Down where I come from -- the part of the country, coincidentally, now being slimed by British Polluters' Gulf gusher -- we have a sayin'.
"Don't let your mouth write checks your ass can't cash."
A variant is the sayin' my old man was quite fond of: "Don't let your mouth overload your ass."
However you put it, it's a concept with which President Obama apparently is unfamiliar. But it's just those funny-talking rubes down in Louisiana, so it doesn't much matter how overdrawn the feds' ass might be, right?
That's because it's stories like this in The Wall Street Journal that illustrate a couple of pertinent things that will come back to kick Obama's in this whole BR-fueled cataclysm. The first pertinent thing for all of us, but particularly Louisiana, is the need to watch what the government does, not listen to what it says.
THE SECOND pertinent thing, thanks to Washington's Gang That Can't Shoot Straight, is a fast-developing crisis of legitimacy for the U.S. government. Answer me this -- if the only thing your government is good for is making things worse after the fit hits the shan, what good is it?
Someone may have told you about this almost a month ago. First Katrina, now this. The evidence mounts.
Sadly, we turn to the Journal's accounting of this latest rhetorical check the president's rear couldn't cash:
BP last week agreed to hand over $20 billion—to cover spill victims such as fishermen and hotel workers who lost wages, and to pay for the cleanup costs—a move some politicians dubbed a "shake down" by the White House. Others have portrayed it as a capitulation by an oil giant responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters in history. A more accurate picture falls somewhere between.BP (AND ITS MONEY) TALKED, and Obama's bulls*** is taking a walk. Maybe the president ought to have scheduled his Oval Office address for after his meeting with the BP executives:
The fund is a big financial hit to BP. But behind the scenes, according to people on both sides of the negotiations, the company achieved victories that appear to have softened the blow.
BP successfully argued it shouldn't be liable for most of the broader economic distress caused by the president's six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. And it fended off demands to pay for restoration of the Gulf coast beyond its prespill conditions.
After the high-profile meeting of administration and BP officials on Wednesday, it was in the interest of neither to discuss such details. BP wanted to look contrite and to make a grand gesture, and the White House wanted to look tough.
President Barack Obama came away touting how BP's money would be handed over quickly and impartially to those hurt by the spill. Not only did BP earmark the $20 billion fund but it promised an additional $100 million for Gulf workers idled by the drilling moratorium.
But BP didn't offer a blank check. The $100 million—0.5% of the total—won't come close to covering collateral damage from the White House's moratorium.
The drilling industry estimates the moratorium will cost rig workers as much as $330 million a month in direct wages, not counting businesses servicing those rigs like machine-shop workers.
BP and its defenders argue that the moratorium was a White House policy decision for which it shouldn't be responsible. The final deal was structured to limit the company's exposure to such claims.
BP negotiators also said the company won't pay for Mr. Obama's pledge to restore the Gulf of Mexico to a condition better than before the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20.
White House officials want to use the oil-spill disaster to implement long-developed plans to restore natural marshlands and waterways. Facing record budget deficits, that pledge could founder with BP balking.
Beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short term, it’s also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region. The oil spill represents just the latest blow to a place that’s already suffered multiple economic disasters and decades of environmental degradation that has led to disappearing wetlands and habitats. And the region still hasn’t recovered from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That’s why we must make a commitment to the Gulf Coast that goes beyond responding to the crisis of the moment.
I make that commitment tonight. Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, who is also a former governor of Mississippi and a son of the Gulf Coast, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists and other Gulf residents. And BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region.
The third part of our response plan is the steps we’re taking to ensure that a disaster like this does not happen again. A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe –- that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken.
That obviously was not the case in the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why. The American people deserve to know why. The families I met with last week who lost their loved ones in the explosion -- these families deserve to know why. And so I’ve established a National Commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place. Already, I’ve issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs, but for the sake of their safety, and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue. And while I urge the Commission to complete its work as quickly as possible, I expect them to do that work thoroughly and impartially.
OF COURSE, the White House will deny the president ever said BP would pay for coastal restoration -- just for "the impact this spill has had on the region."
What the White House will not say is why that underwhelming statement was placed in the same paragraph as the president's overwhelming promise -- one made to be broken when nobody commits to massive taxpayer expenditures to fulfill it. Neither will the federal government compensate the scores of thousands of Louisianians who stand to lose their jobs -- and everything else -- because of Obama's "moratorium" on drilling.
It's amazing how quickly what's not BP's legal problem -- they didn't issue the ban on drilling, after all -- suddenly isn't the administration's political problem, either. It's just Louisiana, a hardscrabble state with a shrinking population . . . which went for the other guy in 2008.
WHAT OBAMA doesn't realize, in his arrogance, is that it is his political problem.
In other words, a president is as good as his word. A government is as legitimate as its word -- or, more importantly, as good as its actions on behalf of its citizens.
Right now, Obama risks becoming known as the liar leading a good-for-nothing government.
And this is "Change"?
God help him -- and all of us, too -- when Americans lose "Hope."