Blame where blame is due

BLAME WHERE BLAME IS DUE…. This gets so tiresome.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer expressed frustration on NBC’s “Meet the Press” today over partisan fighting as lawmakers try to lift the cap that limits how much oil cleanup BP is responsible for, calling it reminiscent of the Bush administration’s “psychology of neglect.”

But House Minority Leader John Boehner jumped on Hoyer, telling him it is time for Democrats to stop blaming the Bush administration for the regulatory failings that may have contributed to the BP oil spill.

“How long are you going to blame the Bush administration? Come on,” Boehner said.

Look, blaming the Bush administration for its catastrophic failures isn’t just sport. Dems aren’t reminding folks of the Bush/Cheney disaster for its entertainment value. The point is to take accountability seriously and, just as importantly, avoid repeating the same spectacular Republican mistakes.

Bush gave the oil industry everything it wanted for eight years. Painfully corrupt Bush administration officials were in bed — sometimes literally — with oil industry lobbyists, who were allowed to write up their own inspection reports. Government regulations and safeguards that could have made a real difference were deemed too “burdensome” by the Bush White House.

Indeed, perhaps the most salient criticism of the Obama administration in this entire BP fiasco is that it tried to clean up Bush’s Energy Department corruption, but didn’t try fast enough.

Notice that Boehner doesn’t respond to the substance — because he can’t. For Boehner, the point isn’t that the Bush/Republican approach to regulating – or in this case, not regulating — was appropriate. Rather, the point is that Boehner simply doesn’t want to hear it anymore. Bush/Cheney may very well be entirely responsible, the argument goes, but Boehner would appreciate it if Dems stopped mentioning it.

“How long are you going to blame the Bush administration?” How about this: when it stops being true, Dems should stop using it.