The Left’s Political Blindness
As more and more people look at the BP oil spill and draw comparisons to the federal government’s – and Bush’s – handling of hurricane Katrina, a few Stalwart Obama supporters prove that ideology can not only trump common sense, it can overpower the obvious as well.
Take, for instance, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who insists that there is no comparison – that Katrina was predictable, that the government reaction was ineffective and that the effects were long lasting. He points to Obama sending personnel into the area and releasing statements. somehow though he overlooks the fact that none of them actually helped cap the spill, that Bobby Jindal has been begging for help and not getting it, and that he is already being criticized for seeming uninterested in the crisis – prefering, for example, to give an interview about basketball, going to Chicago for Memorial day and appearing at fundraisers instead of at the Memorial service for the workers killed in the accident he is currently ignoring. There is even talk among some people that he is deliberately letting things get worse so he can pass more sweeping legislation in the aftermath.
What Hutchinson doesn’t seem to see is that the BIG issue with the oil spill, as with Katrina, isn’t what happened or what should have happened that matters – it’s what public opinion THINKS should have happened that matters. This blindness leaves him fumbling. It leaves him pointing out that deep water oil spills are rare, AND that more Government oversight is needed AND that most people don’t believe the government CAN prevent another spill AND that the government is too cozy with the oil industry. More importantly, it leaves him admitting that most Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of this disaster right in the middle of the article he wrote solely to try to convince us that we won’t disapprove of his handling of this disaster.
As far as Obama’s actual handling of the disaster goes, Obama’s action is mixed. He didn’t plug the hole, but the government CAN’T plug the hole – it doesn’t have the know-how. It is right to leave that up to BP. He SHOULD be focusing on cleaning up the mess – his Bobby Jindal Brushoff is simply inexcusable. He should be moving Heaven and Earth to keep the spill from reaching shore. And he should DEFINITELY can Minerals Management Service Director Elizabeth Birnbaum. She has been there less than a year and the problems very likely were in place well before she came, but what the department needs is a housecleaning and she simply isn’t up to the job. It remains to be seen what the legislative fallout of this incident is (certainly tighter oversight, but possibly restrictive policies sacrificing our economy for questionable government “protection”), but regardless of that, the public WILL remember the results of what happened NOW – just as the public still remembers how FEMA screwed up even though they were revamped afterwords.
The parallels are very straightforward. While it IS possible that Obama can find a way to avoid having this oil soaked albatross hung around his neck, it is not reasonable to look at the situation and NOT consider the possibility that this is indeed Obama’s Katrina.