President Obama’s vow to help Gulf states recover from the catastrophic BP oil spill rings hollow because he failed to take decisive action early, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey tells Newsmax.TV.
The president also is using the 2-month-old crisis to advance his political agenda, says Armey, who now chairs the FreedomWorks organization and is a tea party movement leader.
Obama and his administration acted incompetently after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded April 20, killing 11 people, and sank two days later, Armey says.
Asked during a Newsmax.TV interview whether the administration can handle the burgeoning environmental crisis and economic devastation, Armey responds: “Given the way this administration has responded to this catastrophe as it has developed, [the question] is can you trust them at all? They don’t know what they’re doing.”
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He faults other branches of government as well, saying that, “with respect to the White House, with respect to the Senate leadership today, and with respect to the House leadership today, there are real competency issues.”
Obama’s Oval Office speech about the oil spill Tuesday night had more to do with political damage control, in light of his sagging popularity, than offering solutions, Armey says.
The former majority leader sees a political agenda springing from the crisis, in Obama’s renewed push for cap and trade.
“This is certainly the most current and certainly won’t be the last demonstration of what I call ‘Armey’s axiom’ that every politician uses every crisis as a new biggest reason why he has to do what he was wanting to do anyway,” Armey says. “The fact of the matter is cap and trade is bad legislation. It’s bad for the economy. It’s unnecessary, and it’s probably not beneficial for the environment or the atmosphere.
“It is probably just an ideological bow to the environmental extremists that costs jobs in America.”
Regarding Obama’s initial response, the president could have accepted help from several nations that offered it simply by waiving the 1920 Jones Act, which bars foreign vessels and crews from operating in American territorial waters, Armey says.
Ships from those nations could have helped contain the spill, he says.
“It’s a little shocking to me that a president that has such a multinational orientation as this president didn’t immediately see the benefits of waiving the Jones Act and allowing all of these resources to come in,” Armey says. “So in light of his failure to do that and to welcome resources, I found myself left a little cold by what he presented as his resolve and commitment” during his Oval Office speech.
“I found it to be just a bit hollow and to have a hollow ring to it,” Armey says.
Another issue is that many liberals try to ignore the close ties many oil companies such as BP have had with Democrats in cutting deals, Armey says.
On another political topic, the former majority leader extolled the strength of the tea party heading into the fall elections as a cultural shift toward restoring the nation’s founding values of small government and constitutional limitations.
“We are especially taking the message to the Republicans that we want you to act like us,” Armey says.
Politicians such as U.S. Senate candidates Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio in Florida, and gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley in South Carolina represent a repudiation of big-government ideas and demonstrate the tea party’s power, Armey says.
“Mike Lee is very likely going to be coming out as the Republican nominee for the Senate,” Armey says. “That’s a big change from [Senator Bob] Bennett . . . who voted for TARP and many other big-government programs.”
Armey sees a similar contrast between Rubio and Gov. Charlie Crist, who dropped out of the GOP primary and opted to run for the Senate seat as an independent after his numbers tanked against Rubio.
Senate candidates such as Nevada’s Sharron Angle and Kentucky’s Rand Paul can win in the fall by maintaining an “awesome respect” for America and its values of limited government and the free-market system, says Armey, who provides information on candidates he backs in the “Taking America Back” section of the FreedomWorks website.
“All the tea party activists and the grass-roots activists around the country are saying is, ‘We want you to love the country as we love America and the American heritage as we love it,’” Armey says. “If you do that then we’ll vote for you.”
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