Tom Foreman | BIO
“WHAT WOULD TONY DO?”
LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT #516
I don’t know if President Obama was a Sopranos fan, but if he were…well, who knows what he might be doing with the BP crowd. I was thinking about that as I wrote today’s letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
I know that I said I would not write about the whole Gulf oil spill thing for a few days, but I was chatting with one of my daughters and she suggested an idea that has been ping ponging around in my head: How would Tony Soprano handle a situation like this? I realize we can’t really look to fictional mobsters to sort out our problems, but imagining it sure can be fun.
FADE IN: GRAND ISLE, LOUISIANA; WEATHERED FISH CAMP SHACK, OLD BOAT OUTSIDE, DISSOLVE TO BARE INTERIOR – TONY AND HIS CREW GATHERED AROUND PLYWOOD TABLE.
Tony: Alright, Sil, bring this guy in. I’ve got a thing back home that I have to get to and I don’t want to spend all night out here.
Silvio: You got it, T. I already told him, we’re not too happy about this and he needs to show some respect; don’t waste our time.
ENTER TONY HAYWARD, BP CEO
Hayward: Hello. I want to thank you for taking time to see me…uh…
Hayward: You said Tony.
Tony: Yeah. That’s my name.
Hayward: Oh. That’s my name too. Funny, isn’t it?
Silvio: It’s hysterical. Maybe you don’t yet appreciate that this is not a jocular moment.
Paulie: Maybe you need a little late night tour of the wetlands, if you know what I mean. I got a few pelican pals who might like meet you…
Hayward: No! No, Tony. I mean, no Tony sir. Sir Tony. I know what it’s like out there.
Tony: You do? Really? ‘Cause the way you been actin’ has me wondering. I mean, a lot of my friends and associates here have been hurtin’ because of your screw up, and I need to know what you’re going to do to make it right.
Hayward: Well, as you know we’ve installed a cap which is capturing a great deal of the escaping oil and gas…
Tony: Yeah, like my old Aunt Adriana. But as I understand it, you still don’t know how much oil is even coming up.
Hayward: We’ve been working on that…
Silvio: And I’ve been working on a shallow hole back on Bayou Teche.
Hayward: Hmmm. I see what you mean.
Tony: No, I don’t think you do. If you did, you wouldn’t have the nerve to waltz in here almost two months after this mess started wit’ out even a good idea how much mess we’re dealin’ wit.’ Any thoughts on that, Einstein?
Hayward: Maybe we could install some devices to figure out how much oil is escaping so we’ll know how much we have to contain.
Paulie: (to Tony) I’m beginning to think BP stands for Beyond Pathetic. You gotta do better than that, Sport.
Hayward: And I guess we could put 20 billion dollars into an escrow account to pay for the damages.
Tony: Escrow account? 20 billion? And what if the damages actually add up to more than that?
Hayward: We’d be willing to discuss the next steps if that should turn out to be the case.
Silvio: (turning away in disgust) Jeesh, this guy!
Paulie: That’s it. I’m getting a shovel.
Tony: There’s not going to be any escrow. There’s not going to be any discussion. You are going to pay for all the damage; today, tomorrow, and fifty years from now if that’s what it takes. And I’ll decide what constitutes damages. You made this happen, and I don’t care if it bankrupts your company, makes you sell off every last dinghy, and leaves you personally living under an overpass on the east side of New Orleans and shining shoes for a living.
Hayward: But our stock will be in tatters!
Silvio: Yeah, well better it than you, eh, Mr. CEO?
Tony: Alright. I think we understand each other. At least, you better hope we do. (Rising) I gotta go. Next time I see you, you better bring that big oily checkbook and be ready to write a lot of zeroes. And just in case you get some crazy ideas about this not being fair, remember you started it all; you chose this path. Now we’re all going to follow it until it’s finished.
TONY EXITS FOLLOWED BY SILVIO AND PAULIE, WHO PATS HAYWARD ON THE SHOULDER AS THEY LEAVE; HAYWARD SITS AT PLYWOOD TABLE HEAD IN HANDS. HE LOOKS DOWN AND SEES A SMALL PUDDLE OF OIL SEEPING THROUGH THE FLOORBOARDS AROUND HIS FEET. FADE OUT
Like I said, we can’t really count on make-believe mobster justice at times like this. But lately it seems like we can’t count on official, real justice much either. So at least this gives us a laugh along the way. Hope all is well. Call if you get a moment. And speaking of justice, you know that I rarely complain about officiating in sports, but did you see those ridiculous rulings by the referee from Mali in that US/Slovenia World Cup match? We were robbed.
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