Rather than projecting anger by searching for BP asses to kick and concentrating on a technical challenge he can't control, Obama should focus on what government can do. He should be exhibiting calm, cool competence by daily displaying how the federal government is organizing and carrying out the massive cleanup operation this disaster demands. Instead, that role has fallen to the likes of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. He's been pushing federal officials to approve construction of sand berms to protect coastlines, and he's taken to boats to showcase new small-scale but effective measures by locals to skim oil.
Every inch of wetlands polluted, every pelican coated in oil is tragic. But the unrestrained political handwringing has the unintended consequence of damaging the Gulf economy. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour laments that scare stories keep people away from clean beaches in his state.
So, why has Obama be derelict in his duties, and why did this crisis happen, in the first place? Of course, Obama apologists have bent-over-backwards to blame Dubya. However, the writer blew that preposterous notion out of the water:
Obama's troubles have inspired the usual reaction from his supporters -- this whole mess is Bush's fault. Never mind that all the regulatory decisions came on Obama's watch and that his administration had plenty of warnings about the cozy relationship between regulators and oil firms and had time to clean it up.
Whose responsibility is it to head up the clean-up? According to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), that would be you, Obama. Instead of leading a clean-up effort in the Gulf what has he spent his time doing? Putting a halt to all off-shore drilling:
And it turns out that the administration-ordered moratorium on deep-water drilling was based on political considerations, not the advice of National Academy of Engineering experts. This will cost the Gulf economy millions of dollars. Now the administration demands BP pay those lost wages -- losses inflicted by Washington.
As his handling of the crisis is dissected, Obama is reaping what he sowed -- extravagant expectations based on the seminal idea of liberal politics that government is the answer to society's troubles. In a well rupture a mile below the ocean, he and the nation have to face the stark reality of a problem beyond a Washington solution -- no matter whose butt he kicks.
To be fair, this is a difficult crisis for Obama to handle, but that is why we hired him. He can't keep trying to take advantage of every crisis by pushing a liberal agenda that Americans really don't want and will sacrifice today's economy for the outside chance of a better future.