The president, doing his best rendition of a class-action lawyer, extracted a $20 billion fund from BP. I don’t know if threats were made to get the fund, but they didn’t have to be made. BP knows the score, and they know Mr. Obama is capable of, say, denying BP future leases to drill. This is what we call coercion in exchange for payment, or blackmail.
This is the president’s policy sweet spot – transferring large sums of money from one group of people to another. So he finally found something about the spill he can hang his hat on.
And if you didn’t hear it the first 17 times he said it, Mr. Obama vows to make BP pay. What a relief. We can relax now. Even if all that oil floating in the Gulf comes ashore and forever stains our beautiful shoreline, if a glob of oil the size of California floats up the east coast and plants itself 50 feet off the sands of the Carolinas, no worries. BP will pay.
Where are the announcements of swat teams, breakthroughs in protecting the coast, a massive skimming operation, help from other countries, an Apollo XII-type mobilization?
A whole lot of people must be seeing Mr. Obama’s response for what it is: an activistic, lawyerly attack on the source — painfully repeated now for 60 days, and little to no action to save the Gulf shores.
If you think the government is doing OK responding to the spill, then consider this: if Al Qaeda blew up the platform, would your first concern be retaliating against them, or minimizing the damage from their attack? If you chose the latter, then you should see how insanely redundant the attacks on BP are, not to mention their complete uselessness in protecting in shores from the spill.
What the president did could have been done by any competent attorney; that is, negotiating a financial outcome. That it was announced by the president himself after a staged meeting with the BP Chairman tells us two things: 1) the president needed something in the win column; and 2) the president has nothing else of substance to offer. In fact, the $20 billion fund was proposed last week by some Members of Congress.
More seriously, the president went completely around the judicial system; known in this country as ‘due process.’ He has signaled he does not want the courts to decide, as they should, which claims are valid. Ken Feinberg will do that, who is Mr. Obama’s “Pay Czar.”
If a jetliner should crash, killing all aboard, will The White House demand a $200 million fund for the survivors of the victims? What about a factory that explodes, as it did here in North Carolina last year, killing several people and causing the eventual closure of the plant — will the government demand a fund from the plant’s operators to pay lost wages from the plant closure?
Still, there is silence from my Congressmen and Senators about the spill, its potential impact on North Carolina, and the lesson in abject government failure to protect the shoreline. The job of Congress, clearly stated in the Constitution, is to oversee the Executive Branch. Where is the evidence of that oversight in action now?