June 18, 2010

WHAT JOE BARTON WOULD HAVE SAID IF HE WEREN'T HOSTING HIS OWN SHOW:

Congress Showboaters Revel in Hayward Humiliation (Matthew Lynn, 6/18/10, Bloomberg)

As he appeared before members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday to testify on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, [BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward] must have known he would have more chance of walking out of a Stalinist show trial with a full acquittal than he did of emerging back into the Washington daylight with his reputation enhanced.

By the time the hearing finished, it was clear that no one was going to emerge with any credit from this undignified charade. In reality, Hayward should never have agreed to appear before this posturing lynch mob. The committee members showed zero interest in getting to the real causes of the environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf. Instead they were content to score cheap points with a domestic political audience.

There are real political issues to be debated here. How dependent should we be on oil? What risks is society prepared to take to drill for it? How much responsibility for safety rests with companies, and how much with regulators?

The lawmakers weren’t interested in discussing any of that. All they managed to accomplish was to highlight Hayward’s main failing: lack of the necessary verve and aplomb to turn the conversation around.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 18, 2010 11:33 AM
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