Is the oil spill becoming Obama’s “Katrina”?
Yes, yes, I know the comparison isn’t perfect – loss of life and property, etc. – but I’m speaking of it in a political sense and not making a direct comparison. What the administration essentially ignored and then became reluctantly involved in has now mushroomed into a major political (and environmental) problem for them.
Certainly, just as President Bush wasn’t responsible for the hurricane that hit New Orleans, President Obama isn’t responsible for the oil spill (Bush is – okay, I couldn’t resist). The response to the disasters is what they are both graded upon. Whether true or not, the federal response to Katrina was painted in the press as slow and lacking in urgency. I can’t imagine, given this has been going on for 36 days or so, and the seeming lackadaisical attitude demonstrated until recently that the federal response to this has been much better in that regard. In fact, some may claim it is worse.
People everywhere are really beginning to notice – out in flyover land and among his own party’s politicians.
Right now, all hope is of a quick resolution is centered on this attempted “top kill” procedure which, if it works, will fill the drill hole with mud and finally cement within 12 to 48 hours. I, for one, hope like hell it works. As one of BP’s techs said, we could know it won’t work within a few hours. So the longer we go the better the chances are for success. But that doesn’t end the problem for the administration. It still is faced with a huge cleanup of what has already been pumped out of the well in the preceding days.
However, if the top kill doesn’t work, then we’re probably looking at August before a relief well will be able to take the pressure off this well and allow it to be capped. Contemplating the damage that will do – politically as well as environmentally – is mind boggling.
That brings us to Senator Ben Nelson of Florida, who today suggested that if the top kill fails, Obama needs to just shove BP out of the way and take over the operation:
“If this thing is not fixed today, I think the president doesn’t have any choice and he better go in, completely take over, perhaps with the military in charge, not because the military can do this, but the military has the apparatus, the organization by which it can bring together the civilian agencies of government and to get this thing done,” Nelson said Wednesday morning during an appearance on CNN.
Of course doing that would remove BP as the main fall guy (which they are and should be) and Obama isn’t about to do that. But practically, if Nelson had listened yesterday to a White House press conference in which Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen was asked that same question, he’d have known better:
Yesterday may have been a day to remember in the White House Briefing Room on the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, because of a straightforward answer by the man in charge of the federal spill response, that it’s not time for the feds to take charge from the oil company.
“To push BP out of the way would raise a question; to replace them with what?” said Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen.
That, basically, is the problem the Obama Administration faces. They have the authority, but neither the equipment or the expertice to “push BP out of the way”. Of course no one expects the Ben Nelson’s of this world to do their homework (or realize that the Coast Guard is an armed service that is running the federal response).
In the meantime, it’s not just Republicans complaining of the poor response. Even James Carville has had his fill.
The “political stupidity is unbelievable,” Democratic strategist James Carville said on “Good Morning America” today. “The president doesn’t get down here in the middle of this. … I have no idea of why they didn’t seize this thing. I have no idea of why their attitude was so hands off …”
Uh, it’s a leadership thing, Mr. Carville. I think Frank J summed that problem up best today:
“Plug the damn hole!” That what Obama told people the other day. Because that’s what a leader does. He yells stuff and then stuff gets done. He’s seen it on TV.
GETTING STUFF DONE PLAN
STEP 1: Yell what you want done.
STEP 2: ???
STEP 3: Things get done.
I’m not sure step 2 is actually important.
I wonder why Obama hasn’t used this power before. Like everyone wants the economy to produce more jobs, so I don’t why Obama hasn’t stared the economy in the eye and said, “Create some damn jobs!” I guess he was do busy working on his damn health care.
Anyway, a lot of people thought Obama should be doing something about the oil leak, so this is him doing something. I don’t really get that though; I thought by now we learned that if we have something really important going on, keep him away from it.