Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a darling of the tea party movement and a loyal ally to House Republican leadership, is known for decrying almost every form of government action as socialism. Bachmann has denounced emergency loans to banks, student lending programs, health reform, and regulations as examples of “gangster” government and onerous government takeovers. “People don’t want the federal government to either own or control the private economy,” she said. But despite her opposition to government, Bachmann took to the floor of the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon to slam President Obama for lacking “competence” because he did not use the government to seize ships to deal with BP’s oil spill. “Where were the boats that could have been commandeered to be sent into this region to deal with the oil plume,” Bachmann thundered with characteristic disgust:
BACHMANN: The administration, they were hands off. They didn’t do anything. Where were the boats that could have been commandeered by the government to be sent into this region to deal with that oil plume as it was coming up in the water and destroying marine life? Nowhere to be found. Why? The administration was hands off on this policy.
Bachmann is not the only anti-government conservative who is eager to bash Obama by now advocating government takeover of the oil spill. Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) spent much of the summer of 2009 mocking “Washington, D.C. and other officials” for seeking to “spend more money” during an economic downturn. But now, Jindal is furiously begging federal officials to spend more money assisting with the oil spill control and clean up. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who denounced clean energy efficiency standards as “setting up a global warming Gestapo,” is now also pleading for the federal government to takeover the oil clean up response. The Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson articulates the progressive case for federal action here.