Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just Blame it on BP

The President's response to the oil spill in the Gulf has demonstrated clearly how removed he is from the mass of his constituents. Criticised for his odd detachment early on, he responds with choreographed visits notable for their awkwardness. His response to calls for Presidential leadership is to adopt a truculent stance toward BP, thereby antagonizing the already touchy Brits and sending the stock price of same tumbling further. And while he may congratulate himself for holding BP "accountable," including the extralegal demand for the company to set up a fund for claims to include those created by the President's moratorium on drilling and whats left of the Gulf economy; he fails to see that when BP is forced to declare bankruptcy, it is the taxpayer who will foot the bill.

Pending "plugging the hole," what is missing is a no holds barred approach to the effects of the spill. Tonight in his speech, he trots out the notorious berms in Louisiana. Very nice. Of course, Gov. Jindal had to plead on every news outlet for weeks and threaten civil disobedience to get permission from the Army Corps of Engineers. Assistance from countries conversant with deep sea drilling has been turned down. Apparently, no one asked for a waiver of the Jones Act. Booms and other equipment to ameliorate the effects on the coastline sit in warehouses thousands of miles away. Where have processes been streamlined to allow communities to defend their beaches? Is this all BP's fault? Who is the kick ass Honore here?

Alas, our President lives in his head and lacks the "common touch" of his predecessors. His is a lawyerly bent. It doesn't necessarily make him a bad person, but it does not make him a particularly good leader in a crisis.

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