An interesting "independent" British view of Barrack Obama's policy slant from the Economist.
Obama v BP -- America’s justifiable fury with BP is degenerating into a broader attack on business
FOR over a month, Barack Obama watched the oil spill spread over the Gulf of Mexico with the same powerless horror as other Americans. Finally, lampooned by his countrymen for his impotence, he was spurred into action. He attacked the only available target—BP—and, to underline the seriousness with which he takes this problem, he gave his first Oval Office address on the subject.
The address got poor reviews; the attack on BP better ones. This week the firm bowed to pressure, and announced that it was, in effect, handing over $20 billion to the government to pay for compensation and clean-up, as well as cancelling the payment of any dividends this year and setting up a fund—of a mere $100m—to compensate unemployed oil workers.
This may do Mr Obama some good. Whether it will benefit America is more doubtful...
Mr Obama is not the socialist the right claims he is (see article). He went out of his way, meeting BP executives on June 16th, to insist that he has no interest in undermining the company’s financial stability. But his reaction is cementing business leaders’ impression that he is indifferent to their concerns. If he sees any impropriety in politicians ordering executives about, upstaging the courts and threatening confiscation, he has not said so. The collapse in BP’s share price suggests that he has convinced the markets that he is an American version of Vladimir Putin, willing to harry firms into doing his bidding.
Nobody should underestimate the scale of BP’s mistake, nor the damage that it has caused. But if the president does not stand up for due process, he will frighten investors across the board. The damage to America’s environment is bad enough. The president risks damaging its economy too...
Vladimir Obama -- Perhaps instead of Vladimir Obama some might prefer Barrack Chavez? Dangerous, dangerous path we're headed down...
"Vladimir Obama" -- And yet there are those Republicans who believe calling the President out for such Putin-esque behavior is unacceptable...
Michael Barone / Washington Examiner:
Obama's thuggery is useless in fighting spill -- Thuggery is unattractive. Ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Barack Obama and his administration to BP's Gulf oil spill...
Rich People Things: 'Economist' Outraged by 'Vladimir Obama's' Anti-BP 'Corporate Bloodlust' -- There’s no pique quite like the British kind. The eyebrows arch, the throat clears, the spittle flecks, and the rhetoric swells portentously. It’s not for nothing that the coronation robe of the country’s wheezing monarchy is purple...
Washington Wire / WSJ:
Barton: BP ‘Shakedown’ Apology Retracted -- Lest there be any doubt that Rep. Joe Barton (R, Texas) would like to unapologize to BP, the congressman has put out a written statement amending his comments of this morning.
“I apologize for using the term ‘shakedown’ with regard to yesterday’s actions at the White House in my opening statement this morning, and I retract my apology to BP,’’ Mr. Barton’s statement said. “As I told my colleagues yesterday and said again this morning, BP should bear the full financial responsibility for the accident on their lease in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Mr. Barton added: “I regret the impact that my statement this morning implied that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident.”
During a public hearing this afternoon, Mr. Barton offered a similar walk-back of his initial comments, in which he had used the word “shakedown’’ to describe the White House deal for BP to fund a $20 billion restitution account for damage from the Gulf oil spill...
Ann Woolner / Bloomberg:
Obama’s $20 Billion BP ‘Shakedown’ Is a Shakeup -- So what’s to be thought of the $20 billion fund BP Plc was persuaded to set up?
Call it a pretty good start. A shakedown? Oh, please...
But how can it be a shakedown, when BP had already pledged to pay all legitimate claims? If that was a sincere offer, then the fund is simply an apparatus to insure that it keeps its promise and does so fairly and more quickly.
Democrats continue hammering GOP over Barton apology to BP