The first signs of a tougher stance toward BP came last week when Obama said there had been a "scandalously close" relationship between oil companies and the agency that regulates them. He also announced that a commission will conduct a six-month investigation into the BP spill.
But what about the scandalously close relationship between the White House and federal prosecutors during the George W. Bush administration? What about a commission to investigate numerous highly publicized political prosecutions during the Bush years?
We've already seen signs that the "look forward, not backward" approach on Bush-era crimes is a political loser. And the BP investigation shows that such a policy is a clear ethical loser, as well.
While we suspect that most Americans will welcome the probe into the oil-spill disaster, it should raise serious questions about a double standard in the Obama Justice Department.
What message does the White House seem to be sending? "We are tough on BP executives, but not on former Bush executives."
Is that fair or just? Of course not.
Obama's oil-spill commission clearly will be looking "backwards" to investigate wrongdoing that led to disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It's past time for Obama to look "backwards" at another disaster--the one that took place on justice issues during the eight years of the Bush administration.