Behar on Oil Spill: Bush-Cheney 'Started It, And Now This Poor Guy Has to Mop It Up'

On her CNN Headline News show Thursday night, Joy Behar thought the "Obama's Katrina" language from Republicans was odd, since the "Bush/Cheney administration" is responsible for both disasters. Steve Kornacki of Salon.com insisted "all of the insults, all of the criticisms that were hurled at the Bush right after Katrina, they are just dying to throw back at the Democrats."

Behar replied: "But isn't this sort of like the same problem, the Bush/Cheney administration started it and now this poor guy has to mop it up. I mean, they deregulated the oil industry, right? And is it ever a good idea to deregulate such a huge corporation like that? That's a bad idea."

Behar proclaimed that it bothered her that this could hurt Obama politically when he had nothing at all to do with it and deregulation was all Bush's fault:

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: They are looking to say this is Obama's Katrina, and the problem from Obama's standpoint is too many people in this country embrace this basic attitude. We talk about, you know, looking to Daddy, too many people in this country embrace the attitude that when there's a problem, any problem, anywhere in this country that gets all over CNN, all over MSNBC, they have to look to the President to solve it.

And so what -- what's Obama left to do? He`s left there to hold the press conference and everyone's going to analyze the tone of his voice, and you know, whether he showed up there soon enough, and all these things that really don't matter, everybody ends up looking to him for answers; ends up analyzing and it doesn`t really add up to anything.

BEHAR: Again, this though, could hurt him politically in the next election and it sort of bothers me that that will happen to him. Because, again, he's just -- who signed off on this -- this lack of safety gadget that you were talking about? Who signed off on that?

ARI MELBER, THE NATION MAGAZINE: Well, most of that, yes, is a period of policies that were promulgated largely under the Bush administration and the Minerals Service and all of those things, and also Congress, where I do think both parties, definitely more Bush and more of the Republicans led to deregulation, but both parties in many instances did this.

We've been talking also in the news about whether you can get money back to help pay for this stuff and there's a cap that Congress put in place. Both parties helped pass that. And now we're saying, well maybe we should raise the cap.

But I do think it`s highly hypocritical of Republicans here to attack the government while they have been slowly dismantling the federal government`s budget and abilities to --

BEHAR: Right.

MELBER: -- regulate.

BEHAR: And will the American voter buy that? What are they going to buy in November?

MELBER: I think --

BEHAR: And again in 2012? What`s going to happen?

MELBER: I think if you look at -- with the mood out there, it is very angry. So there is disapproval of the corporate side of this on BP, but there's also disapproval of the federal government's role. So I think the fact that you have so much anger and the economic malaise means that people are less receptive to what is frankly a complicated argument for Obama to make. Which is, yes, we messed up a little bit, but also we need to fund the government to prevent this. Well, right there, I just spent two sentences and it doesn`t sound that convincing, although it's true. So I think, if you look towards November, people are still angry and there's an obviously an anti-incumbent sentiment.

BEHAR: Okay, but he's fired this Birnbaum, Elizabeth Birnbaum, who is the head of the -- what is it?

KORNACKI: Mineral --

BEHAR: Mineral Management Service.

KORNACKI: Yes.

BEHAR: He didn't say 'Heckuva job, Lizzy,' though.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis