Friday, June 25, 2010

'Deregulation' as a dirty word

Liberals may or may not take heart at the apparently congenital obtuseness of Republican office holders over the past half decade, suspecting that like dodos and passenger pigeons, they are such easy pickings they have to be on the way out, but as always there is reason to worry: What if they take us all with them?

The current spate of GOP nonsense began with Barry Goldwater, who said something a majority of Americans translated as "Extremism in defense of powerful corporations is no vice." The story goes on, too dreary to recount - Reagan through the second President Bush - but the latest dumbness came from U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, who apologized to BP for the "shakedown" it suffered from the Obama administration. Do these guys have any foot left? (Barton soon apologized, amusingly quoted in Newsweek as saying that "If anything I have said this morning has been misconstrued to the opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction.") The apology was a laugh, but the original comment was a talking point. The day before, a press release by House Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price called it not just a shakedown but "a Chicago-style shakedown."

The BP oil spill - the worst in U.S. history - may be fodder for GOP talking points, but the credibility of those points is on a rather severe downward spiral.

I try to steer clear of politics, but sometimes that task resembles tiptoeing across a pig sty. The pigs are thinking about eating me; never mind the state of my shoes.

Liberals and conservatives alike deplore the government's slow response to the oil disaster. Conservatives, hypocritically, demand more government action, while liberals blame the problem on the desecration of agencies like the Minerals Management Service by GOP ideology.

The long-term answer, of course, is to junk as ancient, failed history the Reagan chant of "deregulation" as the disinformation and obtuseness it is. Deregulation, as Newsweek's columnist Jonathan Alter pointed out in a separate article, "must be transformed into an epithet."

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