Monday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller of Chumuckla, U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby of Alabama, and U.S. Sen. George LeMieux of Florida, all Republicans, attended a joint news conference at the Mobile Regional Airport. They had flown over the giant slick in a Coast Guard aircraft.As one of the four politicians -- newly-appointed Florida Senator George Lemieux -- explained for the group at the press conference:
At the news conference, the four touted that BP was making progress in cutting the flow of oil from its damaged Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
And we had some good news today that we hope that the leak is being somewhat shranken [sic], if you will. They've put some of the clamps on those hydraulic locks and they think that they actually are reducing the amount of flow.We heard about all of this from several beach friends. Three called excitedly, four sent emails. Everyone wanted to know if it was true. All we could think to say was more or less, 'if you heard it from Jeff Miller it's likely baloney.'
By nightfall, regretfully, we were proved right. Jeff "Oil Spill" Miller and his senatorial cohorts had been punked by BP:
"We were operating on information given to us by the Coast Guard," Dan McFaul, a spokesman for Miller, said later.For those who don't know, McFaul is the guy Miller hired to clean up the messes the congressman leaves behind. You might say he's "Miller's brain."
Long-time beach residents may recall that about a decade ago McFaul was one of the Tallahassee statehouse flack-catchers detailed to lie to them about their chances of incorporating Pensacola Beach as a self-governing city. McFaul is brighter than Miller by a factor of 10. Personally, however, we regard the two of them as sharing the same soulless lack of regard for the environment of Northwest Florida.
As it turn out, the myth that the oil leakage was slowing didn't originate with the Coast Guard at all. It was started by British Petroleum, itself. Randy Merrow of the Mobile Press-Register has the details:
British Petroleum Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles refuted a statement made earlier in the day by a BP employee, who said the flow of oil from the rig in the Gulf had been slowed.To be sure, Jeff Miller and his Washington buddies were duped. But that's the point, isn't it? All these "drill, baby, drill" pols are so easy for oil corporations to fool! Big Oil has been doing it for years.
That employee, Jeff Childs, said BP had successfully deployed a ram to reduce the flow of oil from the drill pipe. At an afternoon news conference, Suttles said the ram did move, but it failed to seal the leak properly.
The Gulf Coast pols want so much to escape the consequences of their past "drill, drill, drill" voting records that they'll swallow just about any BP cover story immediately, without bothering to verify it.