For all the second-guessing, it’s still not clear what else the president might have done to make a definitive, as opposed to cosmetic, difference in plugging the hole: yell louder at BP, send in troops and tankers, or, as James Carville would have it, assume the role of Big Daddy? The spill is not a Tennessee Williams play, its setting notwithstanding, and it’s hard to see what more drama would add, particularly since No Drama Obama’s considerable talents do not include credible play-acting.
But life isn’t fair, and this president is in a far tougher spot in 2010 than his predecessor was in 2005.
What ought Obama to have done? He should've just dropped an atomic bomb on it. Or designed top kill himself on a napkin. He should've farted on the head of BP's CEO. Lots of good ideas -- but what they really come down to is the lack of an angry black man:
Much more after the jump...
As long as the stain washes up on shore, the hole in BP’s pipe will serve the right as a gaping hole in the president’s argument for expanded government supervision of, for starters, Big Oil and big banks. It’s not just the gulf that could suffer for decades to come.Not only does the president look bad if BP takes months to drill the relief-well; he looks bad every day that the fiction of corporate responsibility stands between the American people and a piece of BP's hide.
British Petroleum -- a foreign corporation! -- has no right to any of that oil. Not only did the company eschew safety in pursuit of immense profit, it lied about the amount of oil and then tried to prevent any real accounting. Yet we have seen Coast Guard boats -- American military craft! -- serving as BP's lackeys (a testament to how deeply captured our republican organs of state have become).
I don't ask that this thing called British Petroleum stop existing. I ask that it be held accountable just as a non-corporate person would be held accountable if they accidentally poisoned the Gulf of bloody Mexico: any and all gains from the poisoning would be confiscated, lacking the legal protection of "property."
They should lose, or else there is no justice. It's not complicated. I realize the post title invites controversy, but so be it. We have heard stories of the president losing patience, but we have not seen them.
This president actually does use power, but quietly. For instance, while getting BP to show the camera feed during top kill and getting them to agree to an independent flow measurement. There is obviously communication and some kind of pressure going on. Rumors persist that there will be criminal charges; yet we have not seen them, and no president ought to declare his desire for them lest he taint the process.