It appears Barack Obama has turned that corner that all presidents must go ’round at some point in their administration: the change from proactive policy making to reactive personal defense.
Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill catastrophe has put a very sharp point on the accusations that he is indecisive and out of touch with everyday America. Now that the “Top Kill” process is declared a failure, and the large finger of public anger is pointing at the government, the message from the administration has become one of assuring us they have been involved with the crisis “since day one”.
This phrase “since day one” is now being repeated by the President on down to Coast Guard representatives. It has become their mantra in the hope of hypnotizing the public into thinking the Gulf spill isn’t Obama’s Katrina.
The spill is making for some strange bedfellows. Democrat guru James Carville and his Republican guru wife Mary Matalin have both been interviewed from the beach in Louisiana, holding-up their oil-stained hands and imploring Obama to step up and take control of the situation. This has put the administration in the awkward position of portraying one of the Democrat elite as uninformed. And it has left the Republicans with some bad choices: do they say they agree with James Carville, whom they consider as the right-hand man to The Anti-Christ, or do they deny Carville’s position and appear to agree with Obama? Can they just agree with Matalin and ignore Carville, when the two come as a package opinion? For safety’s sake the Republicans have chosen to focus on the Joe Sestak-Bill Clinton-Rham Emanuel affair, and seem to be ignoring the largest man-made ecological disaster in history. This will come back to haunt them in the future.
For the present there seems to be no direction, no leadership (other than British Petroleum’s self-serving brand), and no real progress in dealing with the Gulf disaster. On the beach the anti-drilling forces are pointing to the spill as proof that offshore drilling is madness, while pro-drilling forces are urging the government to lift the current drilling moratorium so they can safeguard profits and jobs. Local Gulf coast politicians seem to be powerless to influence the situation, and are alternately screaming, crying, or simply standing by wringing their hands as elections loom in the near future.
Meanwhile the beaches and the marshlands are being inundated with crude oil. Fish, sea mammals, and aquatic birds are dying, and currents are carrying the oil farther and farther out into the eco-system, threatening Cuba, the Bahamas, Eastern Florida, and perhaps the entire Eastern seaboard of the U.S.
Did the administration factor that in “since day one”?