The president may have wrestled Afghanistan and Iraq to shaky standoffs, but the newest skirmish in the heads-up display of Air Force One shows him losing the third Gulf War, and losing badly. Taking shots from both sides -- from both sides.
Republicans are yelling at Obama for holding BP responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaste, AND for not doing enough to clean it up. That man sure is a geographic oddity. On two wrong sides of the same issue. Which ain't easy.
The main burst of charges that Obama is scapegoating British Petroleum are oozing from the newest Republican Senate candidate from Kentucky, Rand Paul. A man naturally disposed to disturbing people with both his views and his coif. Please, someone, have the simple common human decency to tell him that 1985 is calling, and it wants its hair back. Not even Lyle Lovett wears it like that anymore. Anthony Geary, maybe.
But I digress. Calls are streaming across the aisle for the president to ignore BP's jurisdictional claims and have the military take over. Because people suspect BP cannot be trusted. About anything. If they smile and say, "Hello," check your back for shards of a malfunctioning Blowout Protector. "We're trying our best." We are familiar with your best. Your best sucks.
Top Kill was supposed to take 12 hours, then 24, 48 and now 96. You don't have to be Stephen Hawking to spot a mathematical progression here. 12,288 is a mere seven press conferences spewed down the line. They didn't want the video feed to go public, because even you and I and your 5-year-old helper-monkey would see the ferocious gushing and realize, "Whoa, that's more than 5,000 gallons a day. That's 5,000 gallons a frame. Where's my banana?"
BP's sole object is protecting profit. Covering corporate butt. In the last six weeks, not a single word that has leaked out of their mouths has been true. Eventually, they will divest themselves of all U.S. assets, change their name and seep offshore to escape financial culpability in the courts, but until then, the main object is to deflect blame, keeping responsibility to a minimum. And when I say responsibility, I mean money. The ultimate lubricant.
BP is not concerned with plugging or cleaning or stopping or fixing or reimbursing, except for how it affects the quarterly dividend. To that end, they will lie and deny and in-comply and do whatever it takes. They will lie about what happened, what is happening and what will happen. They will lie because that is the culture in which corporations live. They will lie because it is their nature. They will lie because they're good at it. They will lie to stay in practice. They will lie about lying. Offer up proof.
They will lie. They will claim it was their evil twin. Remember when this all started on Earth Day and they said there was no leak. Why? Because they were hoping to get it under control and nobody would be the wiser.
Some people are calling for a boycott of BP. Not enough. Don't just boycott British Petroleum; ride a bicycle to one of their stations, seize their toilet paper assets and send them to the Gulf. To help clean up. If Obama and the Oil Flushers can't do the right thing, we'll do it for them. Then stay on that bicycle for as long as you can.
Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who often writes. This being an indignant example. Durst has performed around the world, and is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.