Shakedown or Holding the Company Accountable?

Yesterday, Tony Hayward testified before a congressional committee about the BP oil disaster. His testimony was also a disaster, but that was probably due to the lawyers coaching him on what he could say.

During the opening remarks, Representative Barton decided to apologize to him and BP for the “shakedown” they received at the White House the day before. Representative Markey completely disagreed with him, saying that the President was trying to hold BP responsible for the disaster. Last night on Larry King Live, Ben Stein agreed with Barton while others on the panel argued Markey’s side.

My opinion is that the President did nothing wrong. Instead, he is finally doing something right in this fiasco. He should have been involved months ago, when this happened. He says he was, but I do not believe it. In cases like this, he should have been visibly involved, instead of in Washington holding meetings. I am not saying that he should move to NOLA, like Anderson Cooper of CNN has. I am saying that he should have gone there on morning one to survey what was going on and have a press conference about the plan to address the situation. In the following weeks, he should have held regular conferences and done other visible things to reassure the people he was doing all he could to mitigate the effects of this disaster.

He also should have prepared for something like this. It is apparent to me that he relied too heavily on assumptions here, working too hard to fulfill campaign promises while not fulfilling the most important one: to stop politics as usual in Washington.

Ah, yes, it is easy for me to be an armchair quarterback. Heaven knows I make assumptions all the time, but I was not elected President and I did not make promises to the American people to clean up the government.

What do you think? Shakedown or holding the company accountable?

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