Republicans U-turn on how much government should be involved in private industry, but for how long?
We hear it all the time from Republicans these days -- "Obama and the Democrats are trying to turn the U.S. into a socialist state in which government is in control of everything." Now, some of them are losing their faith in the private sector and complaining about Obama for the exact opposite reason.
Weak government regulation of the oil industry and offshore drilling, especially during the Bush administration, is a large reason why we are facing the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Republicans never complained about that in the past, but now they are, ironically, jumping on Obama for not using his executive power to take over this private sector problem. The resulting questions are, which way do they really want it, and, is it better to have mild, proactive, preventive oversight of private industry or reactionary, post-disaster, all-out takeover of private sector problems that companies do not adequately prepare for?
When you look at the actual quotes of those who are flipping their perspective on this matter of government control (temporarily, at least) due to the BP oil spill, you have to really wonder if they have amnesia or if they just assume that nobody will pay any attention to the fact that they jump from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Republicans flipping like acrobats
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) recently complained that Obama didn't use his executive power to "commandeer" boats in the Gulf of Mexico to "deal with that oil plume as it was coming up in the water," despite repeatedly criticizing him previously for strong government action.
Now, additionally, conservative Florida senatorial candidate Marco Rubio (pictured above) is putting all the pressure on the federal government to solve this private sector mistake (or series of mistakes) despite previously asserting that Obama was trying to "create a dependency society" by "trying to fundamentally redefine the role of government in America." Agreeing with Sean Hannity, Rubio previously said he believed that when "people look to the government for security of any kind," they give up their prosperity.
Flipping on that completely, on Fox News recently he said that oil spill containment should be "the number one priority of the federal government" and, practically begging for assistance for Louisiana, said that “only the federal government could provide [the help needed to] protect their marshes.”
I doubt this enthusiasm for federal action will last for long -- probably just as long as it makes Obama look like the bad guy.
Image Credit: Charles Ryder via flickr/CC license