From Daniel Larison, writing in the American Conservative magazine about the right’s “shakedown” talk about the $20 BP fund:
It appears that the corporation responsible for the spill is attempting to take responsibility for the consequences of its negligence, and it doesn’t appear that much coercion was involved. I can understand that Reihan does not want to encourage a spirit of vindictiveness, and he probably doesn’t want to encourage anti-corporate populism that this spill has been fueling (if you’ll pardon the expression), but anything less than some gesture from BP like this one would have ensured that both would have become much stronger. I haven’t heard such tone-deaf arguments from the right since the Republican leadership was rallying around the financial industry to defeat a financial regulation bill that made major financial firms responsible for covering liquidation costs of failing firms. Back then we heard about how it was a fund for “endless bailouts,” and today we hear that this fund is a shakedown. There are other similarities between the two cases, except that in this case many people on the right are trying to be more pro-corporate than the corporation under scrutiny. Even if it this weren’t politically insane given the public’s mood, it would still be wrong on the merits.