So, Tony Hayward is on the way out at BP. It was inevitable, given the magnitude of the Gulf oil spill and the tin ear Hayward displayed along the way.
But, as The Wall Street Journal editorializes today (subscription required):
Contrast that with the political realm, where Barney Frank and Chris Dodd had their power increased by the panic that ended up electing more Democrats. Their punishment for protecting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for years was to be able to rewrite the rules for all of American finance. That’s some business model. At least Mr. Dodd has faced the rough justice of being run out of one more re-election campaign thanks to his sweetheart mortgage from Countrywide Financial.
Regarding the Gulf oil spill, Mr. Obama’s Interior Secretary has removed one bureaucrat (whom he had earlier appointed) but that’s about it. Our point is that it is certainly fair for Mr. Hayward to take the fall, and the timing is right given that the leak now seems on its way to being contained. We only wish there was a similar culture of accountability in government, especially in Congress.
Of course, firing Hayward will not absolve BP of blame or responsibility in the spill. But at least the company, unlike our leaders in Washington, understand that it’s a necessary step.