"Our Country!
In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right;
but right or wrong, our country!"

    --Commodore Stephen Decatur

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In Case of Emergency: Blame Bush

The Washington Post reports today that the tragic mine disaster in West Virginia earlier this week could have been avoided.  Management repeatedly ignored government inspections which revealed major safety problems with the mine's ventilation systems.  This is a deplorable revelation which only increases the horror of the terrible loss of life.  However, near the end of the article, the Washington Post tries to place blame elsewhere.
Former federal officials and others who know mining said that [Bush administration mine safety administrator, David] Lauriski initially scaled back mine-safety regulation and that, under the Bush administration, 17 of 26 regulations proposed by the Clinton administration were dropped or withdrawn.

"Lax is not nearly a strong enough word to describe how mine safety was handled in the first part of the Bush administration," said Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America.  "It became a lot less about enforcing rules and regulations and more of a touchy-feely thing: It's bad what you are doing, and you need to do better."
Had it not already become a cliché long ago, we might be horrified that the Washington Post is using the suffering of others to score cheap political points.  Still, in this case it is rather surprising given that the government inspectors had done their jobs by issuing citations for the safety violations.  Only the most bitterly partisan liberal could hold the government responsible, and still more so George W. Bush as a private citizen.

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