Rep. Joe Barton's quickly retracted apology to BP for the administration's strong-arm tactics was horribly misconceived. Fundamentally, we don't want a free market and a system of laws to protect corporations, but to protect us from both government and corporations, especially when the two are in league with each other. Corporations like BP tend to be craven, unprincipled, and willing to use government for their own ends - all qualities evident in BP's spectacular green-marketing campaign.
The bigger and more complex government is, the more incentive corporations have to politicize themselves and get in bed with Washington. If they have resources to do it (not everyone can afford Stan Greenberg), they'll protect themselves from the worst while disadvantaging their competitors. This accounts for the corporatist paradox of the Obama administration. The president is so arbitrarily anti-business that The Economist dubs him "Vladimir Obama," yet the same industries he demonizes support key elements of his "reform" agenda.
White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel argues that Barton's apology to BP is the sum total of Republican thought on the economy, and that the fall election is a choice between Obama-style hyperactive government or the depredations of the execrable BP.
To which the only rational answer can be, "None of the above."
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