Sunday, December 05, 2021
Jun 15

Written by: Diana West
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 3:49 AM 

George Ford, whose analysis has appeared before at this site, writes in with some unconventional wisdom and predictions on BP:

There are many news stories circulating on the eve of the meeting between President Obama and the BP Chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg. Some have to do with a weakened, incompetent President looking to at least catch a rebound and take control of the game. But two stories bring to mind the image of a very competent, radical leftist President bringing one of the world's largest private companies to its knees.

One is that Obama is asking for a large amount of BP cash to be placed in escrow to cover claims, which if requested by Bush might sound benign but by Chicago shake-down artists and ACORN community organizers could be used by the administration as a political slush fund, a tempting treasure trove to be raided by political cronies, a nasty stick to whip out whenever it suits someone to bash BP over the head.

The other is that the president will use tonight's speech to isolate (and weaken) BP as a particularly evil Big Oil multinational, scare the other energy companies into distancing themselves from BP, and push for climate change legislation that will further tax carbon-based energy and subsidize speculative sources of energy like wind and solar. In other words, a college English professor's dream.

According to one administration source on the Oval Office address, "an energy deal must include some serious effort to price carbon as a way to slow climate change." That's right, the perfect left-wing emergency management technique in a nutshell. Let the oil wash up on shore. Invite the photographers. Pass Cap and Trade. Absorb the second largest energy company into your political patronage. (Just to get a sense of how completely absurd and dangerous Obama is, compare Sarah Palin's informed and reasonable proposals.)

So we know where Obama is coming from. Do we know BP? How will they respond to what I think will be a frontal attack? I'd like to say BP will fight back and defend private enterprise, while trying to fix the spill, improve the drilling technology and clean the environment. They operate in tough and dangerous conditions all over the world, and while they messed up big-time with this leak, they have great expertise and company pride. And of course BP has been at the forefront of industry PR efforts to green their image.

On the other hand, they know that little children are taught in public schools around the world to fear Big Oil, their reputation is dismal, when oil is expensive they are accused of "gauging", they are accused of buying politicians -- all while being heavily regulated in countries worldwide, many of which are not democracies and do not view rule-of-law in a Western way. With Obama's boot on their neck in a formerly Western-way country, there must be a sense of resignation and humiliation in the BP headquarters.

I am hoping that we are not witnessing this week the transition of an imperfect but needed free-market company to a socialist-supporting, semi-nationalized General Motors. I shudder when I think of Obama's response to Matt Lauer's question about not wanting to meet with BP: "...[M]y experience is, when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he's gonna say all the right things to me. I'm not interested in words. I'm interested in actions."

Mr. Svanberg, keep this quote in mind when negotiating with Obama and his lawyers. Does this sound like a guy who wants to fix the leak and clean the beaches?

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