Post Politics Hour

Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 27, 2010; 11:00 AM

Post national politics writer Lois Romano discusses the latest political news.


Lois Romano: Good morning everyone! Thanks for being here. We'll get started now.


Arlington, VA: Many of the Tea Party candidates are arguing that we need to eliminate most, if not all, government regulation? I'm assuming this means we should let Wall Street, the Oil and Gas industry, and the Pharmaceuticals do what they want and let the free market sort it out? If there is a large wave of Tea Party candidates elected, will they be able to eliminate regulation in the face of the financial disaster, Oil leak, and numerous pharamaceutical deaths?

Lois Romano: No, not really. Its very complicated and requires passing both bodies of congress- and then has to get by the president.

And besides, while some tea partiers will get elected, not enough to move mountains.


Reston, VA: Lois, one of the media "narratives" (I hate that term, but, let's be honest, these things exist) is that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to stop the oil leak in the Gulf or its damage. Noted experts such as Chris Matthews and James Carville (yeah, that was sarcastic) are ranting about calling in submarines and getting down here before we all die.

Of course, anyone with an Internet connection and cable TV can quickly learn that the military does not have the expertise to take over the capping of the well. Yes, they capped wells in Iraq which were in the ground, not a mile down in the ocean.

You can also learn that other oil companies are working with BP to fix this thing and they're supplying vessels to help with the immediate clean up around the accident. Was BP ready to handle this? Clearly not, but they're the best option for fixing it now.

So what is the President supposed to do? Go down there and give a speech and hug a bunch of people, and tell them he feels their pain? That'll make him look more effective? Isn't some of this criticism, if not most of it, illogical, if not hysterical, and based on impotent rage over what's going on?

Lois Romano: this is a good questions. there is a lot of speculation about what more the government can do. Ive attached one story.

I think that largely the crtiticism leveled at the president is that he not taking ownership of the crisis- he's dealing with it but not attaching his name to it.


Bethesda, MD: Lois, why was George W. Bush excoriated for the Katrina response - and in many cases blamed for the hurricane itself - but Barack Obama remains unscathed for the oil disaster in the same region?

Lois Romano: If you read the other questions- i dont think he's "unscathed." George Bush was criticized for not recognizing sooner the depth of the disaster. That didnt happen here. Everyone recognized the problem- and much is being done. The question is, as I udnerstand it, is whether the government should take the repair away rom BP--which Obama has been reluctant to do.


st paul: Hi Lois -- Thanks for taking questions today. I'm wondering what your take is on the president "talking back" to the occasional heckler when he gives speeches. On the one hand, is that demeaning to the office to respond, or does he look weak by not saying anything? Or is it simply a risk of appearing before "non-selected" audiences (unlike the previous president) -- and a risk that he's willing to take?

Lois Romano: This is a subjective answer but I think its ok. The president did go on a bit, however, which can be a risk. Dont want to go down that road too often and give hecklers too much credibility. Bill Clinton would also snap back at heckler on occasion.


Impeachment, seriously?: Are we really supposed to believe that it's a high crime and misdemeanor to offer an elected official a job if he drops out of a race? Wouldn't that mean that every President who offered a Cabinet spot to one of his rivals should have been impeached? Do the Republicans and their media buddies really want to go there?

Lois Romano: The whole "issue" of this job offer is a little overplayed in my opinion. And I dont think its getting and traction. I dont know what was said so I cant say any laws were broken. But Sestak would have been a viable candidate for secretary of the Navy.


Realityville, USA: I know that this question may come off as snarky or rude, but it is an honest question, and I would love an honest reply.

How come political reporters appear to be the greatest number in the Post newsroom, and discuss policy all day long, but when forced to back up their policy inaccuracies, they run to the protection of being a "political" reporter? For a specific example, how come I read twenty articles a week about the political fallout of the BP oil spill, but I need to read DailyKos to find out that there is "a 'war room' full of industry experts from over 70 oil companies and drilling technology companies" working on this in Houston, and that 20,000 people from EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, and Coast Guard are working on this matter for the federal government?

Aren't the facts more important than the politics? Can one be discussed without the other? I just can't fathom being proud of hiding behind the 'it's not my department' excuse that is the answer to so many of these Q&A questions...

Lois Romano: I agree that facts are important and those are great facts you offred. I feel certain we would have published them had we had them.

I dont know who is saying "its not my department" so I cant address that part of your qustion.


Rockville: What happened to Rob Simmons in Connecticut? By all rational criteria he is the best person for the job. He is intelligent, honest and has many years of service.

Does money always buy the election like a pair of Gucci shoes?

Lois Romano: Money certainly can help- but not always. Mui=tt Romney spent a fortune on his presidential race and still sunk. In John Murtha's district, republican businessman Tim Burns spend much personal money- and lost.

In Rob Simmons case, it's probably a combination of factors. He was running in a very anti-incumbent atmopshre and his opponent offered something different and fresh that obviously appealed to people.


Poplar Bluff, MO: Lois, thanks for the chat. Do you believe there will be any traction on investigating the supposed job offer from the White House to Rep. Joe Sestak to get out of the Pennsylvania Senate race?

Lois Romano: no. I think it will die.


First Amendment violation?: How likely is Michele Bachmann's amendment allowing military chaplains to pray as they wish in mixed faith groups to pass? If it did, would Obama veto the bill containing it? If not, would it survive a Court challenge at the Supreme Court level?

Lois Romano: Unlikely. It will face huge opposition-- from civil liberaties groups and religious groups.


Laurel: On Ramesh Ponnuru's conservative discussion board, he brought up that Deval Patrick equated some opposition to President Obama to sedition. Obviously, it's totally wrong to equate opposition to political positions with not loving your country.

But in the last year, we've had people bringing firearms to things like health care reform town hall meetings and Tea Party rallies about the federal budget. What would be the point of displaying a gun at an event like that, if not to create the implication that they might take up arms against the US if it implements policies they don't like? Some dare call it treason

Lois Romano: Its unsafe and ridiculous to bring a loaded firearm into a public foroum where people are clearly enraged. I have no idea why anyone would do that-- and endanger others. Its one thing to have a right to carry arms- and quite another to abuse that righr.


Louisville, KY: Lois, do you believe that KY is too "RED" to respond negatively to Rand Paul's recent gaffes (some would say they were gaffes)?

Lois Romano: His gaffe was not understanding that his comments would create a firestorm.


Arlington, VA: I'm hearing quite a few conservative cable and radio commentators say that the Sestak scandal will lead to Obama's impeachment. Will Democrats support this?

Lois Romano: Oh Puleeze. No they wont support it. And it will go away.


Concord, NH: I didn't quite understand your earlier answers on the Gulf oil spill. You said the criticism of the President is that he is dealing with it but not taking ownership of it. What does that mean? You also said say an issue is whether the government should take the repair away from BP. I think the main issue is - what practical options does the government actually have? If the government has some practical option but is not pursuing it, that would be a fair point of criticism. But from what I understand, the government does not have the technical expertise or physical capability to take over repair effort.

Lois Romano: I think that's accurate. This week propublic published a an interesting report explaining what further the government could be doing. I looked for it to send you the link but was unable to find it in atimely manner. You might find some answer to your questions there.


Connecticut Democrat: Isn't a big if not the only reason why the Connecticut Republican Party selected Linda McMahon as their Senate Candidate the fact that she can pay for most if not all of her campaign in a race Republicans feel they can't win? After all, McMahon's successful entertainment business is the stuff of fakery and blood in the "squared circle", semi-naked women and subplots featuring rape, adultery and familial violence portrayed by McMahon's family whose yacht is named "Sexy Bitch". So much for Republican conservative principals and family values in Connecticut!

Lois Romano: Very good points- thanks for sharing. Hadnt heard that about the boat!


Dems are so much more inept than Repubs at 'spin': Christopher Beam over at Slate says the Dems are not following their own White House's mantra (Rule 1: Never allow a crisis to go to waste) -- okay it's Rahm Emanuel but he's one of theirs now.

I.e. exploiting the oil spill for political gain as they apparently should

And even though "It's manipulative. It builds bad faith. It may even be misleading ..... it works."

they do seem inept and flat-footed and Bush-Brownie like in this and in some of the things that led to Blair's dismissal.


Thanks - always love reading your columns and chats!!!

Lois Romano: I would say that the republicans are quicker at getting out of the gate to frame an issue. They were very successful in finding potentially explosive issues in the fine print of the health care bill-- and were able to define the bill before the Demos knew what hit them.


Hamilton VA: Are the Republican Senators who are so dismissive of Obama's attempts at bi-partisanship for real? Do they truly believe they have been honest participants in trying to govern?

Lois Romano: I dont know what they believe-- but part of the adversary process depends on criticizing the other side no matter what. Yes, it can take its toll on governing. But the senators you speak of are probably from states that dont like the president's policies so these senators get good receptions back home.


anonymous : The TEA party is not against all government regulation. They just want less government. The appropriate regulations not burdensome ones. They want more private enterprise. Less government jobs,less bureaucracy. That all would most likely boil down to less corruption. Thanks for taking my comment.

Lois Romano: THank you for your comment.


McLean, VA: I love your chats - you are the best!

Lois Romano: Well, this went by fast..Thanks so much for sharing your morning with me. See you back here in a few weeks.


Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company