President Obama's rhetoric the other day, saying on TV he would "kick BP's ass" and "fire [Tom Hayward]" and "hold back BP dividends," was prompted by his most liberal supporters and strategists. His core constituency want him to appear engaged and connected and in-charge, which they define in terms of their own anti-business, anti-private enterprise ideology. In other words, BP is the evil corporate empire intent on stealing and thieving its way to immense profits, while big government is the people's knight in shining armor.
Personally, I think Obama looked more disconnected than ever on the Today Show when he made his ass-kicking comments. BP has engaged in the largest, most intense oil-spill remediation and clean-up effort in the history of the world. Is it enough? Probably not. Are they facing an unprecedented situation? Absolutely. Should we cut them some slack? Hell no. But other than promise to "keep it's boot on BP's neck" (a comment made earlier by Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar) and its calls for meetings and investigations and hearings, what has the government been doing?
Obama should stop acting like a prep school hall monitor admonishing a bunch of kids for smoking cigarettes in the bathroom; he should start acting like a president who's overseeing the largest ecological battle ever prosecuted. These schoolyard antics about kicking ass are really juvenile, and anybody who thinks otherwise is giving our leader-in-chief a free pass based on theatrics instead of substance.
Mr. President: Please, just come out and tell us what our government is doing to help clean-up the oil spill. How are government assets being utilized? How is the National Guard being utilized? How is the government working to plan for and/or prevent future tragedies? How is the government working with BP to fascilitate an end to this disaster?
And if I may make a further suggestion. Your adversarial and antagonistic approach to BP does not sit well with the many thousands of American and other investors whose retirement accounts hinge on BP coming out of this mess intact.