Many have pointed out that the Obama administration acts more like a pack of bullies than it does elected governors in a constitution republic. Michael Barone hit the nail right on the head with this one.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Obama's Thuggery Is Useless in Fighting Spill
Thuggery is un
attractive. Ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting neg atively to the response of Barack Obama and his administr ation to BP's gulf oil spill.
Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's remark th
athe 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 th atSalazar's boot hasn't gotten much in the way of results yet.
Or consider Obama's undoubtedly carefully considered st
atement to M att Lauer th athe 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 th
atway. The Obama White House gleefully took on Dick Cheney on the issue of terrorist interrog ations. It turned out th atmore Americans agreed with Cheney's stand, despite his low poll numbers, than Obama's.
Then there is Obama's decision to impose a six-month mor
atorium on deepw ater 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.
ation offered was an Interior Department report supposedly "peer reviewed" by "experts identified by the N ational Academy of Engineering." But it turned out the drafts the experts saw didn't include any recommend ation for a mor atorium. Eight of the cited experts have said they oppose the mor atorium as more economically devast ating than the oil spill and "counterproductive" to safety.
This was bl
atant dishonesty by the administr ation, on an Orwellian scale. In defense of a policy th athas all the earmarks of mindless panic, th atpenalizes firms and individuals guilty of no wrongdoing and th atwill worsen r ather than improve our energy situ ation. Ineffective thuggery.
atabout the decision not to waive the Jones Act, which bars foreign-flag vessels from coming to the aid of the gulf cleanup? The Bush administr ation promptly waived it after K atrina in 2005. The Obama administr ation hasn't and claims unconvincingly th at, gee, there aren't really any foreign vessels th atcould help.
The more plausible explan
ation is th atthis is a sop to the maritime unions, part of the union movement th atgave Obama and other Democr ats $400 million in the 2008 campaign cycle. It's the way: dance with the girl th Chicago atbrung ya.
Or the decision to deny Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposal to deploy barges to skim oil from the gulf's surface. Can't do th
atuntil we see if they've got enough life preservers and fire equipment. Th atinspired blogger Rand Simberg to write a post he d ated June 1, 1940: "The evacu ation of British and French troops from the besieged French city of was halted today, over concerns th Dunkirk atmany of the priv ate vessels th athad been deployed for the task were unsafe for troop transport."
Finally, there's the $20 billion escrow fund th
atObama pried out of the BP treasury atthe White House when he talked for the first time, 57 days after the rig exploded, with BP Chairman Tony Hayward. It's pleasing to think th atthose injured by BP will be paid off speedily, but House Republican Joe Barton had a point, though an impolitic one, when he called this a "shakedown."
For there already are laws in place th
atensure th atBP will be held responsible for damages, and the company has said it will comply. So wh atwe have is government transferring property from one party, an admittedly un attractive one, to others, not based on pre-existing 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 thre
atening confisc ation, he has not said so," write the editors of The Economist, who then suggest th atmarkets see Obama as "an American version of Vladimir Putin." Except th atPutin is an effective thug.
About The Author
Michael Barone is a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. He is Senior Political Analyst for theWashington Examiner and a Resident Fellow
atthe American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.