Wow. Just wow. Here is Rep. Michelle "Crazy As A Loon" Bachmann on the BP escrow fund to compensate Gulf shore residents for their losses:
The president just called for creating a fund that would be administered by outsiders, which would be more of a redistribution-of-wealth fund. And now it appears like we’ll be looking at one more gateway for more government control, more money to government. If there is a disaster, why is it that government is the one who always seems to benefit after a disaster, and that’s of course what cap-and-trade would be.
Well, yes, I suppose the fund does involve redistribution-of-wealth…. in the same sense that when a guy smashes into my car, he has to pay me for the damages to it. Problem?
And the notion that the government benefits from the fund — well, that's just bizarre. As Bachmann herself acknowledges, the fund will be administered by outsiders, i.e., an independent panel. How does government "benefit"? It doesn't, except for the fact that the fund will prevent the government (and by extension, American taxpayers) from being fiscally responsible for BP’s actions.
UPDATE — she's not alone. This happened 20 minutes ago….
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), ranking member of the House Energy committee, where BP's CEO is testifying today, just said "It is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown."
He also apologized to BP for Obama's address yesterday and the $20 billion escrow.
What is wrong with these people?
Isn't the real "tragedy of the first proportion" that a private corporation can literally break the Gulf of Mexico — ruining wildlife, natural resources, and livelilhoods of those who depend on the Gulf — and have people like Rep. Barton think that's okay?
Demonizing particular individuals can go way too far. And we're going to see a lot of it, just as we have in other calamities where the political breakdowns are different. But this almost literal groveling or knee-defense of BP executives is exactly what Democrats will want to show on a national level that Republicans are on the wrong side of this issue. And I suspect it will have a real effect, if only in strengthening a number of embattled incumbents.
Steve Benen echoes:
I find all of this rather bewildering. Given the nature of the crisis, it stood to reason that politicians would be tripping over each other to appear "tougher" on BP than the next guy. What elected official in his/her right mind would want to side with the oil giant responsible for the worst environmental catastrophe in American history? Apparently, we're getting a clearer picture of the answer.
I don't think Republicans have thought through the politics of this. If they don't want to praise the Obama White House for its success with BP yesterday, fine. But the GOP is approaching the point at which Dems will reasonably be able to argue that Republicans are siding with BP over the country
UPDATE #3 — And now the White House responds…
Statement by the Press Secretary on Congressman Joe Barton's Apology to BP
"What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction. Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a 'tragedy', but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments."