Fox Gives the GOP Their BP Talking Points

June 18th, 2010 at 6:56 pm David Frum | 68 Comments |

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Andrew Sullivan links to a depressing clip of conservative pundits denouncing the idea of an escrow fund to prepay the environmental damage done by BP.

Wince, ouch. But please note something: As Dave Weigel points out, the escrow fund idea was proposed by BP itself, at the prodding of Republicans who endorsed the idea well before President Obama ever heard of it.

This story is another example of the harm done by allowing talk radio & Fox – rather than elected officials and aspiring candidates – to define the GOP. Anybody heard any objection to the escrow fund from Mitt Romney? Has Mitch Daniels termed it a “shakedown”? Bobby Jindal seems cool with the idea, ditto Mitch McConnell. But these real leaders are crowded out by people trying to bump ratings a point or two by inciting another prime time hour’s worth of anti-Obama indignation.

In so doing, they have put the GOP on the wrong side of what Newt Gingrich, in other contexts, calls “an 80% issue.”

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68 Comments so far ↓

  • anniemargret

    As this is written it is being reported there might be a ‘worse-case’ scenario that could actually be played out in the Gulf…. BP said upwards of 100,000 barrels/day could be spilled there, to a max of 4.2 million barrels.

    Good God.

    The more you read this horror unfolding the more irresponsible and self-serving the GOP talking heads become. Their leaders – Palin/Limbaugh/Bachmann are spewing this pro-corporate stuff while our environment and the economic downfall of the Gulf is being witnessed around the world.

    The Republicans have no place in governance anymore. They are proving themselves to be unscrupulous power-mongers, hateful and nasty, and I shudder if they ever get back into power in this country. Half of them care more about corporate greed and the other half are waiting for Armageddon to occur so that their own can levitate up to heaven while millions of souls die on earth so Jesus can have his Second Coming .

    Think I’m kidding?

  • Sinan

    David Frum continues to be a lone voice of reason and sanity in the increasingly irrelevant and childish conservative party and movement. He is taking on the mantle of Buckley and trying hard to keep these rogue morons in check. While I disagree with his world view and blame him in large measure for the buildup to the war in Iraq, he is a man of integrity and dignity. As a lifelong liberal, I can only hope the people that once ran the GOP come back so we can rule this nation rationally. Keep this up even if I do disagree.

  • busboy33

    @anniemargaret:

    “. . . and the other half are waiting for Armageddon to occur . . .”

    Y’know, I try to be a tolerant person. I’m not one to tell people what to believe in. But when your understanding of reality ends with “. . . and then the Earth is destroyed! Huzzah!” I don’t want to hang out with you. I’m not a doctor or anything, but in my personal opinion that’s just not healthy.

    I mean, if there is a Christian Afterlife, it’ll still be there a few years from now. You’re trying to hurry up Eternity. Is it essential you get Hoovered up bodily rather than simply rise from the grave? Why? The only reason I can see is the very un-Christinan desire to make sure your neighbors see you rising while they stay behind:

    “Suck on that, Mrs. Kerflopski! Who’s saved now? Divine Methodist Church of Christ my ass! Told you the Progressive Revial Alliance was the way to go!”

  • Rabiner

    Sinan:

    Are you being paid by this site?

  • Rob_654

    Soooooooooooo – the GOP wants the taxpayers to pay for the disaster? It sure sounds that way – if BP doesn’t put up money NOW – they will soon lawyer this thing for the next 30+ years with the taxpayers left on the hook.

  • Rob_654

    >>> Sinan // Jun 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    I agree that Frum is among the few Republican voices left with some sanity. I left the Republican Party a bit ago – I just gave up with the insanity and was embarrassed to be called a “Republican” – I sure ain’t gonna become a Democrat – so am left in whatever the Middle is and am fine with that.

    This upcoming election will be interesting as the Tea Party and Far Right are getting “True Believers” on the ballot. What is interesting is that once these True Believers get on the ballot they are afraid to speak with anyone but the Far Right – they don’t dare go back to the Middle (as is usual) since that would alienate the Far Right and Tea Party base and they are scared to death to grant general media interviews and express what they actually believe – look what happened to Rand Paul when he voiced his belief that businesses should be able to hang up sign with “No Negro’s Allowed” on it (Or perhaps “No Jews Allowed” – depending on whatever they believe)…

    And Sharon Angle – can you imagine that woman’s views once she will have to actually defend them – OUCH.

  • anniemargret

    rob_54: “And Sharon Angle – can you imagine that woman’s views once she will have to actually defend them – OUCH.”

    And that is point isn’t it? Republicans have all these strident voices of insanity….not one is offering constructive leadership on any issues, except for right wing extremism and incessant Obama bashing. It’s very boring. Or else they are full of platitudes like Palin which mean absolutely nothing.

    And where are the voices of sanity within the GOP? Who do they have except for Palin right now as their most popular leader? This is it?!

    Will Romney be able to beat her out in the 11 hr? I say this not because I have any interest whatsoever of registering as a Republican any more in my lifetime, but because if Republicans are going to put a possible leader out there, I want to feel safe that the fringers are not taken as seriously as they appear to be now.

    The party has gone fruitcake.

  • jakester

    I mean really the right has gone off the deep end into children’s fantasy by casting the victims as BP and Tony Hayward and the bad guys as Obama and the greenies. I Heard that fat over paid radio loudmouth saying Obama was sending goons out to attack BP

  • msmilack

    Sinan // Jun 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    You wrote: “David Frum continues to be a lone voice of reason and sanity in the increasingly irrelevant and childish conservative party and movement . . . he is a man of integrity and dignity.”

    I fully agree.

  • drdredel

    @anniemargret

    “Y’know, I try to be a tolerant person. I’m not one to tell people what to believe in. But when your understanding of reality ends with “. . . and then the Earth is destroyed! Huzzah!” I don’t want to hang out with you. I’m not a doctor or anything, but in my personal opinion that’s just not healthy.”

    I urge you to resist the impulse towards moral relativism and egalitarianism when it comes to your tolerance of the insane. What you describe above as “not healthy” is not “in your personal opinion” it is an easily demonstrable reality.
    There’s a really wonderful clip by Sam Harris(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww) where he points out the incredible short sightedness expressed by those who, out of very good impulses, and a desire not to offend, pretend they don’t have the moral grounding to assert, definitively, that the positions taken by religious people are
    a) irrational
    b) highly destructive to our society
    c) indefensibly barbaric

    and if we allow them to continue unchallenged we will have only ourselves to blame when these idiots usher in their self fulfilling prophesies.

  • Barton And The Right, Ctd

    [...] Frum winces: As Dave Weigel points out, the escrow fund idea was proposed by BP itself, at the prodding of [...]

  • Slide

    anniemargret // Jun 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm “Think I’m kidding?”

    Unfortunately, I do not.

  • TAZ

    I’m very interested to see if Romney will come out and step up as the grownup (not a flat earther, not a birther, not a truther, not a tea partier, not a compassionate conservative) in the Republican party or not.

    I had though Newt might take the high road as the “thinker” of the party (as I think he is, for one) and step up, but it seems not to be….

    T-Paw is already picking the Palin camp and dismissing Romney.

  • CentristNYer

    rob_54: “And Sharon Angle – can you imagine that woman’s views once she will have to actually defend them…”

    Yes. Here’s a clip to an “interview” she reluctantly granted an actual journalist who pressed her to clarify her positions. It’s only June. Imagine another four and-a-half months of this kind of disastrous campaign:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/06/nathan-baca-journalist.html

  • busboy33

    @drdredel:

    A fair position, but personally I don’t mind letting the crazy be crazy. Now, when they start playing with guns, then it is time to gingerly take them away, but there’s no need to hurt them by attacking their beliefs.

    Religion by necessity is a matter of faith, not fact, and faith has 3 related characteristics:
    1)You can’t prove it
    2)You can’t dis-prove it
    3) It can’t be supported/attacked by logic or facts

    Do I disagree with them? Absolutely (at least with the “bring on the armageddeon” crowd). But I don’t see any benefit in telling them that their understanding of the universe is utterly wrong. Let them be crazy. It keeps them happy, and keeps me safe. Too many Fundamentalists have explained their faith to me by saying some variation of “without faith, what keeps you from becoming a raping, murdering, sociopath?” Now that’s a clearly crazy and dangerous person, but if his black velvet painting of Anglo-Jesus keeps him from sharpening the kitchen knives . . . let him enjoy the picture.

  • CentristNYer

    busboy33 // Jun 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    “Let them be crazy. It keeps them happy, and keeps me safe.”

    I think this is an overly hopeful position. Humoring fundamentalists — and in particular the Armageddon-lovin’ kind that turn the rhetoric up to 11 — does not make me sleep better at night.

  • busboy33

    “I think this is an overly hopeful position”

    This might sound funny, but I completely disagree — it is utterly defeatist and pessemistic.

    I certainly worry about them Centrist, but what is the other option? No force on Earth is going to be able to convince them to change what they think — they already reject the staggeringly overwhelming evidence. It’s not like the Young Earthers have never heard of fossils or carbon dating.

    So we’re not going to change them. We can try and fail, which is just going to create more antagonism. Or we can let them be crazy, make sure they’re not stockpiling bombs, and try to go on about our day. As the old saying goes, you can’t teach a pig to dance — it just wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Would I sleep better knowing the crazies were all somewhere else? Absolutely. But that isn’t going to happen. They’re not going to stop being crazy (well, we’re not going to make them change), and they’re not going away. Only solution I see is “Live And Let Live”. I can try to enjoy my life, or I can spend it in the futile pursuit of windmill-jousting.

    I’m lazy. I jousted at my windmills. The windmills won. I’m gonna shake my head sadly, call them whack-a-doodles, and go play some Red Dead with my friends. You gotta have priorities.

  • CentristNYer

    busboy:

    I guess I worry about these things because I’ve seen up close and personal the corrosive effects of fundamentalism. One of my parents became a Bible-banging, Armageddon-waiting, right-wing-talking-points-spouting drone. It’s been pretty creepy, frankly.

    But you don’t need my experience to see how dangerous it is: just look at the separatist groups formed from religious paranoia like the Branch Davidians or those folks at Ruby Ridge or any number of gun-packing Christianist groups that claim their rights are being “trampled” because they’ve been asked to do s**t like, um, pay their taxes, and then they start killing IRS agents.

    And then let’s not forget the American Muslims whose religious paranoia was so inflamed that they decided to go to the middle east to train with Al Qaeda.

    Forgive me if I don’t think that benign neglect is the right way to deal with religious wingnuttery. As Voltaire said, “If we believe absurdities, we’ll commit atrocities.”