Two notable, high-profile individuals at the forefront of the Crandall Canyon disaster are emblematic of the role Republicans play in our day-to-day lives -- and symptomatic of the need to make major changes in the fabric of American leadership.
Mine co-owner and CEO of Murray Energy Corp Bob Murray grabbed the microphone at the onset of this disaster, and proceeded to spin and blame and lie his way through this crisis. Murray sought not to manage the rescue effort as much as manage the PR effort.
In case there was any doubt in your mind, Bob Murray is a Republican.
[Murray] is a big-time donor to the Republican Party, personally donating over $115,000 to Republican candidate over the past three election cycles and another $724,500 to the GOP over 10 years through political action committees connected to his businesses.
MSHA Administrator Richard Stickler is a Republican as well, cut from the same cloth as Murray.
Stickler used to be a mining executive who - according to various media reports - ran mines which had several fatalities and ;...an incident rate that was often twice the national average."
Stickler's appointment to this post was opposed and blocked twice by Congress, but good ol' high-level White House Republican cronyism won out, and President Bush made the appointment despite the objections.
After the Crandall Canyon mine collapsed it took the federal government two days to take control of the mine rescue efforts, and during those critical first two days the Republican cronies were content to leave control of the rescue in the hands of their big-time donor and supporter Bob Murray.
That may well have cost those trapped miners their lives.
This kind of Republican ineptitude and cronyism invariably rears it ugly head and bites us exactly when we need our government the most -- at times of crisis and upheaval -- the attacks on 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Global Warming, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Foley scandal.
But the Republican ineptitude and cronyism is always with us -- it's there all the time. Stickler's appointment wasn't forced through by Bush the day before the Crandall Canyon miners became trapped, and there are thousands more Republicans like Stickler and Michael Brown and Denny Hastert (who turned a blind eye towards Bob Foley's actions) - all ticking time bombs of ineptitude just waiting to fail us again.
Bob Murray's hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations seems to have been money well spent. It bought Bob Murray enough time to spin and lie his way through the critical first several days of this disaster... and had the miners been rescued quickly he just might have gotten away with it. Certainly the Republicans in our federal government would have supported his lies about the disaster after a successful rescue -- they were bought and paid for from the start.
But the cost of allowing Republicans to lead our federal government is just too high for the rest of us ordinary folks. Under Republican rule the rich get richer, and We the People get the shaft... and for the six trapped miners at Crandall Canyon, that mine shaft was their last place on earth.
Our federal government failed them. It is clearly time for a change.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!