Thursday, November 4, 2010

What If the BP Oil Well Had Still Been Gushing On Election Day?

Several million words probably have been written or spoken about the results of Tuesday's midterm elections. My favorite piece, so far, comes from Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, who opines that the Republican tsunami was driven mainly by a sudden realization from America's white masses: "Dear God, we've got a black man in the White House!"

I suspect Robinson is awfully close to the truth, so I couldn't help but wonder, "Given that Barack Obama, indeed, is black, is there anything Democrats could have done differently that might have altered the outcome?"

Regular readers know I think Obama made a huge mistake with his "look forward, not backwards" approach to the apparent crimes of the George W. Bush administration. Be that as it may (as lawyers like to say), here is maybe the No. 1 political mistake Democrats made: They allowed the BP oil well to be capped before the election.

Would the election have been different if the BP well had still been spewing in the Gulf of Mexico when voters went to the polls on Tuesday? Given the somewhat anecdotal evidence we've seen in Alabama, I think the outcome would have been radically different. Heck, the Democrats might have even gained seats in both the House and Senate and picked up any number of governorships.

Why do I say this? Well, our Legal Schnauzer Philosophy Department has developed a new political theory. We call it the "White People Will Automatically Vote Republican Unless Something So Godawful Happens That It Shakes Them Out of Their Stupor And Causes Them To Think Democrats Aren't a Bunch Of Commies After All" Theory.

Our theory is based on the notion that the white electorate has become like a computer with default settings. Their default setting for voting is set on "GOP"--unless something shakes them out of their comfort zone and causes them to say, "Dammit, now I've got to go into preferences and figure out how to change the default setting so that I can possibly vote for that other party . . . what's it called again?"

We think the Gulf oil disaster might have been such an event--if BP and the government hadn't figured out how to cap it a few weeks back.

Consider what happened here in Alabama while BP crude was washing up on our pristine shores. We are one of the most grotesquely right-wing states in the country, but even here, people seemed to start thinking, "You know, maybe it's not such a good idea to elect Republicans who turn around and let oil companies do pretty much as they please in the Gulf of Mexico, with precious little oversight."

While the oil was spewing, two political events took place in Alabama that indicated people were fed up with corporatist candidates who seemed likely to cozy up to Big Oil. In the Democratic primary for governor, Ron Sparks knocked off corporate suck-up Artur Davis in a landslide. And in the Republican primary, Dr. Robert Bentley stunned Bradley Byrne, who had been the hand-picked successor to GOP governor Bob Riley and the favorite of moneyed interests across the state.

Bentley beat Byrne in a runoff on July 13. Two days later, BP announced that the well had been capped. We still don't have a full grasp on the environmental and economic harm that has been caused by the gusher. But it's now roughly 2 1/2 months since the well was capped. And based on Tuesday's election, it's as if voters forgot the disaster ever happened.

BP once again is making profits, and the public no longer seems to care about the issues that caused the well to blow in the first place. There's no telling how close we came to having the Gulf of Mexico ruined beyond repair--and there is no question that lax regulation promoted by the Bush administration helped allow it to happen. But the well was capped, and in a classic case of "out of sight, out of mind," voters decided to jump on the GOP train once again.

The whole episode reminds us of the fundamental differences between Republican and Democrats. If Republicans had been in charge and seen a political advantage in allowing the BP gusher to continue, there is no way in hell the well would have been capped until after Nov. 2. An environmental disaster like we've never seen before? The ruination of an irreplaceable natural resource? Who cares? There is political hay to be made--and we're going to make it.

A Democrat, however, was in the White House. And like most Democrats, Barack Obama has a functioning conscience. And like many Democrats, Obama can be politically tone deaf. So what did he do? He did the right thing, dammit! He allowed the well to be plugged, and now we've got at least two years of Republican-fueled dysfunction to look forward to.

Obama could have come up with some reason for delaying the capping of the well. A few million fish would have died, several hundred thousand people probably would have gotten sick, and God only knows what other dreadful events would have happened. But Obama, rightfully, could have laid it all at the feet of Republicans--and sat back and relaxed while Democrats romped on Nov. 2.

With the election safely tucked away, the well could have magically been capped on, say, Nov. 12. It could have been the kind of autumn surprise that George H.W. Bush helped pull on Jimmy Carter back in 1980. Obama and Democrats could have reaped huge political dividends.

Speaking of Jimmy Carter, he probably is the most ethical, moral, and genuinely religious president in our nation's history. Now Obama is following him on the same moral high ground--the kind that leads to political defeat.

When will Democrats ever learn? You don't get anywhere in this country by doing the right thing!


finebammr said...

with this post you have once again comfirmed my thought that you are a raving lunatic and the only reason i come back to read your tinfoil hat claptrap is it's a wonderful barometer on the thought processes of the media matters left.

you're advocating the obama administration should have allowed the well to gush for political gain.

is the hale-bopp comet coming back

one can only hope.

legalschnauzer said...


Have you ever heard of satire?

Apparently not.

finebammer said...

ohh, so now it's "satire".

well, let me tell you legal, don't quit your day........wait, you don't have a day job!

regardless, i watch jon stewart, and buddy, you're no jon stewart.

but you're still an idiot.

"You know, maybe it's not such a good idea to elect Republicans who turn around and let oil companies do pretty much as they please in the Gulf of Mexico, with precious little oversight."

oversight?? did you say oversight?

in sept of '08, the revelations of officials in the mms literally sleeping with oil company execs came to light.

obama ran on cleaning up the mess. funny things happened before the spill.

obama took b p campaign money.

rahm emanuel, obama's chosen chief of staff shared a condo with a b p lobbyist for 5 years.

shephen chu, obama's secretary of energy worked closely with b p on "alternative" energy issues an can be seen in a documentary claiming b p and he were going to "save the world".

let me make this easy for you, legal: OBAMA WAS IN BED WITH BIG OIL.

obama's secretary of the interior, ken salazar appointed elizabeth birnbaum to "clean up the mess" the bush administration made of the mms in july '09.

but knowing what we now know about this administration and it's ties to b p, it should come as a shock to no one that this spill happened on obama's watch.

what's worse legal, that obama's mms didn't know what was going on with that rig OR that they knew and allowed it to happen anyway???

hell, birnbaum gave THAT RIG A SAFETY AWARD!

your contention that letting the rig spew until nov. is idiocy at it's worst and insensitive at it's best.

obama took it in the backside tuesday because his base has abandoned him partly as a result of that spill and those on the coast have suffered immensely as a result of the either incompetence or criminality in handling b p.

and i know what i'm talking about. i have a close family member who between the tanking of the economy (who the democrats are as responsible for as any republican) and that spill, lost his business.

talk about bullying.

but we'll never find out what happened due to your slobbering media covering for the idiot in chief.

and take it from me, buddy, none of this is a fucking joke.

"with this post you have once again comfirmed my thought that you are a raving lunatic and the only reason i come back to read your tinfoil hat claptrap is it's a wonderful barometer on the thought processes of the media matters left."

i stand by what i said.

mark in starkville said...

Great satirical analysis, and as is the case with good satire, a bit of truth as the basis. I laughed out loud at the new Philosophical theory. I agree that if Obama had come in with his big boy pants on and had went after the war criminals and the corporations, Dems probably would have won in a landslide.
But, be that as it may, we are where we are. I don't know if you have seen this site, but it seems to be the only one that is really keeping up with the ongoing oil disaster:

Keep up the good work, LS.

bravo said...

I may be in love with finebammer. Thank you for coming closer to the truth than anyone here, and closest to the most accurate expression of what a paranoid delusional nutcase LS is. But, what entertainment, his ill-informed, pathetically backed-up conspiracy theories (disguised as journalism ...what a joke)! It would hurt too much for him to confront head-on (as he is likely to do one day, lying on a therapist's couch) that HE alone is the common element to all of his misfortunes, that HE alone is the cause of his failures and firing, and that nobody knows who he is, much less gives a crap or is out to get him.

Bravo, finebammer!!!

Robby Scott Hill said...

Roger: Don't you just love how all these conservative folks love to post under these anonymous psuedonyms? I get the feeling they are government employees or they work for government contractors. The fear of losing the health insurance they don't want us to have or the potential loss of their regular paycheck from the government funded job they work whilst they preach against big government scares them into posting under an anonymous name.

What the conservative viewpoint boils down to is:

1) We don't want Democrats expanding government payrolls because our people already have government jobs or their businesses get paid via government contracts.

2) So, we prefer that all future government spending go toward our own pay raises & the renewal of our government contracts, especially those "sole source" ones which don't require us to compete in that "free marketplace" we make everyone else compete in.

3) If government payrolls are expanded, all those Blacks & Poor Whites will come to work for government & get lazy. That will further reduce our wage slave labor pool & force us to bus in even more of those Mexicans who do terrible un-American things when they aren't working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week at our businesses. Those Mexicans have the nerve to make little brown babies who tend to vote for Democrats when they grow up. So, we need to strip them of their citizenship before they can do that.

4) Health care reform must be rolled back because all those poor people now have the same access to hospitals that we have enjoyed for years.

5) Roger Alan Shuler & his liberal friends put dangerous ideas in people's heads. We have to take advantage of every opportunity to ridicule them, punish them & marginalize them so the rank & file citizen will be very afraid to entertain their un-American thoughts, much less make friends with them.

6) We achieve #5 by sending our smartest children to law school to become debt collectors, prosecutors & judges. We control the justice system & we make sure the deck is stacked against anyone who wants to make a move on our money supply.

Robby Scott Hill's viewpoint is: the accumulation of wealth drives the six conservative viewpoints & the best way to fight them until such time as we can ABOLISH MONEY is to hit them in their pocketbooks with lawsuits & taxation.

RJ said...

Note to finebammr/bravo: take your flame train somewhere else. Normal, reasonably educated citizens understand the nuances of satire and the basic concept of blogging. This is Roger's blog. If you wish to blog, start you own. However, since you do not seem to be capable of expressing yourself without expletives and flames, your audience would be extremely limited. The only ravings I observe are those of "finebammr" and his secret admirer "bravo." Get a room!
Personally, I applaud Roger and his professionalism. I would print your real name and expose your cowardly attacks and your ignorance. Go on, chillax in your recliner, watch the mainstream media, have a kool-aid cocktail and admire the sheep.
Carry on the good work Roger! You have a national and international following.

MaxShelby said...

FB has some facts right, Obama has made serious missteps with oil giants that I have yet to fully understand, but FB has no right to attack LS in such an acerbic manner.

When it comes down to who is the most responsible for the BP mess being allowed to create itself, it was the big government repubs.

FB could have made his points without the personal attack as all he managed to accomplish with that was to denigrate what he did say that was accurate.

Very foolish.

Redeye said...

"Well, there's a certain mean spiritness that's out there, not only in Alabama but it's in America. And that makes this election extremely important." ~Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders (D)

finbammr/bravo illustrate this point exactly.

Anonymous said...

Note to RJ; The truth hurts.finebammr and Bravo got it right

Redeye said...

finebammr/bravo didn't get it right, they are the right.

RAStewart said...

Stopping in late to thank you for your (yes it was, finebammr & bravo) satire.

But, you know, if the BP oil well had still been gushing on Election Day, voters would have blamed Obama and the Democrats in Congress.

Many years ago, one of the Chicago Reader's journalists (and I'm sorry I didn't get his name, it was before everything ended up on the intertubes & I've never been able to find it) wrote this gem:

Ronald Reagan could beat Nancy to death on live network TV, and the American people would find a way to blame it on Jimmy Carter.

Mutatis mutandis, etc.