What does is mean to “hold BP accountable”? We have heard this phrase over an over during the past month, as the Federal government responds to the Gulf crisis. We heard figures like $20 billion “slush fund for claims.” We even heard BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward, get grilled before a congressional committee hearing. But is this accountability? As I listened to the hearing on C-SPAN, my sense was that this was a slap on the wrist. Mr. Hayward took his punishment (6 hours of lecturing), and had about five responses ready; and he found a way to use these responses in just about every question. We need more from congress.
One thing that seems certain. It is not Obama’s Katrina, Iraq War, Mission Accomplished, My Pet Goat, or Enron. It is BP’s oil spill. But in the minds of Americans, it could quickly become Obama’s “poorly managed spill” if the current effort does not make progress soon.