Friday, May 28, 2010

Obama Offers Regret Mixed With Resolve.

They are the three words which most American presidents go to any length to avoid saying; "I was wrong." And yet, yesterday, Obama uttered them.

He strode into the East Room to mount a robust defense of his handling of the largest oil spill in American history, reassuring the nation that he was in charge and would do “whatever is necessary” to stop and clean up the BP leak in the Gulf of Mexico. But by the time he walked out an hour later, he had balanced that with a fairly unusual presidential self-critique.

He was wrong, he said, to assume that oil companies were prepared for the worst as he tried to expand offshore drilling. His team did not move with “sufficient urgency” to reform regulation of the industry. In dealing with BP, his administration “should have pushed them sooner” to provide images of the leak, and “it took too long for us” to measure the size of the spill.

“In case you’re wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility,” Mr. Obama said as he concluded the news conference. “It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right away or the way I’d like it to happen. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to make mistakes. But there shouldn’t be any confusion here. The federal government is fully engaged, and I’m fully engaged.”

The Republicans are, of course, attempting to equate this with Katrina, which strikes me as simply nonsensical.

Their argument, that the private sector is always better than government intervention, was certainly evident by the Bush government's non-response to a national emergency. It was almost as if the Bush administration wanted to prove how useless government could be.

But, in this case, BP is a private sector company. So, what happened to the private sector being better than the government in sorting out this kind of mess?

Obama is apologising for ever having accepted this ludicrous argument in the first place. For ever believing that BP would do what it should do. For taking the kind of hands off approach which Republicans always demand of the government.

To call this "his Katrina" is to reverse the argument which the Republicans always make: that big government should stay out of the way and allow the private sector free reign.

It is their argument which has collapsed here.


Peggy Noonan finally loses her marbles.
The disaster in the Gulf may well spell the political end of the president and his administration.
Wishful thinking from Noonan methinks.

Andrew Sullivan makes the same point I am making, he just does it better:
The premise of Noonan's moronic column is that the federal government, especially the president, should be capable of ending an oil-pipe rupture owned and operated by private companies, using technology that only deep-sea oil companies deploy or understand.
And she makes this claim whilst ending her column with this statement:
[W]hen you ask a government far away in Washington to handle everything, it will handle nothing well.
There it is again, this claim that government are useless and only the private sector can act quickly enough in emergency situations. Except it is a private company which has been in charge of this operation for the past thirty days.

Click here for full article.


daveawayfromhome said...

It's not Obama's "Katrina" until he let's the Gulf rot after the disaster, also.

Kel said...

I agree. The comparison strikes me as ludicrous.