Tilting At Oil Covered Windmills
There seems to be some confusion as to why the Republicans would introduce this clean air bill they know can't pass a presidential veto, but it isn't really all that hard to figure out. Republicans often do this when there's a Democrat in the White House to highlight the differences with the administration and draw contrasts with the Democrats, even though they know they will lose. It also shows fealty to their Big Money donors and tells their base that they are "principled."
They see value in waging battles for their own sake (something that the Village only criticizes when it's Democrats doing it.) They are, essentially, fighters who appeal to other fighters.
In this case, they may be overplaying their hand, but I think what's really happening is that we are beginning to see the oil industry really pushing back hard. It can't be a coincidence that this asinine argument is coming at the same time:
Boris Johnson, the mayor of London has had enough of President Obama’s blame BP game. of London has had enough of President Obama’s blame BP game . “Well I do think there is something slightly worrying about the anti-British rhetoric that seems to be permeating from America…I would like to see cool heads and a bit of calm reflection about how to deal with this problem rather than endlessly buck-passing and name-calling…. I do think it starts to become a matter of national concern if a great UK company is being continually beaten up on the international airwaves.”
Johnson’s major concern, and that of other British politicians, is that huge numbers of British pensioners are losing their retirements because every time America blames BP the company’s stocks takes a serious hit. “BP's shares fell by 12 percent at one point today on the London market, after hitting their lowest level since 1997 in New York trading overnight, amid intensifying political attacks in the US…. The slump means the firm's share price has almost halved since the spill started.”
(When people used to ask why Tony Blair was so gung-ho on going into Iraq, I always said "two letters --- BP." Just saying.)
I'm surprised it took the damage control experts (the real professionals --- PR, not oil spill) to get to this argument. "By coming down hard on BP you are destroying old people's pensions." It's one of the most important reasons the Big Money Boyz pushed for 401ks and social security privatization --- so they could always argue that what's good for Rapacious Corporations is good for grandma.
I just heard an analyst on MSNBC report that Americans should be worried about this too because BP is 35% owned by Americans. And you know what that means, right? We're all Tony Hayward now.
*I'm proud to say that I don't own a dime's worth of BP stock. But then I don't own stock. Which I think makes me an illegal alien or something.
Update: Well, the Murkowski bill failed but not by much --- thus proving that it would a real uphill battled to get 60 votes for a climate and energy bill. Well played.