Reihan Salam takes to the Daily Beast to prove that the new generation of Republicans are just like the last generation of Republicans:
The most despised multinational working in the United States agreed to pay $20 billion over four years into a fund defined to benefit Gulf residents impacted by the spill. Some have characterized this as a shrewd decision on the part of BP CEO Tony Hayward to contain the damage to BP’s reputation. Yet BP has received no assurances on future legal liability and it remains, quite appropriately, on the hook for environmental damages. The Justice Department has already threatened to prosecute BP, and a refusal to play ball on BP’s part would almost certainly have led to an even more aggressive campaign of public vilification, at the very least.
On closer inspection, this doesn’t look like much of a negotiation. Rather, it looks like what one would colloquially refer to as a “shakedown,” in which a stronger party, ignoring the conventions of a good-faith negotiation, all but forces a weaker party to bend to its will. But now that Rep. Joe Barton has, in fact, called the White House agreement a shakedown, he has, despite backtracking and apologizing, taken the political heat off of the president. Somewhere, Rahm Emanuel is smiling.
Oddly enough- Salam writes hundreds of words, but never once manages to explain how setting aside money so that you are capable of paying your future obligations is a shakedown. Because that is what is happening here, not a shakedown. And honestly, it provides BP with a way to stay alive, considering they may owe up to 60 billion for damages in the long run, a sum they would be unable to come up with at one time. Ask BP and her shareholders what they would rather do- set aside money in an escrow account or a forced bankruptcy?
This new generation of Republicans is as wingnutty as the last, and if Douthat and Salam are the next generation, we can expect a couple more decades of GOP policy by soundbite.
*** Update ***
Jeebus. I can’t believe I didn’t figure out the racist dogwhistle in all of this.