President Obama is coming under fierce attack for not taking a stronger hand in the Gulf oil disaster. When a Democratic president gets James Carville yelling at him, you know things are reaching a frenzied peak.

The irony of this is that this is the president who has been accused of maneuvering disasterous federal takeovers of the private economy in one action after another. Bailouts to the auto manufacturing industry. Bailouts to Wall Street. Government takeover of healthcare. Cap-and-trade proposals. Each time, he has been excoriated by political opponents on the right, branded as a Marxist, or at least a socialist, leading this country down a catastrophic path to destroy the private sector and quite possibly all of America.

What has been the response of Congressional Republicans to the Gulf oil crisis? Well, Mike Pence (R-In) was on Morning Joe just now. His narrative was, closely paraphrasing here, Obama needs to stop acting as if the buck stopped with BP and be more like Harry Truman: “The Buck Stops Here.” Isn’t that deeply ironic, coming from Rep. Pence? Pence is a devoted limited government conservative. Mike Pence says, “Conservatives know that if you reject these principles of limited government and urge others to reject them you can be my ally, you can be my friend but you cannot call yourself a conservative.” Mike Pence said during the healthcare debate:

“You bet every member of Congress who votes for this bill ought to read it, read it thoroughly, and understand that what we’re looking at here amounts to nothing more than a government takeover of our health care economy, paid for with nearly a trillion dollars in new taxes on individuals and small businesses. And it must be opposed.”

Which is it? Is it the role of government to step in and correct the abuses, excesses, missteps and externalities of the private sector? Or is it not? Why should government not bailout GM, but it should handle the Gulf oil crisis? What exactly is the conservative paradigm of limited government, and how is it to be consistently applied?