At a time when the general consensus is that most politicians and Americans consider British Petroleum responsible for the massive Gulf oil spill — and some members of both parties are saying the administration needs to get tougher on the company — Kentucky Republican candidate Rand Paul says President Barack Obama’s increasingly tough talk about GP is “un-American.”
Rather, he suggests, the attitude should be: “…accidents happen.”
Here’s the latest gift via Rand Paul to newspaper pundits, cable talk show hosts, bloggers and Kentucky Democrats.
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the libertarian iconoclast said the castigation of BP’s response to the oil gusher on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico was an attack on business and part of the “blame game,” where tragedy is “always someone’s fault.”
“What I don’t like from the president’s administration is this sort of, ‘I’ll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.’ I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing from BP about not paying for the spill. And I think it’s part of this sort of blame game society in the sense that it’s always got to be someone’s fault instead of the fact that sometimes accidents happen.”
Here’s the segment:
That should REALLY play well with voters. Paul seems to be a self-creating Democratic Party campaign ad. He may be correct about BP not saying they wouldn’t pay: it’s the rest of his statement that sounds as if it was drafted by a Democratic party strategist mole within his campaign.
The problem for the GOP: such statements will get lots of play in the new and old media and begin to drown out the voices of other GOPers who think the Civil Rights Act, Disbility Act, Housing Act were perfectly fine and don’t start going after parts of the acts — and who argue that the administration should have taken a tougher line with BP than it has.
But it’s oooh sooo hard to keep the cameras away from a politician who is so adept at majestically inserting his foot in his mouth.
Another part of the problem is this fact: media headlines and top of the hour sound bytes don’t focus on nuance. They generally grab “high concept” ideas that are immediately recognizable by readers, viewers and listeners to draw in audiences. It’s the proverbial journalistic “hook.”
These days Paul is providing lots of “hooks” and will most likely keep doing so until his handlers (if he has them) and GOP elites somehow use a hook on him.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.