Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"A Mind-Boggling Accomplishment"

From TPM Reader DB ... by Josh Marshall:

The 20 billion fund should be viewed as a huge accomplishment for Obama. He had no actual power to compel that aside from moral suasion and the threat of having an unhappy president. Legally, BP could have just waited for the lawsuits and drawn the whole thing out for years. As a lawyer, I find it a unique and mind-boggling accomplishment.

It reminds me a little of something that happened during the Hurrican Rita evacuation. It was going to slowly and endangering the evacuees. Houston Mayor Bill White got on the phone to the Texas Department of Highways. He said, "make all the lanes of I.H. 45 one way north for the first hundred miles from the coast--the southbound traffic can find another route." He had no power to order that. But the officials just complied. He acted like a man in charge.

So, Obama comes along, says "set up a 20 billion fund, have an independent administrator in charge, and start paying damages." He had no power to order that. But BP said, "yes, sir." And it was done.

We shouldn't be nitpicking the particulars of it.


  1. It is a notable accomplishment, one Obama should receive plenty of credit for. It also lends credibility to BP's claims the company will make full reparations.

  2. You know I love the fact he took them to the woodshed. I'm very proud of him. The thing is, some of his advisers I feel are not up to the job.
    But anyway, he did good and I hope he gets rested up for tomorrow, cause he'll need it.

  3. Yul Brynner, “The Ten Commandments:” “So let it be written, so let it be done.”

    Mammy Yokum, “L’il Abner:” “I has spoken!”

    John Wayne, “True Grit:” “Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!”

    Clint Eastwood, “Sudden Impact:” “Go ahead, make my day!”

    Barack Obama: “Ante up!”


  4. Ha! I put this same quote from TMP reader in my latest post. I'm glad you posted the entire comment.

    But...but...Obama has done NOTHING!!!!!

    I argued with Joe of Jo Joe Politico over this, pointing out all that the administration has done, and all JJP could repeat is "he's done nothing!"


    "There are none so blind as those who refuse to see."

  5. SW: He certainly deserves the credit although the right would rather roll over and die before giving it to him.

    Tim: I would think his advisers, who I'm not thrilled about either, had a hand in this. But Obama deserves the applause in this case.

    BJ: Good quotes. Now I can hear Obama telling himself, "Take that you s.o.b."

    Shaw: LOL, I visited and commented on your last post but didn't see the quote at the top. Too sleepy.

  6. The ass has been selected, the kick firmly administered. And in a way which will be of more practical value to the victims than if he had concentrated on making his Tuesday speech more to the liking of the pundits.

    Several Republicans, of course, are already bleating about the "shake-down" of poor oppressed BP. I hope the victims on the coast, for whose benefit the escrow account was established, think long and hard on such words between now and November.

  7. we need to hear more and more as the weeks go on how this IS an accomplishment by our president worthy of praise. The rightwingers are saying it was thuggery because BP already made an agreement to pay, but they are not being realistic because an AGREEMENT from BIG OIL is not a binding contract. This had to be done, they are simply fuming on the right because Obama is showing the country he IS our leader!

  8. BP paid 10.5 billion in dividends last year, so they will pay half their dividends into the fund for the next four years. I don't find that particularly impressive, cutting their dividends in half.

    Putting them in receivership would have been impressive.

    What if this had happened under Bush, this catastrophe,and he settled for half dividends for four years?

  9. Infidel: So true, especially " . . . if he had concentrated on making his Tuesday speech more to the liking of the pundits." Ah, the pundits. Unsophisticated and always eager to snarl.

    Sue: Exactly, but I don't expect anything else from the right. They have become extremely boring, so I no longer listen to their drivel.

    Oso - my love. You are always so damn negative. I think if Obama came to your door and presented you with a million dollars on a silver tray, you'd turn up your nose and say, "Well, that stack there on the left isn't as high as the others."

  10. Oso, My understanding is there is NO CAP on this agreement. Have you heard that? I would think Obama is smarter then to agree to a settlement. The Gulf and her people will need compensation for years and years to come. I gather this agreement covers that.

  11. I do so hope he runs with that ball like he did when the Health Reform Bill passed! Credit, yes. And powerful encouragement. Sometimes I fear he won't be able to stand up to the pressure, that he'll faint from it like Petraeus; he's just as human, certainly, and surely just as exhausted. In the past, I've worried about someone harming him. Now, I worry that the job will buckle him.

  12. It's an outstanding accomplishment, and the Republicans have embellished with their bizarre carping.

    But, the left is already griping that it isn't enough, that Obama shouldn't have said that he didn't want to bankrupt BP, that it took too long, blah blah blah. There's a culture of complaint among progressives that is dispiriting and that does nothing but make common cause with Sarah Palin. I'm really tired of it.

  13. Nance: I think the job is not the piece of cake he thought it would be. I think he truly believed that he could get Congress to work in a nonpartisan way. Good intentions but bad results. The GOP has fought him on every single major and nit-picky thing.

    Underlying all their shenanigans are the racial innuendos and epithets - not only from the extremists but, disgustingly, from members of Congress. I think he's showing the strain but I don't think he will buckle. He's learned a lot and in the process become stronger.

    I suspect that the good general may be diabetic. He did comment that next time he would eat breakfast.

    K: Thank you for saying that about the left. I so totally agree. I don't believe in blind loyalty but these folks are showing ignorance of the political process and are sounding like a bunch of spoiled babies.

  14. Oso, $20 billion will pay for a lot of lost wages, lost business, cleanup and all sorts of things. Also, disbursing $5 billion/year effectively and efficiently when you're doing it retail, with this individual, that mom 'n' pop business and so on, is a major undertaking. Any more money per year and you run an increased risk of waste, fraud and abuse.

  15. Greeting's Ms.Leslie!

    No doubt that was a "good score" that was pulled off yesterday (or whatever day, I have weird hour's Dear .... my clock say's 1:15am now, friday) .... but, this was solid, now to get it in motion. Hey .... I forgot about that hurricane evacuation out of Houston, you know where I-45 lead's to though .... damn .... we had so many evacuee's in Dallas that week .... even parking lot's all over town were filled with people sleeping in their vehicle's!

    Later Grrrllll .........

  16. SW: Since I am the proverbial idiot when it comes to anything financial, I appreciate this piece of information. It sounds reasonable and like a good thing to me.

    RC: We had evacuees here in Nashville - many arriving by bus.

  17. Spreading out the escrow payments over time also makes sense because that much money has to be invested and that's definitely something to be spread out over time. Also, like Deepwater Horizon, the 20 bil is not capped

    Receivership would be a mess. Apologies for flogging my blog, but I wrote about the potential issues in detail here. Incidentally, receivership would give the government at least partial responsibility for BP's share price. Is that something we want?

    Tnlib, there's a difference between being rage and measured criticism, and there's far too much inexplicable rage coming from the left. It's like they've totally forgotten the Bush years.

    We had Katrina/Federal Flood refugees in Seattle. Texas as a whole performed nobly; Bill White was exemplary. The Saints played in San Antonio and had a great logo: New Orleans SAints.

  18. K: Not only do the libs forget the Bush years, they don't stop to think what it would have been like under a McCain/Palin administration.

  19. my favorite part is all the trashing people like Barton, Barbour and Bachmann are doing --- do they really expect the "small people" to be glad they are saying BP keep the 20 billion

  20. Distributo: I think it's called shooting yourself in the foot and it's bound to hurt the Republicans.

  21. All of the criticism being thrown at Obama reminds me of the Clinton joke. (and it was probably a joke before Clinton.) It goes like this:

    Clinton and the Pope are in a rowboat and the wind blows the Pope's beanie off his head. Clinton gets out of the boat, walks across the water and retrieves the hat and gives it to the Pope. When Newt Gingrich heard about it he said, "See? I told you Clinton couldn't swim."

  22. Darlene: Oh, ho, ho. For some reason I haven't heard that one or if I did I've forgotten it. Thanks.

  23. Well, I look at this 'shakedown' this way:

    38,000 people have claims against Mobil/Exxon because of the damage caused by the Exxon Valdez.

    After 21 years they still have not received a dime. Even though the case has been to the Surpreme Court and back nothing has been paid.

    In 2009 a Federal Judge started adding interest to the settlement amount...

    I guess in a way we have learned something from the Exxon Valdez disaster...

    Besides, BP needed the government to take over the payments because that is less things for them to take heat for.

  24. Oso said Putting them in receivership would have been impressive.

    Oso, my friend, my sense of indignity and moral outrage demands such a solution as yours. However, receivership guarantees a lengthly legal battle that does nothing for BP's victims. $20 billion starts to do so. Their needs outweigh my outrage.

  25. TAO is spot on. The cynicism of these guys to tout the court system as the appropriate when they know full well that it tilts the field to BP is staggering. They favor the profits of a foreign company over the economic safety of American citizens. It's a disgrace.