|Mississippi 'Elvis'--Haley Barbour|
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour left the presidential stage in favor of the more familiar big business defender stage according to his recent testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform last Thursday:
"Sometimes the federal government is not the easiest group to do business with," Barbour said. "In fairness to BP...everything we asked them to do. they considered, and almost every time, they did."
Barbour goes on to assert the "rest of the country is sucking the Gulf dry and we get nothing." Nothing Mr. Barbour or just not enough to suit your expensive appetite? Gulf states receive hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties from wells in the Gulf, and rather than blame Obama and the democrats, perhaps Mr. Barbour should go after the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the outmoded system they use to determine royalty shares.
The MMS acts as a partner to big oil and gas rather than the regulatory collection agency for states royalties. Their controversial history ranges from pervasive corruption to sexual scandals that's became so bad Ken Salazar, at President Obama's instruction, ordered a review of the MMS in 2009. How did the MMS become so ineffective? It happened during the Bush years according to a statement from Ken Salazar:
"The president has made it clear that the type of ethical transgressions, blatant conflicts of interest, wastes and abuses that we have seen over the past eight years, will no longer be tolerated."Barbour, always the consummate showman, is being disingenuous and looking for political points while protecting his former big oil clients from harsh criticism. He's going to need a job when his term expires in Mississippi since he figured out real quick vying for president wasn't going to be a successful endeavor. He has a lot to hide and running for president opens the door on all the closets full of skeletons in a candidate's house--in short, he would have gotten clobbered on his past actions and he knew it.
BP paymaster Kenneth Feinberg also found himself worthy of Barbour's praise when the Mississippi apologist refused to harshly criticize Feinberg and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility:
"I think they're trying to do a good job. We don't get many complaints in Mississippi."
Feinberg and his law firm have made a fortune off BP from the endeavor. Barbour's also made a fortune off big oil. Anything either of them says or does could be juxtaposed to the other's talking head.
Barbour continues to heap accolades of wonderful on BP and roundly criticizes the Obama administration and caution with everything he's got. When the administration ordered BP to put $20 billion in escrow to cover claims resulting from the spill, Barbour cried foul and thought better use of the money would be reinvesting the funds in exploration and drilling. People being made whole isn't as important as the lead act getting as much money as possible from royalties destined for state coffers, that allows for certain governors and their family members benefit first and foremost.
Haley Barbour knows a thing or two about benefiting through federal money from the Katrina disaster. When he says he desires to "position the Gulf states for the best possible recovery" what he really means is himself and his associates, which includes big oil.
And like big oil, Barbour is not in favor of increased regulations and wants permits to be ramped up to the pre-BP spill levels:
Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Elijah Cummings asked Barbour whether he supports an Interior Department requirement that oil companies prove they can cap a well before receiving and drilling permit.
"I would not be in favor of anything that reduces the production of domestic oil," Barbour said. "I think the risks are way too small compared to what you give up."Barbour's mindset, while popular in certain political and business circles, is backward thinking from another era and seems out of place in the modern day of we really should know better now. He'll get cheers and applause from the audience he's playing to, but in the real post BP spill world his act is outdated and better left in the past.
*Update--"Barbour Breaks With GOP on Disaster Funding" (see Katrina link for why)
Subscribe in a reader