Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why BP is the Anti-Katrina.

Kevin Drum effortlessly takes apart the right wing notion that the BP oil story is in any way equivalent to Katrina.

This conflates two very different things. Katrina was an example of the type of disaster that the federal government is specifically tasked with handling. And for most of the 90s, it was very good at handling them. But when George Bush became president and Joe Allbaugh became director of FEMA, everything changed. Allbaugh neither knew nor cared about disaster preparedness. For ideological reasons, FEMA was downsized and much of its work outsourced. When Allbaugh left after less than two years on the job, he was replaced by the hapless Michael Brown and the agency was downgraded and broken up yet again. By the time Katrina hit, the upper levels of FEMA were populated largely with political appointees with no disaster preparedness experience and the agency was simply not up to the job of dealing with a huge storm anymore.

The Deepwater Horizon explosion is almost the exact opposite. There is no federal expertise in capping oil blowouts. There is no federal agency tasked specifically with repairing broken well pipes. There is no expectation that the federal government should be able to respond instantly to a disaster like this. There never has been. For better or worse, it's simply not something that's ever been considered the responsibility of the federal government.
They are berating Obama for something which was always the responsibility of the private sector in the first place.


And it's interesting to compare Peggy Noonan's reaction to Bush's presidency after Katrina and what she is saying about Obama's presidency after the oil spill.

“Is the Bush Era over? No, no, no. It has three more years. That’s a long time. History turns on a dime. There is much ahead, and potential for progress.” ~ Peggy Noonan, following the Katrina disaster (via)

“I don’t see how the president’s position and popularity can survive the oil spill.” ~ Peggy Noonan, today

The hypocrisy of these people is breathtaking.

Click here for full article.

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