Judging from his reaction to the BP oil spill, I wonder if liberal radio host and MSNBC bobblehead Ed Schultz is down a quart.
Schultz provided a stream of alarming commentary on his radio show last week about the Deepwater Horizon disaster, remarks that were unintentionally revealing of what passes for thought beneath.
Here's Schultz complaining about Democrats in Congress pushing to raise oil company liability for oil spill damages from $75 million to $10 billion (here for audio) --
SCHULTZ: Folks, it gives them a target. This $10 billion limit of liability, it just gives them a line in the budget that they've gotta meet. That's all it does. That means that when they decide to go do something, their risk factor is $10 billion if something goes wrong. That's the worst-case scenario if something happens. They'd be on the hook for cleanup and liability of $10 billion. OK, let's figure that into it. They just gave 'em a line item! The word should be limitless. We don't know what it's going to cost. You screw this thing up, it could end your company! And this idea that, well, you know, we have to have oil -- no, we don't! We choose to have oil. We used to go around on horse and buggy, you know? It would seem to me that we'd be doing less traveling now that we got all the little techy gadgets that we've got in our hands.
This from a man who splits his time between residences in New York City and Minnesota, radio studios at 30 Rock, Washingon and Fargo, owns a fishing lodge in Canada and flies his own plane. All of which creates a carbon footprint to make even Al Gore green with envy.
Why stop there, Ed -- how about unlimited liability in perpetuity? That'll show 'em!
More along same lines from Schultz the following day, on May 6 (audio here) --
SCHULTZ:What we're seeing here, folks, now is a battle on the horizon about drilling offshore. Now I made the comment last night on the tube that we've got to stop offshore drilling. What would that do? Well, we'd be short about 40 percent of the oil that we use. That's where we get about 30 to 40 percent of our oil used on a daily basis, the 20 million barrels a day that we consume, and if we stop offshore drilling, it will screw some things up, which is good in my opinion.
"Some things" including an American economy still hobbled by recession. Sharing Schultz's belief in banning offshore drilling along US coastlines are the leaders of China, North Korea, Iran and Venezuela. They send their regards, Ed, keep up the good work.
Among those opposed to raising the liability cap to $10 billion is Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., with Schultz saying this in response (audio here) --
SCHULTZ: Here's Mary Landrieu, cut eight, fellas, talking about what we gotta do in the oil industry. The senator from Louisiana --
LANDRIEU: You've got to put this accident in perspective. The last thing we need to do is shut this oil and gas industry down. We need to fix it, we need to hold BP and other oil companies accountable, we need to make sure the right regulations are in place, and continue to be the world leader in this technology as we move to alternative fuels.
SCHULTZ (initially echoing Landrieu): Continue to be the world leader in technology. This is private industry, senator! This isn't the United States government! Put what in perspective?! The worst disaster that we've ever had to deal with?
In other words, if der State isn't creating this technology, it doesn't exist, as every Berliner is dutifully aware. Seize her!
Later in the same show, Schultz's desire to end offshore drilling was so urgent he was incapable of accurately describing a California congressman's proposal to stop providing federal leases for future offshore drilling proposals (audio here) --
SCHULTZ: John Garamendi, former insurance commissioner and now congressman from California, with us here on the Ed Schultz show. John, great to have you back.
GARAMENDI: Always a pleasure to be with you, Ed.
SCHULTZ: You are set to introduce legislation later today that would permanently prohibit offshore drilling along the Pacific coast. God, God bless ya, huh?
GARAMENDI: Well, thank you, Ed. It's no new leases. There are existing wells operating off the coast. We can't shut those down but we can surely not do more and this would prevent any new leases off the West Coast, California, Oregon and Washington ...
Even after Garamendi corrected him, Schultz still couldn't get it right, distorting Garamendi's proposal a second time after the congressman spoke of Obama's doubts about expanded offshore drilling (audio here) --
GARAMENDI: Fortunately, and I must commend him for this, he did listen to those of us on the West Coast and he put in place a presidential moratorium. But we need to go further for the West Coast. We need to have a permanent ban on new leasing off the West Coast of the United States.
SCHULTZ: Congressman John Garamendi with us here on the Ed Schultz show, introducing legislation today that would permanently prohibit offshore drilling along the Pacific coast, Oregon and Washington. Now, and California, obviously.
Clearly not obvious to all.
Within minutes, Schultz distanced himself from his own lunacy (audio here) --
SCHULTZ: Now, are the Democrats willing to do something about it? See, I think that Mary Landrieu has lost so much credibility, the senator from Louisiana. Listen to her soundcut here, number eight here, fellas. This to me is absolute political doublespeak.
LANDRIEU: You've got to put this accident in perspective. The last thing we need to do is shut this oil and gas industry down.
SCHULTZ: Hold it right there, hold it right there, hold it right there! Those two sentences -- we have to put this in perspective, the last thing we have to do is shut this oil and gas industry down. Whose side is she on?! Put what in perspective? This is the most gut-wrenching thing nature's had to put up with. And now we're supposed to put that in perspective?! And we can't shut it down? Nobody's saying that the industry should be shut down!
Except you, Ed -- remember? Or is it a mere third of the industry you'd deign to close?
Capping the week came this gem on Friday (audio here) --
SCHULTZ: Where did the $10 billion come from? You got five states that are going to be affected by this potentially in the Gulf. What, does each state get $2 billion and they just throw it up on a wall and say, where it is? We're moving it from $75 million to $10 billion. And in the midst of all of this wrangling, we start asking some questions about, well, how'd you get to that number? Who gets the money and where is this coming from? Lo and behold it is. Now we've got House authors of the legislation, they have acknowledged that their $10 billion figure is somewhat arbitrary. Why is it arbitrary when we're dealing with Big Oil? Is that an arbitrary war funding number that we had when we sent to Afghanistan $33 billion, that just an arbitrary number? Look, this is your money, this is my money, this is our Treasury, this is our future. Where are the conservatives?
"This is your money, this is my money," Schultz says -- of funds that would be set aside by oil companies to cover damages after an oil spill. In other words, the money is private capital that belongs to oil companies, unless and until needed for a specific purpose. (And at risk of stating the obvious, this is already being done, to a cap of $75 million).
Notice how easily Schultz converts private capital to "your money" -- and "my money" at that. Of course, any suggestion that Schultz is espousing socialism would be met with the defensive denial characteristic of closet socialists.
I'm reminded of what Mao said about Nixon after they met in 1972, as described by Margaret MacMillan in her book "Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World" -- "He speaks forthrightly -- no beating around the bush, not like the leftists, who say one thing and mean another."