When George W. Bush was president, the left believed he could do nothing right and even compared him to Hitler whenever he made a move to protect America.
Now that Barack Obama is president, we have a similar syndrome taking hold among some on the right: Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, claimed that there is something wrong with BP PLC setting aside money in an escrow account to fund the Gulf oil cleanup.
Specifically, he said that Obama had subjected the company to a “shakedown” in order to create the fund.
While Barton retracted his statement under pressure from the House GOP leadership, other conservatives have raised similar objections. Ironically, their position is that instead of setting aside an escrow account, BP should be forced to pay claims through the legal system. These are the same conservatives who rightly bewail excessive litigation in the U.S. and favor tort reform.
When we were kids and accidentally smashed a neighbor’s window with a baseball, our parents expected us to help pay for the damage. BP’s decision to create an escrow account is no different.
By setting aside money for claims, BP hopes to calm capital markets, which hate uncertainty. The idea that the neighbor whose window was smashed should have to resort to the courts to recover the cost of fixing the window conflicts with conservative values that embrace personal responsibility.
For those who have lost their livelihoods because of BP’s recklessness, the suggestion that they should have to depend on the legal system to receive compensation is abhorrent.
The larger picture is that by picking at everything Obama does, conservatives undermine their credibility.
The left loves it when some conservatives claim that Obama was not born in the U.S., even though an announcement of his birth ran at the time in a paper in Hawaii. They see the false claim as an opportunity to discredit any criticism of Obama from the right.
From foreign affairs to the economy, from the war on terror to spending, Obama has turned out to be a disaster, weakening the country. Now that his response to the oil spill is spotlighting his weakness as a manager, Obama is self-destructing. But when conservatives characterize as unfair his move to insure that claims against BP will be paid fairly and promptly, they betray a case of Obama derangement syndrome — and undercut the goal of making him a one-term president.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.
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