Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Obama Stoops To Bully

with 17 comments

It's A Tough Job

I suppose it was bound to happen eventually but I am deeply, deeply disappointed in President Obama’s treatment of Tony Hayward.  It’s not worthy of him.

As I’ve written previously, Tony Hayward undoubtedly made some mistakes in his earlier handling of the oil spill crisis but,  apart from two or three minor gaffes (which have no substantive effect on the real issues at all), I’d like to know who could have done any better and how?

As Barack’s biggest fan I’m not going to give up on him.  I’m just sad to see him playing Big Bully Yankee.  It’s undignified, unnecessary and he should reflect on how often when America exercises its power without proper thought it ends up hurting its own.  No country on earth has sustained more friendly fire, blue-on-blue casualties.  I thought the era of dumb and dumber was behind us.

Tony Hayward is a brave man probably doing the most difficult job anyone in the oil industry has ever been faced with.  Obama should be backing him up, not undermining him.  BP shareholders should be asking themselves who they could replace him with.  There is no one with his experience.

17 Responses

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  1. If your neighbor had some sort of accident and garbage was dumped into your front yard every day for over 6 weeks and he repeatedly told you that he was working on it, promising to stop it everyday for 6 weeks, would you get angry and become fed up with him? or, would you sit back, watch the garbage pour in and support him with kind words? I think that you, like most normal people, would threaten to “kick some ass”. Granted, the President should be professional and refrain from making statements such as this. And, as far as BP shareholders not a replacement with Mr. Hayward’s experience, why would anyone want to hire a person with a leadership-performance history similar to Mr Hayward’s of recent weeks?

    Bryan Conner

    June 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    • I understand the anger. I’m angry too and I’m 4-5,000 miles away but I’m dismayed at the way Obama is handling this. The renaming of BP as British Petroleum is almost racist. It’s certainly cheap, irrelevant and pointless. I think Tony Hayward’s doing as good a job as anyione can reasonably expect in uncharted waters. What is your problem with his performance in recent weeks? A few clumsy but meaningless gaffes in an extremely high-stress, very difficult situation? Get real! Give the man a chance – or don’t – sack him if you want. Who’s going to do the job now and are they going to do any better?

      Peter Reynolds

      June 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm

  2. Bryan, in answer to your question to Peter Reynolds, if a neighbour of mine had an accident that was pouring garbage onto my property, I would accept that it was an awful accident and he hadn’t done it on purpose. As Mayor of London, Boris Johnson says, Accidents do happen.

    You say yourself, Obama should be professional and not make angry statements. He should! The effect on the share price of BP is absolutely disastrous, they are suffering horribly, and that will extend to the whole of the UK financial market.

    Blame is pointless. As the Mayor also said, the best thing is to keep cool heads. The main thing is to solve the horrendous problem.


    June 10, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    • Absolutely 100% right!

      Peter Reynolds

      June 10, 2010 at 2:27 pm

  3. A “mistake” you say? Have you looked at pictures from the Gulf lately? Just wait about one year when the “mistake” reaches your shores. It will, scientists predicted it.
    As for Obama’s words,don’t take them too seriously. He is just trying to pretend he cares, like the media instructed him to. You know, to appease the peasants. Don’t worry, he is just acting. Poorly, I might add.


    June 10, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    • Edge, thanks for your comment. I genuinely don’t understand what you’re referring to when you quote me using the word “mistake”. The situation in the Gulf of Mexico is self-evidently a disaster. I said that mistakes have been made in the handling of the crisis – and they have.

      I’m sorry for your cynicism about your President. You sound more like some old, embittered British trade unionist rather than someone from the “land of the free”.

      By the way, I can’t say I’m impressed with the standard of debate on the site we met on ( It seems to be all one-liner sniping and bitching. I hope you’ll continue to contribute here where I hope we can address the real issues.

      Peter Reynolds

      June 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      • There are trade unionists in the so called land of the free too. And they are very embittered with Obama these days as well. I am not one of them but share their distress as well as the distress of all those from the “land of the free” who are less free and worse of in Obama times.
        Any financial distress BP is in is purely self-inflicted. As for the distress they inflicted on us…why bother you with that?


        June 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm

      • So tell me why you gave me so much abuse along with your obnoxious friends on the blog we met on? It was like a bunch of rabid wolves attacking me. I got barred when I was the one being abused! I am genuinely shocked. I learned a lot about America today and I don’t like it.

        Peter Reynolds

        June 10, 2010 at 6:33 pm

  4. Thanks for comment at blog Peter. The tone of the anti British rhetoric has really been dialled up by the British press and our Mayor has made some good comments. People here feel a huge amount of sympathy for the oil tragedy and want BP to do all they can to put this right but there is a huge degree if hypocrisy in Obama’s tone – especially the week of the Bhopal court case coming to light in which noone was held to account and the US company involved paid on $900 per person. 12000 died and 26 years on the areas is still suffering as noone cleaned it up! BP stepped up to the plate immediately, in contrast, and we want them to act responsibly here. But Washington is overdoing things hugely.

    Driving BP into the ground is not going to help anyone. The share price crashing is absolutely crackers. For absolutely NO good reason billions are being wiped off the value of BP and off already damaged pension funds here because of idiotic political posturing. We rely heavily on this company for our pensions. You rely on it for jobs. If it gets crushed under foot by a bellicose Obama then what? How does that even help in the Gulf?

    The scale of the disaster – which might have happened to any oil firm – is actually very small when set against the asset base to cover the costs and overall profits. This is madness, the clean up that needs to happen notwitshatding – the destruction of capital at the hands of a nation desperate for positive investment performance – and frankly, desperate for local oil.


    June 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    • I don’t see how anyone could fail to agree with your very measured analysis. The xenophobia and racism erupting in the US is alarming. Look at the site I refer to where I met “edgeoforever” for a horrifying insight into the way some Americans think and behave.

      Peter Reynolds

      June 10, 2010 at 6:11 pm

  5. Peter you have discovered only a small slice of America, which like all countries has its less-than stellar spots and people.

    We should all remember that high status doesn’t automatically bring with it classy behavior. Pres. Obama is being personally inconvenienced by the oil spill, especially since the blogosphere has been so impertinent as to blow the whistle on his attempt to use the disaster to enact ruinous energy policy. In trying to look tough, Obama merely reminds people he is a product of the Chicago political machine, as are most of his advisers. That is certainly not what he campaigned as, but it is unfortunately how he governs.

    Anyone who thinks BP isn’t doing everything it can think of to stop the oil from leaking doesn’t understand capitalism. Of course, that would be most liberals, who, having forced the creation of an ever-larger regulatory regime, are now trying to blame capitalism for the government crony market they are to blame for.


    June 10, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    • I appreciate you engaging with me on the subject. I am astounded at the venom and aggression in many of your compatriots. I am still on the comments feed from The Confluence and although they barred me hours ago they continue to abuse me by name! What sort of people are they?

      I have broad shoulders though and I value the experience. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

      But all this “cynical, conspiracy theory, everyone has a hidden agenda, everyone’s a cheat” attitude. Does no one have any faith or belief in human nature? And it’s all snipe, snipe, criticise, slander. I don’t think I’ve seen one of these ladies (they mostly seem to be) offer any constructive suggestions or any positive ideas.

      Can you just be direct with me?

      Are you saying that:

      Obama is from a gangster-inspired political background and uses those sort of tactics in government.
      Obama is trying to manipulate the oil spill to force through his own energy policy.
      BP doesn’t want to stop the leak.
      The whole of government is based on cronyism and is corrupt.

      Is that what you mean?

      Peter Reynolds

      June 10, 2010 at 10:19 pm

  6. My late father used to say that Chicago would be the most corrupt city in the USA but for the French having reached New Orleans first. No matter how many officials there are jailed, there are always more to take their places. The sponsors of Chicago’s efforts to nab the Olympics owned most of the land where the venues would be built and stood to make fortunes from it all. That is the place Obama selected. And yes, I do mean that the style he found in Chicago has carried over to his current job.

    Yes, he is trying to use the oil spill to ram through his energy package. He had EPA head Lisa Jackson up on the Hill this week trying to do just that. Unfortunately for her, her agency’s threat finding about carbon doesn’t mention oil spills or much of what she blathered on about. Good politics? Perhaps, but not what I consider good leadership.

    BP is desperate to stop the leak, because it’s a business, and capitalism counts both profits and good will. It will pay dearly for the oil spill in both, but Obama has no business making personal attacks on BP CEO Tony Hayward, and looks appallingly un-presidential doing so and looking for someone’s ass to kick. His behavior is a reminder that great power doesn’t automatically confer high class.

    I don’t think the entire government is based on cronyism and is corrupt. But the simple truth is that the more you regulate an activity, the harder businesses will work to avoid the profit-killing potential of those regulations. In simple terms, government regulators pick winners and losers in the marketplace. They picked a winner when they mandated the use of ethanol and forced taxpayers to subsidize the winner. Meanwhile, first responders must buy far more expensive gasoline without ethanol to use in their vehicles, because ethanol doesn’t stand well — yet another extra cost to the taxpayer.

    Business and industry hire lobbyists to petition the government to avoid being made losers, and hopefully to become winners. When your livelihood is at stake, you are sensible to go at the first points of action — government regulators and Congress. Human nature being what is is, I’m always astonished that anyone is surprised when regulators become too comfortable with those they regulate. The extent and punitive nature of regulations drives the need to avoid being crushed by them.

    In actuality, I know some government workers who are industrious and honest. I also know some ho aren’t and wouldn’t last a day at a private company. It’s unfortunate that government seems to attract more of the latter than the former. I was advised in my youth to get a government job — any government job — with any government, because it meant I wouldn’t have to work very hard and would never be fired. It was excellent advice, but I’ve never regretted not taking it, because my sanity and sense of humor remain intact!


    June 10, 2010 at 10:58 pm

  7. Peter – I am sorry you have been disappointed in Barack Obama. Please don;t view this as a personal attack, but if you had really paid attention to not only his past, but his ego and narcissistic self-aggrandizement when he had ZERO CREDENTIALS for the job, you would have realized he was just not up to the task.

    With some 150 days in the US Senate, someone told him he could be King, and they manipulated the Democratic Primaries to make it so. If you are watching now, as it seems you are, those of us who knew he was not Presidential Material take no glee in saying “I told you so” as it is OUR COUNTRY that is at stake under his inept and haphazard ‘leadership.’ I agree that The Chicago has come to the Potomac, but this is no way to GOVERN. You see, in Chicago they do not govern, they manipulate and threaten and bully. That’s how Obama got the nomination and that is all Obama is doing to Mr. Hayward. It is all he knows. And he is trying to do it to the country – ours AND yours.

    Keep watching. You will see what 18,000,000 Democrats knew – Obama wasn’t ready on Day One – and sadly, he never will be. It’s not in his character.


    June 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm

  8. I will take issue with this quote by Nemesis:
    “The scale of the disaster – which might have happened to any oil firm – is actually very small when set against the asset base to cover the costs and overall profits.”

    You may or may not be correct in the financial capabilities of BP as it relates to this DISASTER, but I take issue with your description of this nightmare as being very small in comparison.

    The known damage alone has completely changed the lives of millions of people along the Gulf Coast States already, and we are only in the beginning stages. As a resident of the Gulf – who can see the water from my window – I cannot even begin to fathom the destruction to our local economies that is yet to crawl out of the once-blue deep. I almost have visions of future maps with “Gulf Dead Zone” imprinted on them and stretching across an area from Galveston to Biloxi to the Florida Keys. The impact is not only economic metrics like tourism, but in the loss of a major part of the US Seafood industry, other oil and gas-related industries, estuaries and breeding grounds for some of the world’s most incredible marine and avian life, and marine barriers to hurricanes. Despite your view that BP has enough money for the “clean up” the psychological and physiological damage to this area, and perhaps to many more up the East Coast cannot be paid for with cash. In more ways than one, WE will be paying for decades.

    And the well is still billowing oil.


    June 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    • I feel deeply for you and your compatriots – although I can never know how you must really feel. It is easy to sit here, four or five thousand miles away, and pontificate.

      I can see a beautiful Dorset valley from my window and if I walk into my garden I can see the Atlantic beyond the Isle Of Portland. I can imagine how distraught I would be if the oil spill was here.

      BP (and anyone else that shares responsibility) must pay fair compensation for all damage – physical, psychological, immediate and long term. It must not “nickle and dime” anyone. Obama and the US media need to stop “nickle and diming” and passing the buck too. He needs to get on with the job and stop grandstanding.

      Peter Reynolds

      June 12, 2010 at 7:13 pm

  9. Peter….as an American I am somewhat dumb about the UK and its workings, I am trying to rectify that…..

    Just want to thank you for the visits and the comments, I always enjoy a good exchange, like the ones I have with my friend Quin….also wanted to let yoiu know that IO will be stopping by your site from time to time…

    Thanx again…..


    June 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm

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