Saturday, May 29, 2010

Obama and the Great Oil Spill

Obama and Louisiana leaders photo
from Times Picayune
I was busy yesterday writing about the threat of war between North Korea and South Korea, and so I didn't post on President Barack Obama's visit to our area to address the oil spill/leak again. Therefore, I direct you to local coverage here at WWL and here at the Times Picayune/

The TP has a great picture. Talk about your photo op symbolism: Obama, Jindal, Landrieu, and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser and other officials sitting around a big table with their sleeves rolled up. That's a thumbnail left. Check for the larger image.

Today the Picayune features a letter to the editor from Bruce Smith of New Orleans under the title "Louisiana leaders liked oil fine until now."
For 80 years Louisiana has sat up and begged whenever the oil companies whistled; they're already responsible for one slow-motion ecological catastrophe, the gradual destruction of the state's coastal wetlands via canal dredging for transporting rigs and equipment. Yet Louisiana has done little or nothing to hold them to account for that.
Smith gives the governor and other Louisiana politicians a verbal beat down on their hypocrisy. He also commends an opinion piece from Bob Marshall, "Oil disaster brought to you by deregulation."

After I posted on Thursday's Whitehouse press conference, "Obama Takes Responsibility for the Oil Spill Solutions Jam, But He Said A Lot More" and my request for submissions of poetry about the oil spill, Kyle Luke from sent me the video I've embedded near the end of this post. says it wants to give the public video reports of the day's news with analysis from multiple sources to put the news in context. The video below includes snippets of commentary from Fox News and CBS, the Atlantic and the National Review and Wall Street Journal. The video opens with the anchor saying Obama says he takes responsibility for the oil spill. However, Newsy is not the only news outlet playing Obama's speech that way, and he did give the media that sound bite by his phrasing.

Even though politically his opponents and supportive critics don't mind building in the public mind an image of Obama pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico, he did not cause the oil spill as the headline "Obama takes responsibility for the oil spill" connotes. Still, as I said at the New Orleans Literature Examiner, Obama did say Thursday, "Make no mistake: BP is operating at our direction." He's accepting responsibility for the slowness of stopping the leak the way any leader takes responsibility for what others do under his command.

Nungesser's been quoted to say "Thad Allen should resign." Remember that Nungesser is a Louisiana Republican politician. On some level Republicans may hope they can jam up Admiral Thad Allen over the oil spill and paint him as another Michael Brown, the Republican appointee who was crucified over the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

Allen, however, was not appointed to his position as was Brown. He worked for it. He's a U.S. Coast Guard admiral who was commended for his effectiveness following Hurricane Katrina, not a presidential crony who got his job via favors.

And I still don't think Obama's response to the oil spill is like George W. Bush's response to Katrina. Bush showed a general lack of concern when he first heard about New Orleans flooding. His administration said it couldn't confirm the city had flooded even though the world was watching it flood on CNN.

In no way can Bush's ignorance ignorance of common knowledge and his initial lack of concern about Americans suffering comparable to Obama not understanding details of science and technology about stopping an oil leak. Yet, some see it as the same.

The federal government has an agency to help clean up after natural disasters like hurricanes. It does not have an agency with the technology BP has to clean up an oil spill. I'm not sure what the people expect the president to do other than yell and maybe start sanctioning BP financially in some way. If he were to start yelling, however, Fox News would no doubt play that as Obama is unraveling or perhaps play its ever handy Look!-another-overly-emotional-black-person card.

Maybe people want Obama to send the military in to lay more boom? Maybe they want to see him in the ocean laying boom himself? I don't know. Progressives and conservatives alike are angry at him, expecting him to do more.

I find conservative criticism to be no more than political grandstanding here because most conservatives have been pro offshore oil drilling and anti-government involvement in business. Now that a business has screwed up the environment with offshore oil drilling, they want the government all in the mix fixing a problem it didn't create except that it went along with conservatives and allowed offshore oil drilling.

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by

I recommend you check the New Orleans Ladder for its usual great round-up of links on the oil spill, and the NOLA Defender has commentary on Jindal and Nungesser's "plan" to stop the oil spill, "Battle of the Berm." From its own description, "Founded back in early 2010, the NOLA defender is the result of a long night of drinking and speculating about the best strategies for securing love and pleasure in New Orleans."


Can-Can said...

Great info and analysis as usual.

Vérité Parlant said...

Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

Gallup polls show that support for offshore drilling has drop 20 points in 2 months.

The chances are that those figures will drop even further as the oil starts taking its toll on the beaches and wildlife.

Interestingly Republican support for drilling hasn’t move much at all dispite the devastation . Most of the drop in support is coming from independents and Democrats who once supported offshore drilling.

Although several high profile Republican candidates , sensing the change in the wind, have switched sides…especially in California…most Republicans are sticking to their guns. Keep drilling no matter what the environmental costs.

Even the worst environmental disaster in US history isn’t enough to move Republicans off their religious ferver for “Drill Baby Drill”

For Republicans the addiction to oil is a very difficult habit to kick. But As long as those blobs of oil aren’t washing up into THEIR swimming pools….There is no price too steep to pay for more oil