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Approaching Jimmy Territory

The comparisons between Obama and Jimmy Carter continue to roll in, but I hadn't expected Obama himself to contribute to the lists.  

One of the nadirs of Carter's presidency in 1979 was when he said that if Ted Kennedy ran against him, he'd "whip his ass."  (Johnny Carson made a point of repeating the quip in his Tonight Show monologue, explaining that there was no punch line--he just wanted to outwit the network censors, since you can't prohibit quoting the President of the United States.)

Comes now Obama, telling NBC' Matt Lauer that he's getting all the best information so "I know who's ass to kick."  

UPDATE: This choice comment from another old roommate (way to go Tim!) deserves to be promoted here:

Obama will first seek regulatory approval for that action, which may take weeks to complete, but only after first determining which agency(ies) have jurisdiction(s) and completing their review process(es), while also gathering input from stakeholder(s) local, regional, national and international on potential economic, environmental and political (shhh!! expunge that) impacts of proposed ass kicking, all of which to make certain that proposed ass-kicking will work ("Before we do anything we have to know that it will work") and upon positive preliminary assessment could be considered for exemption from review status and final implementation processing.

Reminds me that apparently the Army recipe for baking brownies is 27 pages long.  (True.)
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What a class act we have for a President. More of that hope and change crap.

Kick some ass??

Obama will first seek regulatory approval for that action, which may take weeks to complete, but only after first determining which agency(ies) have jurisdiction(s) and completing their review process(es), while also gathering input from stakeholder(s) local, regional, national and international on potential economic, environmental and political (shhh!! expunge that) impacts of proposed ass kicking, all of which to make certain that proposed ass-kicking will work ("Before we do anything we have to know that it will work") and upon positive preliminary assessment could be considered for exemption from review status and final implementation processing

Umm, Mr. Carter did whip Ted Kennedy's ass.

Comparisons between Mr. Carter and B.O. are invalid. Mr. Carter had experience as a public executive, had serious (if abbreviated) careers as a naval engineer and in agribusiness, was the most resistant to public sector borrowing of any man who has sat in the Oval Office since 1960, and attempted to educate the Democratic congressional caucus rather than truckling to its worst instincts.

This post is a tad perplexing, Steven. We know that a huge swath of America - essentially all Dems, most independents, and a not insignificant number of Repubs - is chomping at the bit to see BP & Co. pay for this disaster. And it is - primarily - theirs. Remember, America's oil industry is far from nationalized. (and don't attempt homicide by laughter with anything about the oil industry being over-regulated - please.)

And assuming that the angry Tea-Partiers are an important, principled demographic that this blog and the GOP hopes to tap into for some big wins...

And assuming that these Tea-Partiers are folks who want to see more accountability and responsibility across the board (not just from Dem pols and black men)...

Then why should anyone think that Obama's threat, especially if carried out, should hurt him?

Is that your point here - not that the threat is so problematic (although I'm sure the right-wing blogs will be comparing him to a typical inner-city gang "thug" (wink-wink) with his offensive threats of physical violence), but that he will not, in all likelihood, carry out the threat, and thus be seen as impotent?

The way ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome) works, I would guess that if he does follow through on that threat, he will be pinned as a fascist tyrant, bent on destroying America. If he doesn't follow through on that threat, he will be branded as a weakling, unable to act like a real American man when he needs to, and thus... bent on destroying America by not reining in Big Oil.

In any case, let me cite your "After Reagan:
Five Challenges for 21st Century Conservatives" from last November, in which you laid out "what conservatives must do":

"The other thing conservatives can do is attack big business."

" End the left’s monopoly on green policy. Quick: who said this: "[There is an] absolute necessity of waging all-out war against the debauching of the environment.… The bulldozer mentality of the past is a luxury we can no longer afford. Our roads and other public projects must be planned to prevent the destruction of scenic resources and to avoid needlessly upsetting the ecological balance." Sounds like Al Gore, Barbra Streisand, or Ralph Nader, doesn’t it? In fact, these words came from Governor Ronald Reagan..."

"....But too many conservatives commit the non-sequitur of supposing that because environmentalists say something is a problem, it must be phony...

Here’s one practical idea: become champions of energy breakthroughs that will put the OPEC cartel out of business."

Sadly, right now, I'm mostly hearing a lot of BP-friendly guff, a la Limbaugh & Co., about how oil is so natural and this just won't be a big deal. I think that advice is being ignored or rejected.

BTW, hope you've enjoyed your record-setting Beltway spring!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/05/AR2010060504657.html

The lives of the humor-impaired are to be pitied, I suppose.

That's not remotely substantive, Rick.

Also, it rates poorly here:
http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/upload/2009/08/Disagreement-hierarchy.jpg

Anyway, a brief clarification - in my next-to-last paragraph, I should've said "I think that advice OF YOURS (Steven's) is being ignored or rejected."

We know that a huge swath of America - essentially all Dems, most independents, and a not insignificant number of Repubs - is chomping at the bit to see BP & Co. pay for this disaster.

Liability is properly determined by principles established prospectively, no matter who is chomping at the bit.

I think the case needs to be made WHY they are drilling so far offshore, WHY this contributes to the disaster, and WHY regulators were asleep at the switch (again).

For my money, BP is just one of several parties who are liable for this. Scapegoating is a liberal obsession, and we should not engage in it.

"...WHY regulators were asleep at the switch (again)."

So, Redwald, I think you need to ask yourself what a lot of righties need to ask about now. Are you in favor of serious regulation of industries, or not?

"Reducing the regulatory burden" and, of course, DEREGULATION, have been something like mantras for conservatives for around 3 decades or so now. This isn't limited to the petroleum industry, either. From nuclear power to coal mining to food production and processing to drug testing, marketing, and sales, one need only open a paper to see how smoothly things will go when we allow the industries to monitor and police themselves, even after they've written the rules themselves.

Admittedly, paying regulators who don't do their job is a waste of money, but if one didn't want the regulators to do anything at all in the first place (other than let the industry monitor itself as a matter of free-market self-preservation), or didn't want the regulators to exist in the first place, that complaint does ring a bit hollow.

Show me where anyone has advocated removing regulations on pumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Show me where anyone has advocated eliminating inspections of oil platforms. All the regulation in the world won't help if the regulations aren't being enforced.

Isn't it possible that certain regulations made things worse--for instance, the requirement that the platforms be so far from shore that they must operate in extremely deep water? And just suppose that we had a private property regime over the oceans, and didn't treat them like the feudal commons. Doesn't it make sense that oil companies would have more incentive to police themselves if they knew they were violating property rights the moment that oil started spilling?

I do not think you are differentiating between types of regulation. There is regulation and there is regulation.

1. Mercantile regulation which is used to maintain state supervised cartels and manipulate the terms of trade generally is generally regarded as objectionable by people who devote much thought to the question (price regulation of natural monopolies excepted). There is much less of a constituency for this in the Democratic Party than used to be the case, but it is not absent.

2. A subspecies of the above complaints concerns the manner in which regulatory schemes can degenerate into conduits for the delivery and maintenance of patronage. The critiques of the Federal Communications Commission offered a generationn ago by Michael Kinsley and Nat Hentoff concerned different aspects of this in one business sector.

3. Much of the complaint about environmental regulation concerned the exclusive reliance on command-and-control regulation to the exclusion of excise taxes, tradable permits, and registration of property rights. The Environmental Defense Fund was the first to concede the legitimacy of alternative means of containing environmental problems. Another complaint was the concession of power to a class of professional obstructers and an absence of prudence in the application of regulatory schemes (e.g. halting public works projects to protect the habitats of minor subspecies).

4. The critique of health and safety regulations has been mounted by economists such as Kip Viscusi and centers on the effectiveness of command-and-control regulation when compared with other means as a way of improving outcomes.

5. There have been multiple generations of complaint about regulatory regimes in the financial sector. There are both libertarian and mercantilist critiques of the evolution of financial regulation since 1978.

6. A more legalistically oriented complaint about regimes concerns the usurpation of local discretion and the transfer of disputes from a home in the courts to one in administrative agencies.


Quite generally, a complaint about regulation is that the page count of the Code of Federal Regulations increases monotonically and regulatory regimes take on the character of barnacles collecting on a ship, even apart from the ill-effects of agency capture.

I am not sure any of the foregoing has much bearing on the problem posed by the mess in the Gulf. Delays in the construction of barriers brought about by extant procedures of environmental regulation just might.

Scanlon, my point is that regulation doesn't seem to work when we need it most, and so the Left's "one-sizes-fits-all" heavy-handed governmental approach to social and economic problems is chimeric. Since the continental shelf is commonwealth, instead of regulations that aren't enforced, how about licenses to drill based on past safety records. Something along those lines would work better than a bloated bureaucracy and would force companies to watch their p's and q's.

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