June 21st, 2010
By Michael Barone, National Review Online
The Obama Administration reacts to spill using Thuggery
Thuggery is unattractive, ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Pres. Barack Obama and his administration to BP’s gulf oil spill.
Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s remark that he would keep his “boot on the neck” of BP, which brings to mind George Orwell’s definition of totalitarianism as “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Except that Salazar’s boot hasn’t gotten much in the way of results yet.
Or consider Obama’s undoubtedly carefully considered statement to Matt Lauer that he was consulting with experts “so I know whose ass to kick.” Attacking others is a standard campaign tactic when you’re in political trouble, and certainly BP, which appears to have taken unwise shortcuts in the gulf, is an attractive target. But you don’t always win arguments that way: The Obama White House gleefully took on Dick Cheney on the issue of terrorist interrogations, but turned out that more Americans agreed with Cheney’s stand, despite his low poll numbers, than Obama’s.