From Obama’s Thuggery Is Useless In Fighting Spill by Michael Barone:
Thuggery is unattractive, ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Pres. Barack Obama and his administration to BP’s gulf oil spill.
Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s remark that he would keep his “boot on the neck” of BP, which brings to mind George Orwell’s definition of totalitarianism as “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Except that Salazar’s boot hasn’t gotten much in the way of results yet.
Or consider Obama’s undoubtedly carefully considered statement to Matt Lauer that he was consulting with experts “so I know whose ass to kick.” Attacking others is a standard campaign tactic when you’re in political trouble, and certainly BP, which appears to have taken unwise shortcuts in the gulf, is an attractive target. But you don’t always win arguments that way…
Then there is Obama’s decision to impose a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the gulf. This penalizes companies with better safety records than BP’s and will result in many advanced drilling rigs being sent to offshore oil fields abroad.
The justification offered was an Interior Department report supposedly “peer reviewed” by “experts identified by the National Academy of Engineering.” But it turns out the drafts the experts saw didn’t include any recommendation for a moratorium. Eight of the cited experts have said they oppose the moratorium as more economically devastating than the oil spill and counterproductive to safety.
This was blatant dishonesty by the administration, on an Orwellian scale. And it’s dishonesty in defense of a policy that has all the earmarks of mindless panic, that penalizes firms and individuals guilty of no wrongdoing, and that will worsen rather than improve our energy situation. Ineffective thuggery.
Then in reference to Obama “informing” BP that they will be putting $20 billion in an escrow fund:
There already are laws in place to ensure that BP will be held responsible for damages, and the company has said it will comply. So what we have is government transferring property from one party, an admittedly unattractive one, to others, not based on preexisting laws but on decisions by one man, pay czar Kenneth Feinberg.
Feinberg gets good reviews from everyone. But the Constitution does not command “no person . . . shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law — except by the decision of a person as wise and capable as Kenneth Feinberg.” The Framers stopped at “due process of law.”
Obama doesn’t. “If he sees any impropriety in politicians ordering executives about, upstaging the courts and threatening confiscation, he has not said so,” write the editors of The Economist, who then suggest that markets see Obama as “an American version of Vladimir Putin.” Except that Putin is an effective thug.
Nice (and well deserved) smackdown!!