May 10, 2010 [EPA regional administrator Al] Armendariz appears at a town council meeting in Dish, Texas which had become a hub for natural gas pipelines the Barnett Shale project. One father complains that his 11-year-old son lost a baby tooth that wasn’t replaced by an adult tooth and that his dentist said it was a common occurrence in the area and “way out of whack compared to the national average.”
Answering a question about the EPA’s enforcement power over oil companies, Armendariz uses a metaphor about how Romans “used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean” by finding five men to “crucify,” as a deterrent to bad behavior. He prefaced the remark by saying that it was a little “crude” and “perhaps inappropriate” for the meeting, and, crucially, the full context of the remarks make clear he was referring to companies that break the law.
A mere two years later, the Republican noise machine leaps into action, frothing at the mouth about Armendariz’s insane vendetta against the poor defenseless energy companies that are just trying to make a living and feed their families. Needless to say, the Obama administration goes into a defensive crouch until Armendariz resigns.
Because God forbid we should ever make an example of any corporation that breaks the law and fucks people over – it might have a chilling effect on future corporate behavior, and we wouldn’t want to crimp our job creators’ style.