A legitimate debate needs to be had over whether the federal government was fully engaged in the Gulf Coast oil disaster from the moment they should have been.

Did the Department of Homeland Security have plans for a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf, or were they unprepared for what should have been a foreseeable disaster? Does federal law provide enough clarity when it comes to doling out responsibility for events like this?

An investigation is in order. I am sure there will be one. The masses will review the government’s response to this event once the crisis has passed.

A clear-cut conclusion might not come from that review, but Republican partisans will have plenty of chances to highlight the administration’s slow feet, or, if that determination proves inaccurate, to at least create the impression that the administration initially was unresponsive.

Especially in this situation, Republican officials and conservative media stars don’t need to jump to the most ridiculous kinds of conspiracy theories and falsehoods just to gin up resentment toward the Obama administration on the issue of the BP oil disaster.

But that’s just what they’re doing.

Former FEMA director Michael Brown – a not the most credible person to discuss what is and isn’t an appropriate disaster response – nonetheless could have made some provocative statements about the federal government’s responsibility in a situation like this. Instead, he alleged that the Obama administration secretly conspired to create this oil disaster so that he could restrict offshore drilling. Huh?

OK, so maybe Brownie’s perspective is a bit – damaged. Well, how about the most powerful Republican Governor in America?

Perry questioned whether the spill was “just an act of God that occurred” and said that any “politically driven” decisions could put the U.S. in further economic peril.

“From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented,” Perry said.

I can’t say if attributing a mechanical problem to God is more or less conspiratorial than alleging a wide-ranging administration conspiracy to dump oil into the Gulf.

But Brownie’s wild allegations against the Obama administration have proven a little bit more popular than Perry’s against God. Media Matters has begun to compile instances where conservatives have insinuated that the administration has intentionally contributed to the oil disaster in order to score political points against the oil industry.

Two examples of conspiracy peddling, Rush Limbaugh and Fox Business Network’s Eric Bolling, might not be that surprising to you –  though I would reiterate how silly it seems to allege sabotage when credible criticisms are widely available – but I was a little taken aback to see former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino do the same thing.

“I’m not trying to introduce a conspiracy theory but was this deliberate?”

I’m not trying to call you crazy but don’t you belong in an insane asylum?

I guess this is what happens when a golden opportunity to criticize the Obama administration intersects with the need to defend the oil industry. Kill two birds with one stone and make the oil industry the victims of an Obama administration conspiracy. That’s win-win. Right?