If Republicans win back Congress this November, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is in line to replace Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as speaker. At his weekly press conference this week, Boehner was asked who should pay for cleaning up the Gulf oil spill:
“I think the people responsible in the oil spill — BP and the federal government — should take full responsibility for what’s happening there,” Boehner said at his weekly press conference…
Yea, those nasty feds. Greedy, grimy bastards. Let’s stick it to ’em!
Hey, wait a minute. The “federal government?” He means us — the American taxpayers. But wouldn’t that be like a bail out of BP?
Wait ’til the tea baggers hear about this!
Boehner was reacting to a statement last week from the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a Republican pressure group, demanding that taxpayers’ pick up part of the tab for cleaning up the BP disaster. BP is a donor to the Chamber.
“Everybody is going to contribute to this clean up,” wrote Chamber Pres. Tom Donohue in a statement last Friday. “We are all going to have to do it. We are going to have to get the money from the government and from the companies and we will figure out a way to do that.”
Interesting, isn’t it, how on every other issue the Chamber and its congressional lapdogs say they want the federal government to stay out of the way of business interests.
A few hour after Boehner’s press briefing, his office tried to clarify his remark. What the speaker-to-be meant to say was the spill is Pres. Obama’s fault:
“Boehner made a general statement about who is responsible for the spill, and the federal government oversight was clearly lacking, but he has said repeatedly that BP is responsible for the cost of the cleanup.”
UPDATE: The non-denial denial above not being sufficient, the office of the speaker-to-be has issued a firmer denial:
According to Boehner spokesman Michael Steel, the GOP leader stood by what he’s said since May 3 — “Not a dime of taxpayer money should be used to clean up [BP’s] mess.”
“He’s said for a month now that BP will bear the full burden of this disaster,” said Steel.
The “responsibility” Boehner was talking about was not taxpayer money cleaning up the spill. It was whatever reform and restructuring comes after the leak is stopped. As Boehner put it this morning, his preferred plan of action is “figure out what the hell went wrong, and then have the hearing and get the damn law fixed!”
Right. “Taking responsibility” really means “reform” and “restructuring” — just like when Sarah Palin tells her gun-obsessed, tea bagger followers, “Don’t Retreat, Instead — RELOAD!” what she really means is “vote.”
Bottom line: Boehner’s words now will be rendered meaningless if the GOP wins control of Congress in the fall, and their bosses at the Chamber want a taxpayer bailout of BP. You can take that to the bank.