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    Right-Wingers Fuel Racism And Paranoia

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Accountability = No Accountability?

Thomas Lindaman writes:

Liz Birnbaum has left her position as head of the Minerals Management Services, the government entity that is supposed to oversee offshore oil drilling. In the light of recent controversies surrounding the agency, this seems like a good move.

Whether it is...that's another story. It's entirely possible that Birnbaum's departure is a ruse. After all, much of the controversy surrounding the MMS occurred before her tenure, so why would she voluntarily leave without a fight?

Simple. She's the first government scapegoat.

As oil has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, public confidence in the Obama Administration's ability to address the spill has also been leaking. With each passing day, people question whether the Administration is capable of anything more than blaming BP and telling the public not in so many words that the government is incompetent. (Of course, I could have told you that for free...)

Given that situation, and knowing how Obama operates, I'm convinced that he was looking for someone who would be willing to take the fall for the Gulf oil spill, while being far enough removed from the Administration as to not create more blowback than necessary. Birnbaum fits the bill perfectly. It was her agency that was supposed to keep a regulatory eye on offshore oil drilling and failed, and few outside of the policy wonks and power players in Washington, DC, have even heard of her.

Thus, a scapegoat is born.

However, if the Obama Administration and its allies think Birnbaum's departure fixes the problem even temporarily, they're sadly mistaken. The Administration's window of opportunity to address the oil spill in a meaningful way closed a long time ago. Now, all they're doing is trying to put a Band Aid on a gushing chest wound.

Or would that be a gushing oil spill?

So holding the person in charge of MMS accountable is "finding a scapegoat"?

Honestly, what do you WANT? Do you want accountability or not?

Obama did increase regulations and accountability, and the Republicans attacked him for it. Do you have short-term memory issues? This is from just a few months ago, before the spill:

OKLAHOMA CITY - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced in a media conference call Wednesday that the oil and gas industry will face stiffer hurdles, starting this year, when it comes to drilling on public lands in the U.S.

And this could have a detrimental effect on Oklahoma's energy sector, triggering the wrath of Rep. Dan Boren and critical comments from others in the Oklahoma congressional delegation and representatives of the oil and gas industry.

According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Salazar told the media that new Department of the Interior policies will "limit the federal government's practice of fast-tracking some drilling proposals by exempting them from detailed environmental studies."

What should Obama have done differently -- assigned someone to examine the entire MMS department and write a report recommending rebuilding of the department? Survey the employees to find out how close their relationships were to the oil industry?

They did that.

So a pat on the back for Obama.

I'll criticize him, though -- he didn't do photo-ops (not nearly enough) so the average dimplehead with a COMPREHENSION GAP thought nothing was going on.

"Look, blame Obama for something! Anything! Help!" If you like, you can blame him for not cleaning up Republicans' shit fast enough.

And yes, that would be accurate.

Or blame him for not having enough "heck of a job Brownie" photo-ops.

But that's about it. Everything substantial, fact based, rests on the Republicans and the Bush administration.


Sorry, but there aren't always two sides to every issue.