Saturday, June 26, 2010


I haven't been watching TV much recently, so if this has been reported and I just missed it, forgive me. But it seems that the plan Obama has hammered out with BP re the Gulf oil compensation plan is an AMAZING accomplishment.

Under present law (thanks again, Bush-Cheney admin), an oil company can only be held liable for $54 million in claims. WA Senator Patty Murray is trying to change that with a new bill, but in the meantime, that's the law/regulation or whatever you want to call it.

Obama has gotten BP to fund a $20B fund to pay the people hurt by the Gulf oil disaster -- and it isn't just $20B, according to Ken Feingold, who is administering it.  It's replenishable by BP if $20B isn't enough -- and as the efforts to stop the flow have failed miserably, it may be necessary to pay fishermen, shrimpers, hotel chains and other tourist industries who depend on tourism, etc. for numerous decades.

This is HUGE. This is so huge, in fact, that some GOP folks are calling it a "shakedown."  One GOP fellow has apologized to BP for the inconvenience of being required to help beyond what is actually required of them. 

Kudos to BP for agreeing -- but the greatest kudos go to Obama's folks, who doggedly pursued them, cajoled them, and reminded them that this disaster is a public relations nighmare and that only by doing the right thing could they ever redeem themselves as a company in the eyes of the world.  That must have taken some doing...  That's diplomacy (or clout) of the highest order. 

Because of the way this has been handled, the American taxpayer shouldn't have to put out an extra dime to rescue the Gulf; BP had agreed that they made the mess, and they'll clean it up.

So in addition to health care reform, mitigating a global financial meltdown, smacking Wall Street upside the head and almost 100 other things this administration has done, it has also had our backs during this presently-unmitigated catastrophe in the gulf.  The oil continues to gush, the white sands of Florida continue to turn foul,  people continue to hurt and fish, foul and mammalian wildlife contine to die, but one thing is certain: Obama is focused on what CAN be done to make certain something like this will be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence and then WHEN it occurs, the companies responsible will honor their moral and ethical reponsibility to fix it, whatever it takes, for however long it takes.

That's leadership. That's quick-witted strategy. That's the fellow I voted for.  I have never been more proud of a vote in my lifetime.

I hope every other person who voted DEM in 2008 will take stock of what has been accomplished against enormous, vitriolic odds and realize that this administration is getting results. In just 18 months we're a helluva lot farther along than we "should" be, given the virulent attacks and stonewalling of the other major party.  And it's only the beginning, as long as we turn out in large numbers this year again and use the ballot to proclaim, "Good job!  Keep it up!"

I hope Obama supporters will get busy following the 4th of July and volunteer to make phone calls, go canvassing, and reach out to friends and family to underscore to all you meet that you've seen what can be done when you have representatives in Congress and elsewhere who have ours backs and who do the right thing, even when it's hard...

No comments: