Kate Galbraith compares the reactions of Rick Perry, Republican governor of Texas, and Bill White, his Democratic challenger, to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Both men are for continued offshore drilling, but Perry complacently called it an “act of God”, whereas White, who has a background in energy, issued a 10-page memo on unanswered questions and next steps. Kate’s note and White’s memo are well worth reading.
So, by the way, is this note by Bill Galston–by no means a reflexive anti-Republican–who asks whether some of the blame for what happened lies with the Bush administration:
So here’s my question: what is responsible for MMS’s [Minerals Management Service, the division of the Interior Department responsible for offshore drilling] change of heart between 2000 and 2003 on the crucial issue of requiring a remote control switch for offshore rigs? What we do know is that unfettered oil drilling was to Dick Cheney’s domestic concerns what the invasion of Iraq was to his foreign policy—a core objective, implacably pursued regardless of the risks. Is there a connection between his infamous secret energy task force and the corrupt mindset that came to dominate a key program within MMS? Would $500,000 per rig have been regarded as an unacceptably expensive insurance policy if a drill-baby-drill administration hadn’t placed its thumb so heavily on the scale?