David Harsanyi

Your moral bearings obviously have been corrupted by high concentrations of carbon dioxide.

You've gotten past that scandalous word -- "oil" -- for a moment and begun to wonder who gave the administration the authority to shut down a vital regional industry without a shred of scientific evidence or tangible safety concern.

Perhaps it's just that unshakable affection you have for BP (Exxon is also dreamy), but you wonder aloud how the administration has the power to extract $20 billion from a corporate partner -- without congressional or independent oversight or even an executive order -- and then name a political appointee to head up the fund and allow him to mete out the money any way he sees fit.

You're pretty sure, judging from the administration's track record -- from "stimulus" to the health care legislation to fiscal reform and so on -- that it would be patently absurd to trust it could divvy out billions without attaching political considerations.

Then again, you're a coal-lovin' shill. No, it doesn't matter that Barack Obama was the top recipient of BP's political action committee and individual bucks over the past 20 years. It is irrelevant that BP was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership and lobbies for cap-and-trade schemes.

According to The Wall Street Journal, in fact, the administration's compensation fund has a little something for BP, as well. "In the end," the piece states, "one aim of the fund -- and a prime reason BP agreed to it -- will be to minimize lawsuits against the company."

To minimize lawsuits against the company is the function of Kenneth Feinberg -- with imperial experience as auto bailout "compensation czar" -- who went on to say that he "will have to make an offer -- 'You take this amount in full satisfaction of your claim, but only if you waive your right to future litigation.'"

If BP had independently begun to offer similar ultimatums to Gulf-area citizens, rest assured Interior Secretary Ken Salazar would have unleashed one of his boot-to-the-throat smackdowns as he faced off against imaginary enemies near and far.

Salazar was the one who told Congress that experts backed his plan for a blanket moratorium on further deep-water drilling, when experts had said nearly the opposite. (Salazar later apologized.) Many engineers, in fact, warn that shutting down wells and then restarting drilling -- with the migration of drill rigs, technology and human capital -- would only increase risk in the long run.


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.