Skip to comments.Once a government pet, BP now a capitalist tool
Posted on 06/09/2010 7:04:36 AM PDT by MNJohnnie
As BPs Deepwater Horizon oil rig was sinking on April 22, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was on the phone with allies in his push for climate legislation, telling them he would soon roll out the Senate climate bill with the support of the utility industry and three oil companies including BP, according to the Washington Post.
Kerry never got to have his photo op with BP chief executive Tony Hayward and other regulation-friendly corporate chieftains. Within days, Republican co-sponsor Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., repudiated the bill following a spat about immigration, and Democrats went back to the drawing board.
But the Kerry-BP alliance for an energy bill that included a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gases pokes a hole in a favorite claim of President Obama and his allies in the media that BPs lobbyists have fought fiercely to be left alone. Lobbying records show that BP is no free-market crusader, but instead a close friend of big government whenever it serves the companys bottom line.
While BP has resisted some government interventions, it has lobbied for tax hikes, greenhouse gas restraints, the stimulus bill, the Wall Street bailout, and subsidies for oil pipelines, solar panels, natural gas and biofuels.
Now that BPs oil rig has caused the biggest environmental disaster in American history, the Left is pulling the same bogus trick it did with Enron and AIG: Whenever a company earns universal ire, declare it the poster boy for the free market.
As Democrats fight to advance climate change policies, they are resorting to the misleading tactics they used in their health care and finance efforts: posing as the scourges of the special interests and tarring reform opponents as the stooges of big business.
Expect BP to be public enemy No. 1 in the climate debate.
Theres a problem: BP was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a lobby dedicated to passing a cap-and-trade bill. As the nations largest producer of natural gas, BP saw many ways to profit from climate legislation, notably by persuading Congress to provide subsidies to coal-fired power plants that switched to gas.
In February, BP quit USCAP without giving much of a reason beyond saying the company could lobby more effectively on its own than in a coalition that is increasingly dominated by power companies. Theymade out particularly well in the Houses climate bill, while natural gas producers suffered.
But two months later, BP signed off on Kerrys Senate climate bill, which was hardly a capitalist concoction. One provision BP explicitly backed, according to Congressional Quarterly and other media reports: a higher gas tax. The money would be earmarked for building more highways, thus inducing more driving and more gasoline consumption.
Elsewhere in the green arena, BP has lobbied for and profited from subsidies for biofuels and solar energy, two products that cannot break even without government support. Lobbying records show the company backing solar subsidies including federal funding for solar research. The U.S. Export-Import Bank, a federal agency, is currently financing a BP solar energy project in Argentina.
Ex-Im has also put up taxpayer cash to finance construction of the 1,094-mile Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline carrying oil from the Caspian Sea to Ceyhan, Turkeyagain, profiting BP.
Lobbying records also show BP lobbying on Obamas stimulus bill and Bushs Wall Street bailout. You can guess the oil giant wasnt in league with the Cato Institute or Ron Paul on those.
BP has more Democratic lobbyists than Republicans. It employs the Podesta Group, co-founded by John Podesta, Obamas transition director and confidant. Other BP troops on K Street include Michael Berman, a former top aide to Vice President Walter Mondale; Steven Champlin, former executive director of the House Democratic Caucus; and Matthew LaRocco, who worked in Bill Clintons Interior Department and whose father was a Democratic congressman. Former Republican staffers, such as Reagan alumnus Ken Duberstein, also lobby for BP, but theres no truth to Democratic portrayals of the oil company as an arm of the GOP.
Two patterns have emerged during Obamas presidency: 1) Big business increasingly seeks profits through more government, and 2) Obama nonetheless paints opponents of his intervention as industry shills. BP is just the latest example of this tawdry sleight of hand.
Once a government pet, BP now a capitalist tool
Now that right thar is funny!
There you have it. Follow the money, as always.
What the hell is she doing?
Being "Pro Business" is not the same thing as being "Pro Free Markets". Conservatives too often confuse the former for the latter. That needs to stop.
Some of the worst enemies of liberty sit in CEO offices of major corporations using their money to by influence in DC and choke off competition.
bp’s always advertised daily in the wsj or nyt for global warming.
In one of her excellent books, Ann Coulter talks about Bob Packwood, the former Senator from Oregon.
She opines that as long as he was useful to the Democratic party, he was presented in the liberal media as a “rock ribbed maverick” and so on. He was pro-abortion, and had no problem bashing any Republican in the White House (sounds familiar...)
Once Clinton was elected, the liberals no longer needed good old “Groper Bob”. There was a President in power who would preserver abortion at all costs including the veto where needed, so they torpedoed him and sunk him.
Thing was, his slobbering overtures to the women who worked for him were well known to everyone for years, but as long as he was a useful idiot, a reliable vote to keep abortion, and a vocal critic of Republicans in power, everyone in the media, the feminist movement and the government looked the other way.
I see the parallel here with BP.
When they needed the money and political cover for cap and trade, the stimulus, etc. and they were reliably on board with the green BS agenda, they were the favorite child of liberals.
Once this disaster hit, all the things the liberals want to accomplish, could be be done in the name of protecting the environment from disasters like the BP spill.
Obama was already in office and there is a liberal majority. They don’t need the dirty BP money now.
They could use this spill to advance severe restrictions on domestic energy production and didn’t need any corporate “green” help from an entity like BP.
Basically, they could toss BP aside, they had outlived their usefulness.
Like Bob Packwood, BP is the same company today that they were two months ago. But overnight, as Ann Coulter said of Bob Packwood, they have been transformed from the corporate equivalent of a “Rock Ribbed Maverick” into the “Groper Bob” equivalent of a “graceless clod”.
I despised them for those "Beyond Petroleum" tv ads. Not that there's anything wrong with thinking of yourself as an energy company and working with other energy sources as appropriate, but the whole tenor of the ads was essentially a full retreat before envirowhackos and implied that petroleum was somehow a not-too-necessary evil and would be retired as soon as feasible. As if they were continuing to produce it reluctantly and that it was a shameful product but necessary for the moment. Assholes.
Wait -- I know that guy! Shamefully, he's from here in AZ, nor Oregon. I don't think his name's Packwood anymore either...
Oh, OK, Pack wood, I get it!
LOL...that is why I had the parenthetic statement (I know...he sounds familiar...:)
I know, but I was already thinking it when I got to that part and couldn’t stand to waste the humor!
I can understand that completely!
“The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there is nothing in the mall and if you don’t go there they shoot you.” - P.J. O’Rourke
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