The fact of the matter is, both major parties have been feeding at the trough of oil and energy company donations for decades, over a century. Today, Vitter's ostensible and also compromised political rival, Democratic House Rep. Charlie Melancon, got choked up over...his political future, but at least he's lashing-out at BP and Vitter.
Why should he worry? As profoundly stupid as voters in Louisiana are, this gusher in the Gulf could be a game changer on a fundamental level. Both candidates are incumbents. This happened on their watch too, and fool me several hundred times stops being charming in the face of an environmental catastrophe brought about by cronyism and corruption in the unseemly relationship between politics and business in America.
However, Vitter has raised significantly more than Melancon by at least $7 million, begging the question of whether one comes cheaper than the other; his success in raising so much begs the question of how significant Louisiana is to the GOP and corporate strategies. David says he's a populist, a wealthy man of the people who sides with giant corporations. Vitter had the poker-faced temerity to release this statement on April 30th of this year, just ten days after the Gulf gusher began, an unsurprising anti-government message he's known for, but he'll reverse himself in another context, rest assured:
U.S. Sen. David Vitter today inspected the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and met with federal, state and local officials to discuss the ongoing cleanup efforts. Following his discussions, he urged Cabinet members and state and local officials in the meetings to streamline the cleanup efforts of BP and federal and state agencies.
“Based on the latest briefings and discussions with the federal and state parties involved, BP is spread too thin in trying to both cap the well and remediate the damage along the coastline, producing an inefficient and ineffective response,” said Vitter. “I urge all involved to allow BP to focus all of its efforts on building a dome and drilling a relief well at the source of the spill so that federal and state officials can focus their efforts on protecting and cleaning up the coast.”
Earlier today, Vitter took an aerial tour of the affected area in a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft with Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano and other officials, and he later attended a meeting in Robert with Napolitano and Interior Sec. Ken Salazar, along with other federal, state and local officials and representatives from the Coast Guard. Vitter was also set to meet with representatives of the Louisiana fishing industry to discuss ways to mitigate the damage to Louisiana fisheries.
“Our prayers continue to go out to the families and co-workers of the victims of the explosion,” said Vitter. “We’re facing a very serious situation along the Gulf Coast.”
In his meetings with Sec. Napolitano and other officials, Vitter also urged them to do whatever is necessary to help those most directly affected, including Louisiana fishermen and oystermen. Vitter intends to offer them any support they need from the federal level and will continue monitoring the efforts to protect Louisiana’s coast and the state’s valuable fishing habitats. (vitter.senate.gove, 04.30.2010)
Louisiana Democrats are calling the bill a "bailout" for BP, which isn't far off, but they share the blame. Melancon has raised over $2 million so far, not exactly making him come off as a populist candidate either, but in fairness, he's gotten a majority of his donations from "individuals." Soon, many of those "individuals" are going to be corporations, and it's going to be under the table and out of view of a pesky and meddlesome public. Candidates like Vitter and an embattled GOP will need those "back doors" to save themselves as time grinds on.
As an aside, one of Melancon's single largest donors is Comcast, not exactly a liberal or socially responsible firm by any stretch of the imagination. I leave it to the reader to dig deeper into the respective voting records of both candidates, it ain't pretty.
But Vitter's behaviors are truly offensive. Just thirteen days after the April 30th statements, he and Alabama's Republican Senator Jeff Sessions introduced this bill at the behest of the oil corporations and the GOP leadership since they're the party piss-boys (Vitter was Karl Rove's errand boy during Katrina, ensuring that little aid reached the state over partisan grounds):
Nice, but BP should pay for it all. Once again, we get a doublespeak presentation that's meant to create the appearance that they're actually raising the cap and doing something when they're clearly not. Were that the case, "cap" wouldn't be anywhere in the language. Antitrust laws exist on the books. If only Attorney General Eric Holder and the president would uphold some of them.
The Oil Spill Response and Assistance Act, introduced today by the two conservative Republicans, would create a new liability cap equal to the last four quarters of the responsible party's profits or double the current limit of $75 million, whichever is greater. In this case, according to the senators, the liability limit for BP would be $20 billion under their statute. The liability is in addition to the responsibility to pay for the cleanup of the spill.The measure, sponsored by two longstanding supporters of offshore drilling, would place an even greater potential burden on BP than legislation sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Frank Lautenberg, R-N.J, who are unsparing critics of offshore drilling, which would lift the cap to $10 billion. ...But Lautenberg said the floor of $150 million in the Vitter-Session bill is "too low." He said he is going to attempt to add his measure today as an amendment to the financial services bill being debated by the Senate. ("David Vitter, Jeff Sessions offer bill to raise liability cap after Gulf Oil spill," NOLA.com, 05.13.10)
“REPRESENTATIVE (D-LA), Charlie Melancon,” Opensecrets.org, 2010 cycle: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=n00026840
“SENATOR (R-LA), David Vitter,” Opensecrets.org, 2010 cycle: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00009659&cycle=2010