Broward News

Oil Spill an Occasion for a Political Game of Twister

Sen. George LeMieux loves to invoke the future of his children among his reasons for wanting to slow federal spending and shrink government. But if that really is what drives his political actions, doesn't the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico pose a far greater risk to his children's future? And so, shouldn't LeMieux take as strong a stance on opposing oil exploration on Florida's coast as he does on federal spending? 

Of course not. Listen to how LeMieux dissembled last week on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Did you hear the part at the 35-second mark? In responding to a question of whether too many industry insiders were allowed to influence regulations on drilling, LeMieux -- a Republican who campaigned for George W. Bush -- blames this Democrat president for failing to properly root out the insider culture and regulatory failures that were created -- or at least allowed to exist -- during Bush's eight years in the Oval Office. 

That's like pouring gasoline in your house, lighting a match, and then blaming the blaze on the firefighters. 

But maybe it's expecting too much for LeMieux to reverse his position on drilling. After all, he's a small-government guy and can't stand to have Uncle Sam interfering while entrepreneurs are doing what they know to be best.

He can at least be ideologically consistent on this score, right?

Of course not. Here's what LeMieux told the Palm Beach Post:

"What we've seen over the past 42 days is, to me, a real dereliction of duty by this administration," LeMieux said in an interview Thursday night. "The president comes down twice for photo ops and then goes back home to go golfing in Chicago. 

"I think back to when Jeb Bush was governor. He was on the ground working the problems of those nine hurricanes, ten hurricanes that we had in '04 and '05. And I want to see that kind of leadership in my president. I don't want him outsourcing it or delegating it to BP or even delegating it to his cabinet members. 

 "We elected him. He's a very bright guy. He needs to show leadership. He needs to be on the ground pushing for solutions like Jeb Bush was during all those hurricanes."

Yes, and when Obama arrives to Louisiana, he can say, "I'm from the government; I'm here to help." If that sounds familiar it's because that most cherished Republican, Ronald Reagan, ridiculed the phrase, as any true Republican would.

Has LeMieux ever talked to people in the midst of crisis management? The last thing those people need is a politician to have a news conference. Actually, no. Worse than that is a politician who will "be on the ground pushing" when the people dealing with the crisis know what to do. 

The oil spill happened in large part because government wasn't in the way of big business doing profitable, reckless things. But now that the spill has occurred, containing it is priority one, and government has to get out of the way.

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Thomas Francis