For more than 50 days — ever since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded — Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) has been “shocked.” She’s been moved by “tragic” and “heartwarming” TV scenes of the disaster. And she’s been confused by President Obama’s “weird,” “bizarre,” “odd” and “infantile” response to the oil spill.
But she hasn’t been impressed. And she doesn’t expect to be impressed tonight when the president delivers his first prime-time Oval Office speech.
“It appears what we’re going to hear tonight is a call for more legislation,” Bachmann said today at The Bloggers Briefing. “When are we ever going to talk about actually capping this hole?”
In the weeks since the spill, Bachmann said, Obama has done precious little to present a solution to the actual problem in the Gulf – the as-yet-uncapped oil.
Every response that has come out of the White House has been about the White House. … It’s been about them, and it doesn’t seem like it’s really been about stopping the hole and dealing with the devastation that’s going on down at the Gulf. … It’s weird and it’s odd and it’s an infantile response. It is infantile. You need to grow up, take responsibility and deal with this like an adult and solve problems.
That’s not to say Obama has done nothing, however. As Bachmann pointed out, he’s criticized BP, collected “anecdotal stories” and proposed a new system to deal with damage claims, even though a system is already in place.
But, until last week, Bachmann said, he couldn’t find the time to call BP’s CEO. He still hasn’t found a way around MMS permits, EPA studies and the Jones Act – all bureaucratic obstacles to action. And he’s refused aid from other companies and countries that have offered to help.
“[The administration’s] been very good at pointing fingers and just not doing something,” Bachmann said. “It’s almost like you’d wonder if this was a pretext – shazam – to have cap and trade come forward.”
But, Bachmann said, the government doesn’t deserve a reward for the disaster in the Gulf.
“And that’s of course what cap-and-trade would be,” she said. “It would just give more money and more power to the federal government.”
Nor should the government be allowed to use the Gulf spill as an excuse to buy out BP.
“I hope the president isn’t going to send the signals now that he believes the United States should be equity owner in BP,” Bachmann said. “That would be the wrong signal to send.”
And that very real possibility – that the Obama administration might send such hints – points to an even larger story, a story Bachmann called “the stunner story that has been very underreported.”
The jurisdictional issue has been one of the most underreported issues that has gone on,” Bachmann said. “In 18 months time, we have gone from 100 percent ownership of the private economy in private hands to 51 percent of the private economy directly owned or controlled by the federal government. With what you’re seeing happening with financial services and now cap-and-trade, that could boost that closer up into the 70 percentile.