Thursday, June 17, 2010

Change I Still Believe In

Despite my recent disappointments, his lackluster speeches, and the deliberately slow pace at which he moves, I am still very, very glad Barack Obama is President of the United States of America.

Yeah, his speech sucked. It got nearly universally panned on the left. It read straight out of the George W. Bush school of disaster response. More commissions, different people in charge, and a promise to change. This was the shit he was supposed to change.

Then he went out the next day and got $20,600,000,000 out of the people who made this mess. And that's the downpayment, to make sure they don't find a way to weasel out of responsibility later when the media has been distracted by the next thing.

Leveraging twenty-billion-six-hundred-million dollars out of a group of folks who can afford to hire Satan as their claims attorney ain't a bad day at the office, I think you'll agree.

Which is why I'm much more hopeful today than yesterday. Like Andrew Sullivan, I too "remain an enthusiast for this presidency's competence and long-term direction."

And when it comes to competency and long-term direction, our nation has no political alternatives. Because our nation might have someone much, much worse in the Oval Office, and that's before you even start considering Republican alternatives.

How do I know this? Easy. You start with the absolute right-wing denial of anything close to reality. At this point, I beg any conservative or right-wing reader to defend the GOP talking point that "drill, baby, drill" really meant "drill-on-land-so-we-don't-have-to-drill-in-deepwater."

Because you can't defend it. It just isn't true.

On top of that you slather the lunatic right-wing response to Obama's twenty-billion-six-hundred-million dollar victory for the United States taxpayer.

That's right. The folks who bathe themselves in the fantasy of traditional America and responsiblity are angry with the President for making BP clean up its own mess.

We'll start with this roundup of right-wing GOP members trying to score political points. Bachman, Limbaugh, Barbour, Tom Price, and Fox News all clock in. (HT: Daily Dish)

These are your intellectual and public leaders, my Republican and conservative and right-wing friends. Those are the origins of your talking points. Defend their words now. Point me to any place any of those individuals have come up with a credible plan to clean up the Gulf Coast, enforce regulations on the oil industry, and get America off our oil addiction.

You can't. Because there aren't any such plans from the GOP. When it comes to Republicans and this oil spill, there are only bailouts for the industry, and apologies for America.

And unless you've been living under a rock for the past 20-odd months, you'd know how angry Republicans are at business bailouts and apologizing for America.



DADvocate said...

We'll start with this roundup of right-wing GOP members trying to score political points.

Political points?! That's all Obama's doing is trying to score political points. He's displayed incredible incompetence in many arenas but when he goes after big, bad corporations mindless corporation haters jump up and down and wet their pants. And, Obama's still done noting to solve the problem at hand.

George Mauer said...

Right on.

@DADvocate 20 billion dollar downpayment is just an attempt to score political points? Please clarify how this might be so.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Who does Obama score political points with when it took him this long to do the right thing?

He's recieved massive criticism from the left (and justly so) for being far, far too easy on BP and not cleaning house in the government agencies who regulate this industry. The $20.6B is a first installment on what will be a very, very long and very, very expensive clean up.

Because it won't be nearly enough and doesn't come close to addressing BP's liability in this case.

As a matter of fact, almost everyone I knew called the escrow a "good start," but worried it would turn into the disasterously managed Louisiana Road Home program (like last time). That was the critique.

That's why you didn't hear a lot about it on Wednesday, when it was announced. The headline came and went, criticism of the administration continued.

Then on Wednesday afternoon and Thurday morning, Republicans decided to make this an issue.

DADvocate said...

Mauer - Obama's only good at strong arming companies using the threat of dubious legal actions. And, some how, the government's getting control of the money rather than the people harmed or someone who is actually competent.

The guy's a liar or an idiot. Try this from his speech, "About midway through his talk, Obama acknowledged that he had approved new offshore drilling a few weeks before the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion on April 20. But Obama said he had done so only 'under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe.'"

I haven't met the person who thought deep water drilling is absolutely safe, and I seriously doubt Obama has either but he doesn't hesitate to lie about it.

Who does Obama score political points with when it took him this long to do the right thing?

The corporation haters, maybe. Obama's growingly obvious incompetence is making it hard for him to score points with anyone except the most naive or blind.

Yes, he received heavy criticism from the left but what's it going to take for you to figure out that this guy is the biggest bozo to inhabit the White House? He's handled no crisis adequately, let alone well, but tries to extend his control whereever he can, simply increasing the areas in which he can demonstrate his incompetence. If his administration had been doing its job to begin with, this most likely never would have happened.

If this is the kind of change you can believe in, you might as well start looking for refrigator boxes to build youself a house.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

He's handled no crisis adequately, let alone well, but tries to extend his control whereever he can, simply increasing the areas in which he can demonstrate his incompetence.

Maybe you have him confused with the last guy. There are a raft of crises and issues that the Obama administration has handled well, and they vastly outweigh his missteps thus far.

As far as for the safety of drilling: the oil industry along with many, many Republicans and all kinds of media shills have been driving the 'perfectly safe' meme for a very, very long time.

Down here in this "part of the world" we like to call that "The Not One Drop" narrative that has echoed from the "drill, baby, drill" crowd.

You can even witness a Republican candidate for Georgia governor continue that line of thought just a few days ago.

Of course, one of my disappointments in Obama is that he's hiding behind the "perfectly safe" nonsense. I would appreciate it more if he would just go with the unvarnished truth about how destructive and costly oil production can be. I'd love to see him make the case and justify the very real need for this money (and so much more), competent and enforced regulation of industry, and expose the political enablers of this mess on both sides.

But he's trying his best to keep partisanism at a minimum in Washington, so he has a chance at getting things done.

DADvocate said...

Maybe you have him confused with the last guy.

Maybe you're too blind to see because you have so much invested in this guy. Obama's actions with the $20 billion border on a the actions of a dictator wanna be. As someone said, even the Nazis got trials. Obamas actions with the auto industry, banks, and health care reflect this same dictatorial tendency.

Going back to the political points. He sure scored plenty with you and Mauer and anyone who thinks like you guys.

Hopefully someday you guys will get over Bush and start seeing what's right before your eyes. And, if you care about a democratic republic, you'll do something other than desperate attempts to find something you can believe in in an arrogant, conceited incompetent. But, I'm seriously wondering if you'll ever be able to detach yourself enough to open your eyes this widely. Emotional attachments to politicians are not a good thing.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

With all due respect, I could get emotional about all this, if it would make you feel better.

Becasue I'm confused as to why you'd bring "dictatorship" into a discussion regarding what is essentially the largest bail-bond in the history of the world. The government holds property or money of defendents all the time while the legal process is in motion. This is neither new nor constitutionally complex.

As for policy, the escrow account is a good idea on many levels. If BP had wanted to fight it, they could have done so (and just faced a more massive PR nighmare).

Considering BP stock is in freefall, having lost nearly $80 billion in value since this thing began. They face a very real prospect of bankruptcy, despite their $6 billion-per-quarter profits. By seperating this money, America has a pool from whence they can ensure future claims against BP are paid, regardless of that company's financial situation in six months. It will not pay for all the claims at this time, but it is a good place to start from.

Finally, and especially when it comes to what "dictatorship" looks like, I'm sure the good folks at BP would rather put 4 quarters of profit in escrow to pay out future legally binding claims than to be arrested, stripped of their rights, taken to Guantanamo Bay and left hanging in stress positions before being waterboarded.

Dante said...

"Becasue I'm confused as to why you'd bring "dictatorship" into a discussion regarding what is essentially the largest bail-bond in the history of the world."

When the executive branch takes over the duties of the judicial, I think "dictatorship" is a very apt term. Like most conservatives (even the ones you link to here) I have absolutely no issue with BP taking the fall even if it means they go out of business in the process. What I do have a serious issue is Obama acting without any Constitutional authority. There are channels to making BP pay. We need to use them instead of implementing the Chicago political machine at the national level. The world doesn't need another Russia from executive czars to pressuring private industry on personnel decisions to the executive branch acting as legislation, judge and jury. That's the "change" I'm seeing and I can't comprehend for the life of me how anyone claiming to be a liberal would be ok with it.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I like how some individuals trust our courts to handle massive, complex and lenghty disaster claim cases involving billions of dollars and subjective damages, but don't trust the courts to try accused terrorists effectively.

Or say they do right up until a jury awards a plaintiff significant punitive damages.

But that's just me.

Unless there was some sort of threat or quid pro quo I'm not seeing, the "bail-bond" metaphor isn't perfectly apt, but it is still far closer than "shakedown." This was not siezed by force, it was created through negotiation. There is a fairly significant difference there.

All the judical mechanisms are still going to happen. The escrow account simply ensures that there will be some money available to pay those claims. As I said, BP has lost around $80 billion in stock value in 60 days, so we don't know what their financials will look like by the time these cases are decided.

Fact is, the claims against them are going to number in the millions for this.

Dante said...

"This was not siezed by force, it was created through negotiation. There is a fairly significant difference there."

Bullshit. BP was in no position to negotiate. This is BP coughing up protection money. And that's not an analogy. It's a fact.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Coughing up protection money from what exactly? The Plaqumines Parish goon squad?

I think you've got the issue reversed: Americans need protection from BP. And this money is just one step in that direction.

This money is specifically reserved for people who have had their livlihoods, personal investments, communities, and quite possibly their health destroyed by BP's failures. It must be reserved because BP may not exist in six months.