He turned down 17 nations who immediately offered to help contain the oil and mitigate the damage while BP sought to cap the oil well. The Dutch offered four skimmers that were capable of skimming off 20,000 tons of oil per day. http://www.examiner.com/x-325-Global-Warming-Examiner~y2010m6d12-US-reconsiders-Dutch-offer-to-supply-oil-skimmers

    He refused to act on Governor Jindal’s request for emergency dredging and berm-building to protect his state’s fragile coastal wetlands and barrier islands from the spreading oil slick.
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Obama_s-2-percent-solution-for-the-Louisiana-oil-spill-crisis-95266834.html#ixzz0r0k682UB

    No, I don’t think the problem is expecting Obama to be a demi-god. It’s about his utter lack of ability to address a national crisis. And, no, I did think it is a question of limited government. Nation disasters are what we expect to fall within the realm of limited government. We expect our government to be able to make an “all hands on deck” call in times of national disaster. Obama utterly failed to make this call.

  • Dan Kempin

    It is almost as though the government is being put in the place of God . . .

  • Dan Kempin

    It is almost as though the government is being put in the place of God . . .

  • Susan

    If expecting government to at least attempt to utilize all available resources to mitigate a national disaster is putting government in the place of God… then why have ambulances, fire departments, army reserves, the red cross, and other such organizations that are trained to respond to disasters?

  • Susan

    If expecting government to at least attempt to utilize all available resources to mitigate a national disaster is putting government in the place of God… then why have ambulances, fire departments, army reserves, the red cross, and other such organizations that are trained to respond to disasters?

  • Cincinnatus

    On the one hand, I agree emphatically with Anne: just as the President and the Federal Government generally lack the capacity and the resources to repair immediately, much less prevent, the damage created by a hurricane, so also it lacks the capacity miraculously to undo what has been done, so to speak, in the Gulf of Mexico. The contemporary American public quite unfortunately demands an omnicompetent (and thus omnipotent and omnipresent) government, though we musn’t forget that Obama has repeatedly relished such expectations in response to other crises both real (the economic crisis) and imagined (the healthcare “crisis”).

    But Anne misses the mark. Most people aren’t irrationally clamoring for a deified president to employ his miraculous powers to cleanse the gulf by yesterday. Few believe that the government has either the equipment, the knowledge, or the ability to manage the operation better than BP itself. Rather, what most people are rightly upset about is that this spill hasn’t, until quite recently, even been regarded as a national emergency worthy of substantial presidential attention–which, obviously, it most certainly is. In fact, as Susan points out, the administration has often functioned more as a particularly able obstacle in cleanup efforts rather than an agency desperate to save our coasts and our livelihoods. Even in his address last night, all we have is a detached person reading a scripted note with absolutely no concrete plans for saving the Gulf, for saving the country–which is what people rightly desire to hear at this moment–other than something vaguely populist about seeking vengeance against BP. This is what President’s are for, and Obama has lost a golden opportunity to elevate his presidential image and, much more tragically, to minimize a national disaster in real terms. As Susan, again, corroborates, dispersants, surface fires, berms, donated equipment, dredging, skimmers–all these essential remedies have been summarily discarded; meanwhile, BP is left with a solitary tanker (now on fire and non-functional) collecting less than half the oil from a continued spill.

    In other words, the American public isn’t irrationally angry because the President isn’t “DOING SOMETHING” in a situation in which there really isn’t anything he could do. Rather, quite the opposite: the public is understandably upset because there are things which the administration could be doing and assisting, but the President and his men seem stubbornly insistent upon remaining detached (which is of course a political judgment rather than a judgment in the national interest) and unhelpful, and indeed counterproductive.

    Sorry, Anne. You were only pretending to sound conservative.

  • Cincinnatus

    On the one hand, I agree emphatically with Anne: just as the President and the Federal Government generally lack the capacity and the resources to repair immediately, much less prevent, the damage created by a hurricane, so also it lacks the capacity miraculously to undo what has been done, so to speak, in the Gulf of Mexico. The contemporary American public quite unfortunately demands an omnicompetent (and thus omnipotent and omnipresent) government, though we musn’t forget that Obama has repeatedly relished such expectations in response to other crises both real (the economic crisis) and imagined (the healthcare “crisis”).

    But Anne misses the mark. Most people aren’t irrationally clamoring for a deified president to employ his miraculous powers to cleanse the gulf by yesterday. Few believe that the government has either the equipment, the knowledge, or the ability to manage the operation better than BP itself. Rather, what most people are rightly upset about is that this spill hasn’t, until quite recently, even been regarded as a national emergency worthy of substantial presidential attention–which, obviously, it most certainly is. In fact, as Susan points out, the administration has often functioned more as a particularly able obstacle in cleanup efforts rather than an agency desperate to save our coasts and our livelihoods. Even in his address last night, all we have is a detached person reading a scripted note with absolutely no concrete plans for saving the Gulf, for saving the country–which is what people rightly desire to hear at this moment–other than something vaguely populist about seeking vengeance against BP. This is what President’s are for, and Obama has lost a golden opportunity to elevate his presidential image and, much more tragically, to minimize a national disaster in real terms. As Susan, again, corroborates, dispersants, surface fires, berms, donated equipment, dredging, skimmers–all these essential remedies have been summarily discarded; meanwhile, BP is left with a solitary tanker (now on fire and non-functional) collecting less than half the oil from a continued spill.

    In other words, the American public isn’t irrationally angry because the President isn’t “DOING SOMETHING” in a situation in which there really isn’t anything he could do. Rather, quite the opposite: the public is understandably upset because there are things which the administration could be doing and assisting, but the President and his men seem stubbornly insistent upon remaining detached (which is of course a political judgment rather than a judgment in the national interest) and unhelpful, and indeed counterproductive.

    Sorry, Anne. You were only pretending to sound conservative.

  • Carl Vehse

    In his column, “This job, too, is beneath Obama,” Mark Steyn notes the following about “a man who speaks fewer languages than the famously moronic George W Bush”:

    [0bamassiah is] the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he’s condescending to the job – that it’s really too small for him, and he’s just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.

    And so the Gulf spill was an irritation, but he dutifully went through the motions of flying in to be photographed looking presidentially concerned. As he wearily explained to Matt Lauer, “I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking…” Good grief, what more do you people want?

  • Carl Vehse

    In his column, “This job, too, is beneath Obama,” Mark Steyn notes the following about “a man who speaks fewer languages than the famously moronic George W Bush”:

    [0bamassiah is] the first president to give off the pronounced whiff that he’s condescending to the job – that it’s really too small for him, and he’s just killing time until something more commensurate with his stature comes along.

    And so the Gulf spill was an irritation, but he dutifully went through the motions of flying in to be photographed looking presidentially concerned. As he wearily explained to Matt Lauer, “I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking…” Good grief, what more do you people want?

  • Louis

    Actually, i tend to agree with Anee. The greatest commonality between the left and right wings (libertarians excluded), is that they view the state as the Messiah. They just differ on what they want that Messiah to save them from. Hence my personal disdain for the left/right or conservative/liberal distinctions (they don’t mean anything anymore, except as an epithet to throw at the other side). Now, I’m no libertarian either, or at least, only partially. But that’s another story…

  • Louis

    Actually, i tend to agree with Anee. The greatest commonality between the left and right wings (libertarians excluded), is that they view the state as the Messiah. They just differ on what they want that Messiah to save them from. Hence my personal disdain for the left/right or conservative/liberal distinctions (they don’t mean anything anymore, except as an epithet to throw at the other side). Now, I’m no libertarian either, or at least, only partially. But that’s another story…

  • http://www.scribe-nootherfoundation.blogspot.com Scribe

    “…the point is that to talk about limited government goes beyond thinking government should be limited. It is also to recognize that government has intrinsic limitations, that there are things that it just cannot do.”

    I totally agree. The vast majority of Americans view the federal government as the key to every single problem that rears its ugly head. And it’s just ridiculous.

  • http://www.scribe-nootherfoundation.blogspot.com Scribe

    “…the point is that to talk about limited government goes beyond thinking government should be limited. It is also to recognize that government has intrinsic limitations, that there are things that it just cannot do.”

    I totally agree. The vast majority of Americans view the federal government as the key to every single problem that rears its ugly head. And it’s just ridiculous.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m going to ignore the oil spill aspect of this discussion, but I do agree with Ms. Applebaum that “Obama has been forced to take a commanding role in a crisis he cannot control because we expect him to — both ‘we’ the media and ‘we’ the bipartisan public.” But I disagree with her subsequent assertion that Americans “expect a strong response … from their politicians in times of crisis”. Or rather, I think that, increasingly, the only politician we expect to respond is the President.

    You can blame solely Obama for this if you want, but to do so is to not only blatantly ignore the way Bush pressed to increase the Executive’s power, but moreover to ignore the demand side of this equation: Obama could not have been elected by “making such ludicrous promises” if the people had not wanted to hear them. The people want a strong President. And, increasingly, they don’t know who their other elected officials are.

    I wonder if this is due, in part, to the nature of national media. The President is the only nationally elected politician, really, and as such is the only figure the media can cover that everyone cares about. Oh sure, we can talk about “Congress”, but in reality, that breaks down to 435 people, most of whom the viewing audience doesn’t care about, and that is too complicated for the national media to pay attention to on any given day. Of course, the local media has been trending national, anyhow, with my local paper (which also wants to be a state paper) running articles predominantly pulled from national news wires, since they have less and less local staff every year. And I can’t remember the last time the nightly news actually covered city hall or the goings-on at the state legislature.

    You can even see the effect here. Cranach is, essentially, a national blog. So we mainly talk about things at the national, federal level — mostly, the President.

    So, in short, we get what we want. And I blame nationwide media and media conglomeration for driving a lot of what we hear about and, consequently, want.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m going to ignore the oil spill aspect of this discussion, but I do agree with Ms. Applebaum that “Obama has been forced to take a commanding role in a crisis he cannot control because we expect him to — both ‘we’ the media and ‘we’ the bipartisan public.” But I disagree with her subsequent assertion that Americans “expect a strong response … from their politicians in times of crisis”. Or rather, I think that, increasingly, the only politician we expect to respond is the President.

    You can blame solely Obama for this if you want, but to do so is to not only blatantly ignore the way Bush pressed to increase the Executive’s power, but moreover to ignore the demand side of this equation: Obama could not have been elected by “making such ludicrous promises” if the people had not wanted to hear them. The people want a strong President. And, increasingly, they don’t know who their other elected officials are.

    I wonder if this is due, in part, to the nature of national media. The President is the only nationally elected politician, really, and as such is the only figure the media can cover that everyone cares about. Oh sure, we can talk about “Congress”, but in reality, that breaks down to 435 people, most of whom the viewing audience doesn’t care about, and that is too complicated for the national media to pay attention to on any given day. Of course, the local media has been trending national, anyhow, with my local paper (which also wants to be a state paper) running articles predominantly pulled from national news wires, since they have less and less local staff every year. And I can’t remember the last time the nightly news actually covered city hall or the goings-on at the state legislature.

    You can even see the effect here. Cranach is, essentially, a national blog. So we mainly talk about things at the national, federal level — mostly, the President.

    So, in short, we get what we want. And I blame nationwide media and media conglomeration for driving a lot of what we hear about and, consequently, want.

  • Peter Leavitt

    So, our sainted hope and change president gives a remarkably weak speech from the oval office that has incurred the wrath even of the MSNBC crowd. Rachel Maddow of all people averred I think we could have all taken a little bit more adult talk from the President.At this point the emperor appears to have no clothes.

    Even Todd has clipped his Obama wings- let us not talk of the oil spill- and is reduced to another anti-Bush jeremiad.

    Obama who scathingly criticized and whined about Bush on his handling of Katrina and promised that We are the ones we are waiting for. We are the change that we seek. is regarded by most folks in the Gulf including Carville as a bumbling fool.

  • Peter Leavitt

    So, our sainted hope and change president gives a remarkably weak speech from the oval office that has incurred the wrath even of the MSNBC crowd. Rachel Maddow of all people averred I think we could have all taken a little bit more adult talk from the President.At this point the emperor appears to have no clothes.

    Even Todd has clipped his Obama wings- let us not talk of the oil spill- and is reduced to another anti-Bush jeremiad.

    Obama who scathingly criticized and whined about Bush on his handling of Katrina and promised that We are the ones we are waiting for. We are the change that we seek. is regarded by most folks in the Gulf including Carville as a bumbling fool.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@10), don’t even try to pretend you care what Rachel Maddow or James Carville think. I know you enjoy trotting out quotes from whomever may agree with you, but once again, you’ve quoted people that aren’t remotely authoritative or reasonable — and if I attempted to wield a Maddow quote, you’d agree. But I guess it serves your end, so whatever, right?

    And you’ve done some ridiculous distorting to attempt to make my comment (@9) say anything like “let us not talk of the oil spill”. It doesn’t take a genius to note that all of one comment earlier, what I actually said was, “I’m going to ignore the oil spill aspect of this discussion” and instead focused on American attitudes towards the President vis-a-vis the media. I don’t know much about what Obama could or could not have done with respect to this leak, as Susan seems to (@2). You offer no insights on the matter yourself, unless the little Obama cliches that you enjoy tossing out count.

    But then, you also managed somehow to convince yourself that my phrase “to do so is to not only blatantly ignore the way Bush pressed to increase the Executive’s power” in some reasonable, serious manner actually constitutes “another anti-Bush jeremiad”. A jeremiad! I mean, do you even know what that word means? Here’s a hint from the folks at Merriam-Webster: it typically involves being “prolonged”. Not only was my comment only tangentially about Bush, the Bush phrase (not even a sentence!) was short. And, what’s more, I made an observation about Executive-Branch power that legitimate conservatives — not just those who play at it — actually agree with.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@10), don’t even try to pretend you care what Rachel Maddow or James Carville think. I know you enjoy trotting out quotes from whomever may agree with you, but once again, you’ve quoted people that aren’t remotely authoritative or reasonable — and if I attempted to wield a Maddow quote, you’d agree. But I guess it serves your end, so whatever, right?

    And you’ve done some ridiculous distorting to attempt to make my comment (@9) say anything like “let us not talk of the oil spill”. It doesn’t take a genius to note that all of one comment earlier, what I actually said was, “I’m going to ignore the oil spill aspect of this discussion” and instead focused on American attitudes towards the President vis-a-vis the media. I don’t know much about what Obama could or could not have done with respect to this leak, as Susan seems to (@2). You offer no insights on the matter yourself, unless the little Obama cliches that you enjoy tossing out count.

    But then, you also managed somehow to convince yourself that my phrase “to do so is to not only blatantly ignore the way Bush pressed to increase the Executive’s power” in some reasonable, serious manner actually constitutes “another anti-Bush jeremiad”. A jeremiad! I mean, do you even know what that word means? Here’s a hint from the folks at Merriam-Webster: it typically involves being “prolonged”. Not only was my comment only tangentially about Bush, the Bush phrase (not even a sentence!) was short. And, what’s more, I made an observation about Executive-Branch power that legitimate conservatives — not just those who play at it — actually agree with.

  • Susan

    @Todd: ” I don’t know much about what Obama could or could not have done with respect to this leak, as Susan seems to (@2).”

    It is not difficult to research the subject and become more knowledgeable. There is overwhelming evidence of gross negligence from the White House on simple practical things that could be done to help mitigate the damage while a solution to capping the oil well is sought. The two links I provided are only the tip of the iceberg of this gross negligence. Yet, evidence to support one’s conclusions appears to be easily dismissed rather than ignorant speculations.

    It is strange that so many people want to turn the oil spill into a left/right issue instead of addressing it for what it is: an industrial accident. It is especially odd here since this is a Lutheran site that is supposed to understand the concepts of vocation and caring for our neighbor. Our neighbors need us to understand the problems and where obstacles need to be removed so we can effectively help them.

    The out-of-hand dismissal of examples of the far-left being flummoxed by Obama’s actions misses the point. It is legitimate to point out that even the far-left is flummoxed by Obama’s obvious negligence and incompetence. This should help more people realize that this not left/right politics but a human issue and one where we need to become knowledgeable so we can support our neighbors in their desperate bid to to stop the ongoing devastation in the gulf and the willful negligence from the White House. We need to help them receive every available resource to help mitigate the damage. To expect government to do it’s job in response to an industrial accident is not putting it in the place of God. It is the responsibility of citizens in a democratic nation to address gross failures in government. This is only one way, among many, that we can express love for our neighbor and seek that their needs are not drowned out by inane political posturing.

  • Susan

    @Todd: ” I don’t know much about what Obama could or could not have done with respect to this leak, as Susan seems to (@2).”

    It is not difficult to research the subject and become more knowledgeable. There is overwhelming evidence of gross negligence from the White House on simple practical things that could be done to help mitigate the damage while a solution to capping the oil well is sought. The two links I provided are only the tip of the iceberg of this gross negligence. Yet, evidence to support one’s conclusions appears to be easily dismissed rather than ignorant speculations.

    It is strange that so many people want to turn the oil spill into a left/right issue instead of addressing it for what it is: an industrial accident. It is especially odd here since this is a Lutheran site that is supposed to understand the concepts of vocation and caring for our neighbor. Our neighbors need us to understand the problems and where obstacles need to be removed so we can effectively help them.

    The out-of-hand dismissal of examples of the far-left being flummoxed by Obama’s actions misses the point. It is legitimate to point out that even the far-left is flummoxed by Obama’s obvious negligence and incompetence. This should help more people realize that this not left/right politics but a human issue and one where we need to become knowledgeable so we can support our neighbors in their desperate bid to to stop the ongoing devastation in the gulf and the willful negligence from the White House. We need to help them receive every available resource to help mitigate the damage. To expect government to do it’s job in response to an industrial accident is not putting it in the place of God. It is the responsibility of citizens in a democratic nation to address gross failures in government. This is only one way, among many, that we can express love for our neighbor and seek that their needs are not drowned out by inane political posturing.

  • Peter Leavitt

    True Todd, I usually care little about the excrescences of Maddow and Carville, though it is at least amusing when these formerly ardent Obama fans turn on St. Obama.

    Given your vocabulary lecture, I shall gladly amend the above to …yet another item in his obsessive anti-Bush Jeremiad.

  • Peter Leavitt

    True Todd, I usually care little about the excrescences of Maddow and Carville, though it is at least amusing when these formerly ardent Obama fans turn on St. Obama.

    Given your vocabulary lecture, I shall gladly amend the above to …yet another item in his obsessive anti-Bush Jeremiad.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Maddow is a “formerly ardent Obama fan”, Peter (@13)? Criminy, do you insist on airing your ignorance in public? I mean, perhaps in your world, everyone can truly be sorted into “liberal” and “conservative” (i.e. “bad” and “good”), and since Maddow is liberal, she must therefore worship Obama just like I and all liberals do or whatever, but even some basic Google searches turn up Maddow criticizing Obama with some frequency[1][2][3][4] — typically for not living up to her liberal expectations. I mean, how much do you consider your words before hit the “Submit” button?

    And, again, if you can only see my minor remark on Bush’s attitude towards Executive power as part of a jeremiad, then you truly are a fraudulent conservative.

    [1]thenewamerican.com/usnews/election/1150
    [2]newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2008/06/05/obama-liberal-dont-make-maddow-laugh
    [3]mediaite.com/tv/rachel-maddow-icbms/
    [4]nytimes.com/2009/11/16/business/media/16msnbc.html

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Maddow is a “formerly ardent Obama fan”, Peter (@13)? Criminy, do you insist on airing your ignorance in public? I mean, perhaps in your world, everyone can truly be sorted into “liberal” and “conservative” (i.e. “bad” and “good”), and since Maddow is liberal, she must therefore worship Obama just like I and all liberals do or whatever, but even some basic Google searches turn up Maddow criticizing Obama with some frequency[1][2][3][4] — typically for not living up to her liberal expectations. I mean, how much do you consider your words before hit the “Submit” button?

    And, again, if you can only see my minor remark on Bush’s attitude towards Executive power as part of a jeremiad, then you truly are a fraudulent conservative.

    [1]thenewamerican.com/usnews/election/1150
    [2]newsbusters.org/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2008/06/05/obama-liberal-dont-make-maddow-laugh
    [3]mediaite.com/tv/rachel-maddow-icbms/
    [4]nytimes.com/2009/11/16/business/media/16msnbc.html

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Susan (@12) said, “It is not difficult to research the subject and become more knowledgeable.” True. This is also true of any subject, of course — the laws of thermodynamics or how credit-card transactions work online — and there are no doubt quite a few subjects on which you yourself are ignorant. We each only have so much time to devote to gathering knowledge. Are you taking me to task for admitting my ignorance on the topic and thereby declining to argue from that ignorance? I know some here have no problem arguing in such a manner, but I generally try not to. I was merely responding to a mischaracterization of my remarks.

    And while I agree we need to help our neighbor, I’m sorry, but my reading more about the subject isn’t going to do that. I could read for months on oil spill mitigation tactics and their application (or lack thereof) in this situation and it still wouldn’t affect anything, because I’d still be sitting at my computer far away from the spill.

    The only thing such knowledge could possibly do is to inform my voting habits in 2010 and 2012. But this BP oil spill isn’t likely to figure much into my calculations on how to vote, in part for the reasons that Veith and others make here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Susan (@12) said, “It is not difficult to research the subject and become more knowledgeable.” True. This is also true of any subject, of course — the laws of thermodynamics or how credit-card transactions work online — and there are no doubt quite a few subjects on which you yourself are ignorant. We each only have so much time to devote to gathering knowledge. Are you taking me to task for admitting my ignorance on the topic and thereby declining to argue from that ignorance? I know some here have no problem arguing in such a manner, but I generally try not to. I was merely responding to a mischaracterization of my remarks.

    And while I agree we need to help our neighbor, I’m sorry, but my reading more about the subject isn’t going to do that. I could read for months on oil spill mitigation tactics and their application (or lack thereof) in this situation and it still wouldn’t affect anything, because I’d still be sitting at my computer far away from the spill.

    The only thing such knowledge could possibly do is to inform my voting habits in 2010 and 2012. But this BP oil spill isn’t likely to figure much into my calculations on how to vote, in part for the reasons that Veith and others make here.

  • Cincinnatus

    Again, I agree with the general thrust of this article.

    But my quibble is founded upon stories like this one:

    http://abcnews.go.com/WN/bp-oil-spill-gov-bobby-jindals-wishes-crude/story?id=10946379

    Cleanup barges stopped because the Coast Guard doesn’t know whether they have lifejackets?

  • Cincinnatus

    Again, I agree with the general thrust of this article.

    But my quibble is founded upon stories like this one:

    http://abcnews.go.com/WN/bp-oil-spill-gov-bobby-jindals-wishes-crude/story?id=10946379

    Cleanup barges stopped because the Coast Guard doesn’t know whether they have lifejackets?


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