Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shakedown and Shakeup!

First, there was the White House “shakedown” of BP in the best Harry Truman tradition. And to alleviate this toxic British invasion of our shores, enjoy the shakedown song with a little twisting and shouting in the wind thrown in for good measure:

Next came the BP shakeup, followed by a yatching romp around the Isle of Wight. Tony Hayward might have felt entitled after a Republican member of Congress got down on his knees and licked his shoes. Republicans and conservatives can’t help it; they LOVE corporations. They’re really tight with Big Oil. They HATE government. As long as progressives are critical of government’s response to a catastrophe such as the BP Gulf oil volcanic eruption, they are delighted to piggyback on our criticism, if it’s DESTRUCTIVE of government. The moment government does something RIGHT for the victims of this catastrophe, the moment government demonstrates its assertiveness and relevance on behalf of the “small people” -- the Gulf state residents it represents -- Republicans and conservatives GO BALLISTIC.

In short, they show their TRUE COLORS.

Rachel Maddow breaks it all down, dissecting the relationship beween the GOP (Gulf Of Petroleum) and Big Oil:

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Taking a page from Harry Truman and JFK versus the steel magnates, Mr. Obama summoned BP Chairman of the Board Carl Henric-Svanberg and CEO Tony Hayward to the White House for (at last!) a Give ‘Em Hell Harry moment. The President read them the Riot Act and told them how it was going to be. They caved on every point. BP’s interest is staving off more dangerous legal challenges to its existence and stock value, including bankruptcy, and as President Obama said, to “remain a viable company.” Significantly, the $20 billion escrow account is not a cap but a floor.

Republicans and the ultra right wing can characterize it as a “Chicago-style shakedown” all they want, but if Harry Truman was in President Obama’s shoes he’d be comfortable with the fit. (And Truman knows from shoes!) He would own the criticism, though he might call it instead a “Missouri shakedown.” As Truman told his staff before taking control of the steel mills, “the President has the power to keep the country from going to hell.”

So when Republicans start bitching that the President is “setting a bad precedent” by negotiating this escrow account, the reverse is actually true. It’s BP and corporate Big Oil government that are distorting our constitutional government “of, for, and by the people”-- not to speak of our national sovereignty. The precedent for President Obama’s executive action exists in the actions taken by his predecessors JFK, Harry Truman, and FDR, among others.

Despite his qualifier, Joe Barton (a former, and current, BP employee) did not go rogue on his GOP colleagues. The day before his stunning public apology to Tony Hayward, the Republican Study Committee accused the White House of “a Chicago-style shakedown” in negotiating the the $20 billion escrow account to compensate victims of BP’s criminal negligence. The only difference is those wingnuts defended BP behind closed doors, while Barton slavishly worshipped his corporate owner before the American people. He forced his leadership’s hand, as a peeved John Boehner threatened to strip Barton’s ranking member status unless he retracted his statement -- or “misconstrued” his “misconstruction” else he be misconscrewed.

Nice to see Republicans twisting themselves into New York pretzels trying unsuccessfully not to appear to kiss corporate ass in front of the voters. The fact is, the party is largely indistinguishable from the Teabaggers, despite admonitions from astroturf Freedomworks supreme leader Dick Armey for Teabagger candidates to avoid using the label “Tea Party.” Good luck tamping down your dirty little secret, Dickie. It should go over as realistically as your “Death in Venice” painted hair. Enquiring minds want to know: Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Tea Party.

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