Senator Lamar Alexander and Congressman/wannabe-Governor Zach Wamp are calling for another bailout of a negligent company
. Both men will ask the federal government to cover the cleanup costs of TVA's two recent coal plant spills.
Cleansing the Tennessee pollution alone is expected to cost more than $100 million--without even factoring in lawsuits. And since the area will now be a hazardous waste site for years to come, cancer litigation will be playing out in a court near you for the next 30 years.
It's hard to blame either pol. TVA will naturally pass the costs of its negligence along to customers, so Alexander and Wamp hope to kick that bill over to the feds. It's politics 101. Better some grandma in Montana take a piece than their constituents paying full freight.
You're probably tired of debating the morality of bailing out yet another negligent company. (This will likely be the true legacy of the Bush administration.) But for pure politics, Alexander and Wamp are also subverting their ability to play the fiscal conservative saboteur when Republicans inevitably attack President Obama's stimulus package later this month.
Wamp is trying to spin his bailout call in the context of a natural
disaster, contending heavy rains contributed to the spill. That way he
can still squawk about Obama's bailouts by framing his own as God's
Senator Bob Corker is taking a different tack. "I hate
it for the ratepayers of TVA, but this is their responsibility," he
says. He's probably right. He probably also loved the attention he received for attacking the United Auto Workers during the Detroit bailout debate. And Corker knows he can't ask for TVA welfare while simultaneously maintaining his conservative cred to attack Obama.
This too is politics 101. Let the shamelessness begin.