BACHMANN: The administration, they were hands off. They didn’t do anything. Where were the boats that could have been commandeered by the government to be sent into this region to deal with that oil plume as it was coming up in the water and destroying marine life? Nowhere to be found. Why? The administration was hands off on this policy [Rep. Michele Bachmann, House of Representatives, 2010.05.28, quoted on Think Progress, 2010.06.01].
Wow. You'd think Bachmann had traded in her tea bags to become a card-carrying Chavez socialist.
Or maybe she's been hanging out with one of my favorite leftist intellectuals, former Labor Secretary and current Berkeley prof Robert Reich, who argues we should put BP in receivership. Likening the oil blowout to a nuclear meltdown, Reich says it's madness to leave fixing such an enormous disaster in the hands of a private corporation, which is ultimately answerable not to the public good it is wrecking but strictly to its shareholders. Reich says temporary receivership leaves all the expertise and equipment in place but guarantees that we can get the truth about what's happening and act in the public interest.
Reich backs his argument with analysis from an oil engineer who says (in Reich's words) "BP is doing the minimum to clean up the oil and everything it can to protect its bottom line." The engineer says BP should stop using dispersants (they just add more poison to the ecosystem), restart work on a second relief well, and send every tanker they have to slurp up oil from the gusher rather than continuing their profit-making runs from other stable wells.
Conservatives are realizing they can only take their Grover-Norquist act so far. As Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recognizes, "We need our federal government exactly for this kind of crisis."
When teabaggers and the rational Dr. Reich can agree, maybe it is time to act. Nationalize BP, at least for as long as it takes to plug the well and clean up the Gulf.