Wednesday, June 16, 2010


So, if your post-speech drinking game included the instructions "Down a shot every time a right-winger reacts to the speech by invoking Rahm Emanuel on letting crises go to waste," you may need to call the paramedics soon.

Sarah Palin: "Instead, what his top priority is, Bill, is cap and tax. It is using this crisis, not letting it go to waste, but to use this crisis to increase the cost of energy."

Mike Pence: "Rahm Emanuel said famously about a year ago that you 'never want a serious crisis to go to waste.' And now we hear word that the president is preparing this evening, in the midst of this widening crisis, to use his address to the American people to advance his disastrous national energy tax known as the cap and trade."

Jonah Goldberg: "Last night we saw just the latest installment of 'Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste,' written by Rahm Emanuel and performed by The One. The immediate goal: to create the political climate where BP will bend over and say 'thank you sir, may I have another' in perpetuity. Beyond that, to browbeat the public and Congress into accepting some version of cap-and-trade legislation that will export jobs and raise energy prices in the middle of a recession."

Mitch McConnell: " after day, as the oil continues to flow, what we hear about from the administration is how tough they plan to be with BP and now, apparently, how important it is that we institute a new tax that will raise energy costs for every single American but which will do nothing to plug the leak. Never has a mission statement fit an administration as perfectly as Rahm Emanuel’s 'never allow a crisis to go to waste.'"

Ross Kaminsky of Human Events: "In the spirit of never letting a crisis go to waste, Obama argued for massive subsidies for renewable energy and wants to use the Gulf oil disaster to shove an 'energy and climate' bill, which is to say some form of a carbon tax, down the throats of taxpayers."

Quin Hillyer of The American Spectator: "He is not really focusing on fixing the current crisis; he is working to use the crisis to his advantage for his alread-existing agenda. Again, he is 'not letting a crisis go to waste.' This is obnoxious."

John Stossel: "Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste ... The spill will now become an excuse for more government action, and more subsidies for wind, solar, and so on."

It doesn't matter that Obama pointedly omitted cap-and-trade and pricing carbon from his speech, while specifically mentioning other, allegedly less controversial energy measures. He's calling for cap-and-trade (or, rather, "cap-and-tax") because most of the above-quoted Republicans and righties say he is. Or, even if the public eventually recognizes that he's backed away from that, he's still doing a sleazy Capone-y Chicago Way Rahm Emanuel thing of not letting a crisis go to waste. Whatever he tries to do will be trumped by that meme.

It's health care all over again -- the Democrats gave private industry a truckload of carrots and no sticks, and the wingers still called the plan "socialism." Or it's immigration: last week Zandar noted a poll that showed overwhelming national support for comprehensive immigration reform -- which, it turns out, is favored by supporters of the Arizona immigration law even more than by the rest of the public. But, see, it doesn't matter, because any immigration bill whatsoever that's proposed will be killed off with the trump word "amnesty"; people who say they support comprehensive reform will hear comprehensive reform called "amnesty," will believe it, and will vehemently oppose what they insisted to pollsters that they support.

Meanwhile, Obama is getting slammed by lefties and centrists precisely for letting a crisis go to waste -- for not using the spill as a justification for serious action on carbon. Once again, Obama looks for a middle ground and finds that, once he gets to where he thinks that middle ground is, there's no one there but him.

Of course, the guy who actually didn't let a crisis go to waste was George W. Bush. Didn't we invade Iraq while bin Laden was still alive? Talk about not waiting for the leak to be capped. Nobody influential seemed to have a problem with it at the time, of course, because Bush had had a "bullhorn moment" -- a moment that, even though it foreshadowed failure, people still cite as a triumph. Aimai was right when she wrote, "I don't understand why the Obama administration (and its defenders in the bloggosphere) has such a hard time grasping that sometimes America wants to be tucked into bed with a really good story." Or a really good pep rally.

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