Like a chorus of vuvuzelas, Republican commentary on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is a din that could win the World Culp for incoherent messaging if there were such a trophy.
Obama should do more. Obama should do less. The feds should crack down on BP. The feds should ease off on BP. Fix the problems that caused the blowout in mile-deep water. Keep drilling in mile-deep water.
Joe Barton (right) apologizes to BP, then apologizes for the apology, which was too much even for ultra-partisan John Boehner, the GOP's top banana in the House.
Michele Bachmann calls the $20 billion compensation escrow agreed to by BP a "redistribution-of-wealth" fund, as if requiring restitution for damage was the brainchild of a Marxist cabal.
Sarah Palin demanded that the feds call in the Dutch. To build a dike. Or something. Somewhere. Whatever.
Partisan Democrats are rollicking in the aisles at the Republicans' rhetorical fishtailing, but it doesn't serve the public interest for the elephants to shoot themselves in the foot with such alacrity.
Because the Obama administration's response to the spill and its hesitant approach to recasting the nation's energy economy should be subject to critical scrutiny by a loyal opposition that has its act together.
As a New York Times article disclosed this past week, county commissioners, mayors, and other local officials whose communities are threatened by the black tide are frustrated by an opaque, shamboling federal bureaucracy that supposedly is running the spilll response. Red tape is confusing lines of authority. Plans for protecting marshes and beaches are second-guessed or don't happen at all. Calls for information or help disappear into voice mail vortices.
A Republican opposition that had its act together could usefully call attention to such deficiencies and put heat on the administration to fix them.
A Republican opposition that had a more thoughtful energy policy than "drill, baby, drill" could credibly offer promising ideas for throttling back U.S. oil dependence, a strategic, economic, and environmental liability that will only worsen if business continues as usual.
That would mean putting good governance ahead of election-year politics. In today's world, unfortunately, that might be too much to ask.
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