It was Michael Barone who first used the phrase “gangster government” to refer to the Obama administration’s lawlessness. Today he expands on that thought, describing the administration’s actions in the Gulf as “ineffective thuggery.”
Thuggery is unattractive. Ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Barack Obama and his administration to BP’s gulf oil spill.
Barone offers a number of instances of the administration’s ineffective thuggery, from its “boot on the neck” threats to its false claim that its six-month moratorium on Gulf drilling was supported by a panel of engineering experts to its putting organized labor’s interests over those of Gulf residents, and, finally, to its shaking down BP for $20 billion:
It’s pleasing to think that those injured by BP will be paid off speedily, but House Republican Joe Barton had a point, though an impolitic one, when he called this a “shakedown.”
For there already are laws in place that ensure that BP will be held responsible for damages, and the company has said it will comply. So what we have is government transferring property from one party, an admittedly unattractive one, to others, not based on pre-existing laws but on decisions by one man, pay czar Kenneth Feinberg.
Feinberg gets good reviews from everyone. But the Constitution does not command “no person … shall … be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law except by the decision of a person as wise and capable as Kenneth Feinberg.” The Framers stopped at “due process of law.”
The Economist recently compared Obama to Vladimir Putin, Russia’s dictator in all but name. However, as Barone points out, there is a difference: Putin is an effective thug.