Gulf Oil Spill: Obama Should Do….What?

Posted by | June 3, 2010 12:43 | Filed under: Top Stories

by James Frye

It was announced today that President Obama will be making his third trip to Louisiana to inspect the progress of efforts to stop the catastrophic Gulf oil spill.  Critics will continue to claim he’s not doing enough in 3…2….1….

Let’s face facts here.  For the 8-12 years the Republicans controlled D.C. they did everything they could to reduce oversight and regulation of oil companies by either weakening them outright or reducing the funding for the agencies tasked with overseeing oil drilling to the point where they may as well not have existed.  They privatized the government’s (read: people’s) means to respond to oil spills to the point where we no longer have the equipment or people with the expertise to respond to oil spills.  So, by plan and design, we are in the current situation of having to depend on polluters to clean up their pollution.

In other words, President Obama is dealing with the Gulf oil spill with what little the GOP left him with to do so.

This, of course, is his fault.  That is the current media meme as they try desperately to make an oil spill that came without warning and killed 11 people on the drilling platform into “Obama’s Katrina.”  Never mind that comparing this to an event where the previous administration had five days prior warning that Katrina was on its way, and it killed more than 1,800 people, is ridiculous on its face.   Obama had the Coast Guard at the drilling platform from the start; as an American city was drowning, George Bush was strumming a guitar and having birthday cake with John McCain.

What’s even more ridiculous are the demands that the President show more “emotion” over the oil spill.  A letter written to the New York Times nails it.
(h/t Digby):

To the Editor:

It’s discouraging to see many calling for the president to “get angry” or show more outward emotion regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What would that accomplish?

The president is not some puppet that must lash out as some in the public might find appropriate. He’s the president. And you know what? He’s acting like one.

Dylan J. Taatjes
Boulder, Colo., May 30, 2010

Another letter writer to the NYT notes:

To the Editor:

Re “Once More, With Feeling,” by Maureen Dowd (column, May 30):

Where is it written that the president of the United States should be everyone’s “daddy”?

We elected a president, and this one, for a change, is bright, articulate and coolheaded, and appears to work very hard to understand the troubling problems confronting the United States and most of the world.

This country’s leaders and its people are not participants in a TV reality show or Facebook “friends.” There are many serious issues to be addressed and we do not need a weepy, angry, emotional president “feeling” his way to solutions. It is a dearth of critical thinking, contingency planning and discipline that has brought us to our present sorry state.

Barbara Hood
Louisville, Ky., May 31, 2010

The calls for the President to go emo is also a trap:  he’s already being called too detached for responding to this crisis relatively cooly, if he were to show some righteous rage in public his critics would claim he was too emotionally unstable to be president.  I say if these critics want drama, they should go to the theater and watch one.

President Obama is doing the best he can with what he’s got to work with when it comes to the oil spill.  I understand that people are impatient to get the oil raging into the ocean stopped and the clean-up afterward be done quickly.  Unfortunately, like the other problems the Republicans left behind to be dealt with, this isn’t going to be fixed soon, either.

At least this time we know the grown-ups are in charge and on it.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: James Frye

Long time progressive activist in the Pacific Northwest and self-studying student of politics

Leave a Reply