President Obama would have us believe that his administration has been in charge from Day 1, addressing the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He said at his first solo White House press conference in nearly a year that:
I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down. This is what I wake up to in the morning, and this is what I go to bed thinking about – the spill.
Apparently, even Obama’s daughter is waiting for action. According to the President, his daughter Malia knocked on the bathroom door while he was shaving a couple of days ago and asked:
Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?
Of course, as Bill O’Reilly repeatedly points out on The Factor, nobody seriously expects the President of the United States to put on a deep sea diving suit and do a James Bond act to fix the leak. Obama rightly says that it is British Petroleum that has the knowledge, technical expertise, resources and ultimate responsibility to plug the hole. And he said that he was wrong to take BP’s assurances at face value. BP will have to face the consequences of its own decisions to save money at the expense of safety and not adequately plan for the worst case scenario that has ensued.
However, where the Obama administration has failed miserably is in its own response to the crisis.
Democratic strategist James Carville said it best, speaking from Louisiana:
Man, you got to get down here and take control of this and put somebody in charge of this thing and get this thing moving. We’re about to die down here.
I assume that Obama’s plan to briefly interrupt his holiday weekend trip to Chicago for a photo op in Louisiana is not what Carville has in mind.
The Obama administration failed to mobilize in a timely fashion the equipment and ships requested by BP and Louisiana state officials. It is allowing its environmental bureaucrats to slow down remedies to disperse the leaked oil on the grounds that an environmental impact study is needed to be done first. Meanwhile, the spill is already creating the most serious environmental disaster in the nation’s history and anything that can remediate its effects – even with some minor adverse consequences of its own – is better than waiting weeks or months for the completion of an environmental impact study.
More than two weeks after Louisiana’s governor first requested permission to build sand barriers to protect marshes threatened by the oil, Obama finally gave his OK for just half of the 86 miles requested.
During his news conference yesterday, Obama struck back at his critics, saying that they did not know what they were talking about. He took a swipe at the oil industry and at Sarah Palin’s slogan of “drill-baby-drill.” Ironically, if the environmentalist crowd had not succeeded in blocking drilling in Alaska and other locations on land, there might not have been the need to drill for oil so far below sea level. Obama, who had moved to allow expanded drilling just a few weeks before the rig exploded, is now going overboard in the other direction by ordering a suspension of virtually all current and new offshore oil drilling activity until a comprehensive saftey review is completed. Most oil drilling has been done safely for years; yet one of Obama’s only decisive actions is to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Obama also tried to use the failure to plug the hole in the Gulf as another opportunity to plug his cap-and-trade energy bill. All that will do is increase the cost of energy considerably for every American. That is certainly not the kind of hope or change we can believe in.