Last night, David Axelrod appeared on Hardball and rationally enumerated the various steps the administration is taking in dealing with the Gulf disaster. Maybe in the long run I’ll appreciate the calmness at this stage, but throughout the interview I was saying to myself, “Enough with ‘we’re working with BP and Secretary Chu is brainstorming ideas!’ Get angry at BP, White House! They’re walking all over us!”
There is much to be said about calm pragmatism, and it’s one of the traits I admire most about the president. But the president, from time to time, has a responsibility to speak for us. It’s one of the historical expectations we have for our chief executive. And right now, we all feel helpless. We all feel manipulated by Big Oil and BP. We feel like we’re not getting the full story. BP is brazenly ignoring directives on Corexit while attempting to whitewash the tragedy. They’re not being forthcoming about efforts to stop the gushers, and they put an enormous ecosystem — say nothing of American jobs — in jeopardy in order to expand their profit margins with cheap corner-cutting.
They don’t deserve a light touch. They deserve the wrath of the bully pulpit.
So imagine my surprise when attorney Mike Papantonio appeared on Hardball immediately following Axelrod and emphatically outlined the same thing.
Adding… I should clarify that I’m not necessarily asking the president to do anything out of character. At this point, however, it appears as though the White House is being manhandled and brazenly ignored by BP. And, by proxy, so are we. All I’m suggesting is for the White House to throw into the mix a dose of sympathetic outrage at BP’s hubris and delay. This is a piece of the response puzzle that I think they’re neglecting.