From Rahm Emanuel’s interview with Jake Tapper, aired Sunday on ABC’s This Week:
TAPPER: Are you satisfied with what BP has done so far in terms of capping the well?
EMANUEL: Well, as you know, there is a test here. OK? BP originally was going to do one relief well. We forced them to do a second relief well. They weren’t going to do that. BP originally had a plan on capturing a certain amount of oil. We forced that, as you know, today’s reports, they’re up to 25,000. By the end of June, we forced them by making them do different things to get up to 50,000 barrels a day.
And by mid-July we think we’ll be — and be able to get them to a point capturing 90 percent of that.
TAPPER: And those relief well…
EMANUEL: And originally…
TAPPER: … by August, do you think they’re going to be working?
EMANUEL: And by — wait a second, and also, Jake, is they originally weren’t thinking about $20 billion. And they originally weren’t thinking about an escrow account and forcing them to do that. There are certain things that they had to be pushed — not certain things, like a lot of things that they had to be pushed to do. And pushed to do faster, more of.
And so when you asked me, do we think the wells will work? Their original plan was only one. We forced them to take a step and have a redundancy in the system, which is what you’re also seeing in the capturing of the oil that’s spewing right now.
They had a system in place, not extensive enough. Not fast enough. So we’ve made them go from 25,000 to 50,000 barrels by the end of this month. And we think by mid-July force — basically making them pick up their game. They can get to 90 percent.
Can anyone explain what’s really going on here? My better judgment says that it’s pretty unlikely that the White House actually “forced” BP to do any of these things. All of them were well within BP’s means, and BP’s apparent capitulation is probably the result of a very well-played round of negotiations between BP (which pretty well knew what it would be told to do, and simply waited for the orders to come from the White House) and the Obama Administration, which assumed that it had “won” but probably got played, big time.
On the other hand, it scares the hell out of me when a top Administration official brags about “forcing” a private company to conduct its business in a certain manner. It doesn’t matter whether the government’s actions were presumed to be “just” or not, we live in a nation where the government is expected to follow due process of law. The Executive branch should not be allowed to interfere with the operation of private businesses through the use of strong-arm tactics. Period.
Related — from Sarah Field at The Daily Caller:
BP is, in all likelihood, chiefly responsible for this disaster. At the same time, the Obama administration’s habit of dragging CEOs before Congress can certainly be seen as pattern of highly calculated government shakedowns.
Just ask Mr. Toyoda. Or the CEO of Humana, who was investigated by the administration, because his company warned customers about the pitfalls of ObamaCare. Or the former CEO of GM who has forced to resign by the administration. A pattern is clearly emerging.
… Our judicial system exists for many reasons, but one of the most obvious is that an independent judiciary is in the best position to consider the facts of a case, look at the evidence, then determine the legitimacy of legal claims. This is, after all, what they do all day.
On the other hand, an Obama administration-run victim compensation fund would be stacked with inexperienced, unaccountable government bureaucrats who are learning the process as they go along. They’re supposed to make fine distinctions between “direct” and “indirect” claims, yet they don’t have the expertise to do so. We don’t do armchair quarterbacking, so why should Congress encourage the Obama administration’s armchair lawyering?
Thomas Sowell is also on the same page:
Many among the public and in the media may think that the issue is simply whether BP’s oil spill has damaged many people, who ought to be compensated. But our government is supposed to be “a government of laws and not of men.” If our laws and our institutions determine that BP ought to pay $20 billion– or $50 billion or $100 billion– then so be it.
But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without “due process of law.” Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.
With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution.
If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don’t believe in Constitutional government. And, without Constitutional government, freedom cannot endure. There will always be a “crisis”– which, as the president’s chief of staff has said, cannot be allowed to “go to waste” as an opportunity to expand the government’s power.
Indeed there is a pattern emerging, and history tells us that unless it is stopped, the outcome will be far different — and far worse — than anyone ever expected.