Rep. Tiahrt on the oil spill: ˜accidents will happen

Kansas Republican Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt, who are challenging each other for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, faced off in a debate Tuesday hosted by Topeka’s NBC 27 television station. Both of the men were trying to one-up each other, attempting to prove who is the most right wing.  TP has the story.

One contentious issue was immigration, where Moran hit Tiahrt for once supporting the DREAM Act, which would provide undocumented high school graduates a path to legal residency and the chance to attend college. Tiahrt, however, quickly tried to explain why he has come around and now supports punishing children for the choices of their parents:

MORAN: [O]n two occasions, he’s [been] a co-sponsor of legislation called the DREAM Act, which provides amnesty and in-state tuition for children of those who were here illegally. […]

TIARHT: Well, some time ago “” a long time ago “” I thought it was compassionate to not punish the children for the parents’ sins.

Watch a video of the exchange uploaded by the Moran campaign:

He went on to say that after listening to “arguments from fellow Kansans,” he now opposes “amnesty.”

One difference during the debate was on the oil spill. While both lawmakers slammed both the Obama administration and BP for their response to the disaster, Tiahrt shielded the oil corporation from blame because, he said, “accidents happen“:

On the oil spill, the candidates were asked if they believed that “accidents will happen.”

“I think that is a true statement,” Tiahrt said.

Moran shot back saying, “I don’t think you write it off as accidents happen.”

The GOP senatorial primary is on Aug. 3. The Republican establishment has split in endorsing the two men, with Tiahrt receiving the backing of Sarah Palin, Sen. James Inhofe (OK), and Rep. Mike Pence (IN), and Moran supported by Sens. John McCain (AZ), Jim DeMint (SC), and Tom Coburn (OK).

This is a Think Progress cross-post.

9 Responses to Rep. Tiahrt on the oil spill: ˜accidents will happen

  1. BB says:

    “Accidents Happen” goes out the window if/when it’s proven that a company cut corners on required safety provisions in the very arena of the event.

  2. Richard says:

    Of course accidents happen! But perhaps we need the opposite saying of ‘The harder I work the luckier I get’. How about “The more corners I cut the more accidents i have”?

  3. Leland Palmer says:

    Yes, and some accidents are so catastrophic that it makes reasonable people wonder whether we should be doing offshore drilling in water this deep, at all.

    It makes those of us concerned with the climate wonder why we are working so hard to get this oil, when burning it will only further destabilize the climate.

    I’ve seen another Republican primary debate, with the candidates all trying to trump each other in “conservatism”- the debate for the Senate seat in California. It was horrifying. The amount of bellicose denial and wrongheaded climate policy in the air was just horrifying.

    We really are too stupid to live, I guess.

  4. Richard Brenne says:

    If struck by a bolt of lightning or several that somehow re-wired his brain from mindless pandering to honesty and candor, Tiahrt might instead say “If we burn all available fossil fuels that have been sequestered in the Earth’s crust for hundreds of millions of years and release their CO2 into the atmosphere in only a few hundred years and thus alter our climate quite possibly to the collapse of civilization while exhausting all oil until its lack cripples a zombie-ponzi economy and thus when conventional land and shallow-water supplies of oil are largely gone and we drill far below our capabilities to plug a blow-out and we program corporations and their management only to seek profits without any regard for any other living thing and thus they cut corners to maximize profits every step of the way and they’re allowed to do this by the deregulation perpetrated by the two oilest oilmen to ever hold the presidency and vice-presidency, then accidents including my tragic de-evolution to the mind-numblingy stupid point of defending BP and all greedy, reckless, irresponsible and incompetent corporations do, indeed, happen.”

  5. wag says:

    I actually agree with Rep. Tiahrt in a lot of ways. Accidents do happen. Ironically, when we criticize BP for not having done enough to prevent the oil spill, we’re assuming that oil drilling is something that can be made safe with enough technical expertise.

    But the oil spill in the Gulf was not a problem of technical mishap–the true problem was drilling there in the first place. Accidents will happen–the proper question isn’t how we can make oil drilling safer so accidents won’t happen, but whether we ought to be engaged in an activity that makes accidents inevitable in the first place.

    I understand that THIS disaster may have been avoidable, but over the long haul, as long as there is drilling, something will go wrong. No matter how many safety precautions BP had taken, eventually there would have been a disaster–if not BP, then another company, and if not in 2010, then maybe 2015.

    Instead of heaping blame on BP for messing up, we ought to be examining the activity of oil drilling itself. It’s not BP’s fault that their oil rig blew up – it’s our collective fault for living an energy-guzzling lifestyle that makes drilling a profitable activity, that encourages a company to “dig too greedily and too deep,” like the Dwarves in Lord of the Rings.

    Here’s a post I wrote on it – feedback appreciated.

  6. ANM says:

    Wag–it’s not BP’s fault that the rig blew up, no–they were dealing with cutting edge technology that, by definition, is unpredictable. What *is* their fault is that they cut corners (to cut costs, presumably, and get to the oil ASAP), apparently paid off MMS officials in cash or kind to flout any kind of environmental red tape to caution against such accidents and haphazardly filled out paperwork.

    So, no, it’s not BP’s not to blame for the accident, but they’re completely liable for not having a structure in place to minimize the ensuing damage.

    As for offshore drilling–America’s not going to get off fossil fuels tomorrow, but I don’t think this BP problem is a case for cutting off deep water drilling all together. The alternative is to source oil from far less stable economies (read: Niger River Delta) with practically non-existent environment rules, thus funding oligarchs and perpetuating a vicious cycle of environment degradation, corruption, and cronyism.

  7. Raul says:

    beyond pollution has started a new skimmer vessel
    that has two improvements. !. It separates oil and
    water. @. It has a floating extension to collect
    the oily water. Good news for the present situation.

  8. Raul says:

    If beyond pollution put a suction head that
    has self directional control down to the
    plumes maybe then they could do more about
    the subsurface oil. The plumes can be found.
    The plumes should be removed from the sea

  9. Kim says:

    If “accidents happen”, just happen, with deepwater oil wells, we don’t need to be deepwater drilling. It’s far too risky.