Free Markets, Free People

Oil spill – Katrina II? Where is Obama?

Peter Daou has a piece in the Huffington Post discussing the on-going oil spill disaster and asking:

Where is the outrage? Where are the millions marching in the streets, where is the round-the-clock roadblock coverage tracking every moment of the crisis, every effort to plug the leak, every desperate attempt to mitigate the damage?

Where is the White House? Where are Republicans? Where are Democrats? Where is the left? Where is the right? Where is the “fierce urgency of now?”

Where’s Geraldo Rivera on a boat in the Gulf holding up an oily pelican and weeping in his whiskers? Where’s CNN and MSNBC covering every drop of oil gushing from the blown casing with ominous sounding music and an intro that says “Oil Catastrophe, Day 36 of the underwater BP disaster”?

And, where is the government? Of course they’re right where I figured they’d be, but then I don’t have the faith in the magic competence of government that others do seem to have.

Look, I’m on record being displeased with the response of BP specifically and the oil industry in general. I’ve been clear that I think what is going on now is a result of a lack of planning and testing a “go-to-hell” plan that addressed a deep water blowout. And because of that we continue into day whatever of oil gushing from a broken riser and polluting the Gulf of Mexico. There’s no way to play that down. There’s no way to “spin” that. Because of a failure to anticipate this sort of problem and be prepared to mitigate the results, we have anywhere for 5,000+ barrels a day pumping out into the waters of the Gulf.

But that said, where is the government? Well, lucky us, they’re setting up a commission. No, really. A commission.

US President Barack Obama signed an executive order on May 21 creating an independent commission to investigate the Gulf of Mexico crude oil spill and offshore exploration and production. He named former US Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and former US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William K. Reilly as its co-chairmen.

“While there are a number of ongoing investigations, including an independent review by the National Academy of Engineering, the purpose of this commission is to consider both the root causes of the disaster and offer options on what safety and environmental precautions we need to take to prevent a similar disaster from happening again,” the president said on May 22 in his weekly radio address.

Meanwhile, in the Gulf, oil continues to spew, wetlands and marshes are endangered and the EPA is yelling about the toxicity of the dispersant – like the oil will be good for sea life. And Ken Salazar is making noises about “pushing BP out of the way.”

And then what?

Even Daou has picked up on the problem:

Leadership is virtually non-existent. Blaming BP for being greedy and destructive is the least we should do, not the only thing we do. We need to turn the tide once and for all against those whose ideological rigidity is ravaging the planet.

Of course, he and I differ on his plan of action, but we certainly agree on his contention that “leadership is virtually non-existent”. As it has been for 16 month. Instead we’ve gotten staged anger and finger pointing and blame shifting from the President and, mostly, other than the Coast Guard, almost nothing in terms of a reasonable and expected government response to the disaster. Daou is, rightfully I think, very unhappy with the response:

Lawmakers can say that the law mandates BP take responsibility for clean-up and costs; federal officials can list all the things they’re doing to fix the problem; President Obama can launch as many fact-finding commissions as he sees fit. But we shouldn’t be impressed that they are doing what we elected them to do – it’s their job to deal with emergencies promptly and effectively. Far more is called for in this uniquely cataclysmic circumstance: a level of outrage, alarm, intensity and focus worthy of the size and scope of the spill.

But he, and I, are not seeing it. As James Carville said, the administration is treating it as almost an annoyance, keeping them from other things they’d rather be doing.

Daou too believes that to be evident in the administration’s response:

The administration seems miffed and mystified that it is being criticized. After all, it can reel off dozens of swift actions taken in the aftermath of the spill. The White House’s defenders want the spotlight aimed exclusively at BP. But this is a situation where body language and words are just as important as actions. Scheduling an ‘angry’ presidential news conference weeks after oil started gushing into the Gulf waters is exactly the wrong thing to do. Authentic anger isn’t something you turn on for the cameras and leak to the press the previous day.

But this isn’t something new, although it appears that elements of the left are just now catching on to the act – and the lack of leadership. Daou wants to blame all of this on “Green-haters” who’ve managed, apparently, to desensitize politicians and the public to the dangers of those who would rape and destroy the planet. And he’s using this disaster to, as he says, “rise in righteous anger” in order to “salvage and protect our earth”.

It certainly seems he’s angry, and he aims at the usual suspects, but it is interesting to see his inclusion of the Obama administration as part of the problem instead of being part of the solution.

Daou is finally reduced to an emotional appeal after producing his list of those who are responsible for this travesty. Two of the bullets could have come from any green talking point list and were essentially boilerplate nonsense one-over-the-world generalizations. But three of them caught my attention:

# Democratic leaders have been blindsided by this spill, having just come out in favor of offshore drilling to appease Republicans.

# The press and punditry are busy chasing the story du jour.

# Defenders of the administration are loathe to critique it, out of a sense of loyalty.

The first has some substance to it, but it wasn’t “Democratic leaders” who came out in favor of offshore drilling (something I still support – but with the mother of all go-to-hell plans in place first), it was Barack Obama.

And that brings us perfectly to numbers 2 and 3. The reason 2 is occurring is because the media is as much a part of 3 as anyone.

Daou’s overwrought and overstated conclusion give an idea of the depth of damage the non-response may be doing to the Obama administration (remember Carville’s words) among the “green left”:

This isn’t Katrina II, it’s worse. As the oil keeps gushing and the damage keeps growing, we are squandering a rare chance to turn the tide against those whose laziness and greed and ignorance is imperiling every living thing on our wonderful and beautiful – and wounded – planet.

My guess is it will be worse unless BP has some success killing that thing tomorrow. But even then, you still have a huge battle for containment and clean up. Huge.

And where is government?


Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

19 Responses to Oil spill – Katrina II? Where is Obama?

  • DoD has added what it can to the fight, but unfortunately it is not very much.  The Navy has skimmers working in the area and has ships placing booms around the slick.  The Air Force has C-130s in La. right now spraying dispersant but the EPA fight has placed a damper on that.  DoD is doing what it can but, like I said before, we really don’t have much.  The National Guard is helping out their states, trying to protect the shorelines.  Fighting oil slicks really is not what we were meant to do. 

    Additionally we are being hampered directly by the WH; told to shut up and not say much about what we are doing to help.  They truly want all of the blame, everything, to fall on BP’s lap and keep the govt out of it. 

    Parroting your post, the lack of leadership is astonishing, but really doesn’t come as much of a surprise. 

  • It’s not an “annoyance”. It’s a “distraction”. And this is an administration that does not take kindly to being “distracted”.
    Daou appears to be concerned primarily with Obama’s failure to gain political advantage from it: “squandering a rare chance to turn the tide against those whose laziness and greed” blah blah, “turn the tide once and for all against those whose ideological rigidity is ravaging the planet”, blah blah.
    As far as dealing with the actual real physical emergency, he seems to give them good marks on that: “we shouldn’t be impressed that they are doing what we elected them to do – it’s their job to deal with emergencies promptly and effectively”.
    What he wants more of is… emotion! “Far more is called for in this uniquely cataclysmic circumstance: a level of outrage, alarm, intensity and focus worthy of the size and scope of the spill.”
    No, this moron is the most rigid ideologue in the room, and he is a walking illustration of the kind of left-wing narcissism that leads Obama to blow this off because, hey, nothing personal, guys, but he’s got other priorities right now.

  • Government is no where to be seen since if Government  begins to get all huffy and puffy, someone will point out the Government  insituted policies that probably leads to drilling in 5000 ft of water instead of 500.

    And current Government officials, if they had their way, would make it even harder to drill.
    Ergo, silence.
    For reference see:
    1. Government, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
    2.  Government, State and Local Government and Property Taxes.


  • “…the dangers of those who would rape and destroy the planet.” Skip the heavy breathing. In 100,000 years, we will be long gone and the planet will still be here.

  • Wait…..Obama didn’t inherit this leak from Bush?  Unpossible! 

    Obama Administration emergency contingency plan:

    1) Blame Bush
    2) Make a pretty speech
    3) Pose for pictures
    4) Repeat.


    • Lesson three in the Correspondence Leadership Course: Write your name on the Leadership form and mail it in. Remember to receive full credit you must write your name clearly and legibly.
      Your name here: Barrack Barack H. Imeme Obama

    • Don’t forget to add “form a commission” to the list.

  • Worse than Katrina?
    Huh. Expected number of casualties from the spill itself: zero.
    Yeah, that’s pretty horrible.

  • What do we expect from a “community organizer”?  As was asked repeatedly during the campaign (well, by some people, though certainly not MiniTru), what exactly does a “community organizer” do?  Well, we’re seeing it:

    1.  Lots of staged, phony, self-righteous anger

    2.  Lots of blame against big, evil corporations (the better to shake them down for money in the future)

    3.  Not a helluva lot else

    Like that fool Daou, I would also like to know where the breathless, 24/7, cataclysmic, oh-my-gosh-the-world-is-coming-to-an-end coverage is.  O’ course, I really know the answer: MiniTru has gotten the word to keep it down.  Oh, they can report on the spill, but it can’t be allowed to become BIG news, as that would get too many people asking what the hell the government – Imeme and his gang of idiots and thugs – are doing about it.  This might lead to questions about what happened – or DIDN’T happen – before: where are the oil booms that SHOULD have been staged in the Gulf?  What about inspections?  Why did BP get that waiver last year?  What did BP get for all that money they gave to Imeme?

    Can’t have people asking questions like that, so the spill has to be pushed back to page A-3.  It’s news, but not NEWS.

    RetardoDaou appears to be concerned primarily with Obama’s failure to gain political advantage from it: “squandering a rare chance to turn the tide against those whose laziness and greed” blah blah, “turn the tide once and for all against those whose ideological rigidity is ravaging the planet”, blah blah.

    Excellent point.  As I think about it, I wonder if this doesn’t point to some motivation on the part of Imeme and his gang to NOT do anything: the worse this disaster becomes and the longer they can demonize BP and the oil industry, the easier it becomes to ban offshore drilling FOREVER and push their green agenda.

    • Think of all the jobs the clean up will create.   Crab inspectors, sand inspectors, water inspectors, bird inspectors, property inspectors, oil sludge shovelers, insurance adjusters, litigants, litigants lawyers, union organizers to unionize all the inspectors or to insist they all be members OF the inspectors union.  Hotel staff to wait on the plethora of Democratic Senators and Congress Critters who will fly to the Gulf Coast to behold the plight of the downtrodden and victims of evil OIL companies (not just BP who’s at fault, ALLLLLL of them, ALLLL I tell you!!!!!).  Doctors and prefessers and graduate assistants and techs examining the habitat and recommending we never every drill for oil again.  Barney Frank can get in on this somehow too.

      This is a depression era  job bonanza, subsidized by BP and with Congress’s  increase in the tax/barrel oil plan, YOU and me.  It will be wonderful.  We can put a whole bunch of those illegals to work because of course “Americans” won’t want to clean all this shit up and that will help Mexico, which is important for November.
      And since OIL is evil and BAD, we can push for those mega expensive, low or negative ROI plans to go forth with ‘alternative energy’.

      I’m telling you boys someone is about to make a whole lot of money if they can just get behind this in the right way.
      You guys just aren’t thinking hard enough.

      • Yep.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  Here I am, presented with a hypothetical opportunity to create a government boondoggle AND stick it to an entire industry (and, by extension, the American people), and I can’t think outside the box of trying to simply fix the problem as quickly as possible to stop the Gulf Coast from looking like an old garage floor.  I guess I’m just not as clever as the Lightworker, our messiah, the great and powerful Imeme who  can f*ck over whole populations without missing so much as a single stroke in his daily round on the links.

        • Sarc aside, sure it will create jobs, but it will destroy more economically than it will ever create over the long haul.  But the employment of all the temporary inspectors and shovelers and studiers will sure make Imeme’s job numbers look better by August or so, and this time we can make BP (and the consumer) pay for it.

  • I am unclear as to what kind of leadership is needed here. Is it an ‘Oil Spill Czar’ that we need? What exactly would this leader do that is not already being done? Do we really want a government ‘leader’ for this? Is it really a leader that is wanted, or a press secretary/spokesman/scapegoat? 

    As far as I can tell, BP is doing the best it can to stop the leak. I doubt if anyone in government possesses the expertise or experience to do any better. Federal and other governments seem to be doing what they can. I am sure Congress is even now planning hearings on the cause(s), effects of, and response to the spill.   

  • Walter Williams makes a solid point regarding immigration. I am proud of Arizona for the stance they are taking and that we haven’t backed down. The law is clear – Illegal immigrants are illegal, racial profiling is illegal, and we intend on enforcing the laws on the books. It’s nice to see cooler heads remarking on this issue. In light of Game 4 rapidly approaching – Go Suns!!