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The decisive action Obama can take

As I noted this morning, there's been a palpable shift in the tone of media coverage of Obama's handling of the Gulf spill, with newly-aggressive news orgs raising more questions about whether the admistration has ceded too much control to BP.

The White House is very sensitive about this line of criticism, which is why Obama advisers release a daily fusillade of fact cheets, photos of Obama in action, and other such materials designed to show that he's on top of the crisis.

But it seems to me there's another solution to this perception problem. Maybe Obama should take an additional path of decisive action that clearly is an option right now, which is to use the crisis to rally the public towards real energy reform.

It has already been pointed out a million times that he's failed to use the spill to meaningfully rally the public behind the Senate's climate change efforts. What needs to be added is that doing this -- in addition to helping the planet -- could help solve his current political problem, which is that questions are mounting about his response to this crisis in particular.

Reasonable people can disagree as to whether there's more the White House could be doing to stem the current crisis. For the sake of argument, let's say the White House is right: There's nothing more in the way of decisive action Obama can take in response to the disaster.

If that's so, Obama may as well take another course of decisive action that is open to him: Seize this opportunity to shift the energy reform debate once and for all. If there's little more that can be done to address the current problem, as massive as it is, time to go big and tackle the even larger, underlying one.

UPDATE, 3:24 p.m.: The White House has just announced that Obama is headed to the Gulf Coast, and in its statement, reminds us of the aggressiveness of the administration's response:

On Friday morning, May 28, President Barack Obama will travel from Chicago to the Louisiana Gulf Coast to assess the latest efforts to counter the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Administration has mobilized one of the largest responses to a catastrophic event in history, with more than 1,200 vessels in the region and more than 22,000 people, including many of the brightest scientific minds from both the public and private sector, working around the clock to mitigate the oil's impact.

Yes, and if Obama seized the moment to rally the public more broadly behind energy reform, it would add to the sense of an aggressive response to this crisis in particular.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 25, 2010; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  Climate change  
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Comments

Amazing how the oil companies and their lapdogs are trying to shift the blame to the Govn't.

BP was wrong on how it used sea water vs. mud.

BP wrong on sinking the rig while trying to put out the fire.

BP wrong on the "fail safe" blowout preventor.

BP wrong on the dome to capture the oil.

BP wrong on the amount coming out of the well.

BP wrong on the oil NOT reaching the shore in substantial levels.

The list goes on and on and Republicans lapdogs are ignorant enough to not place blame on BP for this.

This is BP's fault and a BP caused disaster we will have to deal with. Lets just hope BP can figure out a way to plug up this mess.

So far, all BP's arrogance has gotten us is a destroyed gulf coast.

As Raum mistakenly said out loud in regards to the economic meltdown going on when Obama took over, never let a crisis go to waste.

I'm hoping there will be a strong push for renewables and natural gas.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 25, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Here's what he should do.

The explosion happened ON EARTH DAY.

Release a 1-year plan for a green shift to sustainable energy and larger sustainable society (buildings, food, clothing, fair trade, etc) with target goals for each sector of influence.

And have the end-date be NEXT EARTH DAY.

A 1-year Apollo Project to kick-start the transition off freaking oil once and for freaking all.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 25, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I think the government must force B.P. to stop using chemical dispersants (especially Corexit). Their use of Corexit is unprecedented, and very dangerous. The oil would be easier to track and clean up if they didn't use it.

It appears that B.P. is using Corexit to mask the extent of the spill...on other words for P.R. and legal liability puposes.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/5/15/214741/747

We can't afford to let B.P. screw this up any more than they have already done.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | May 25, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, I like your idea. Well done!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 25, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Americans still support drilling! As long as that's the case Obama won't do diddlie.

Posted by: obrier2 | May 25, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Americans still support drilling!"

Not for long.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Greg: I don't see this huge policy shift happening yet. For better or wore, Obama doesn't work that way.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

OT, breaking at CNN:

President Barack Obama will deploy up to 1,200 more National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico, an administration official told CNN on Tuesday.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 25, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

ON Topic, breaking:

Markey: BP to terminate Gulf oil feed during 'top kill'

“It is outrageous that BP would kill the video feed for the top kill. This BP blackout will obscure a vital moment in this disaster,” Markey said in a statement. “After more than a month of spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP is essentially saying to the American people the solution will not be televised.”

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/25/markey-bp-to-terminate-gulf-oil-feed-during-top-kill

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 25, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

All, see update...Obama headed to Gulf Coast again.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 25, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

TUCSON, Ariz. - The Obama administration plans to announce Tuesday that it will send as many as 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to improve border security, an Arizona congresswoman said.

That's decisive action alright, another bow down to the teabaggers!


Posted by: obrier2 | May 25, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it Rahm who said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

You've got to figure that Obama has already received this advice...

Ooh, Obama concedes on the Arizona border mess - not good for him.

Posted by: sbj3 | May 25, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"Wasn't it Rahm who said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before." You've got to figure that Obama has already received this advice..."

I don't think Obama agrees with Rahm. Obama is an incrementalist who shies from getting ahead of popular opinion. We'll see; maybe this will be different. I sure hope so.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Before anyone here takes sbj's word, or anyone else's, on the border enforcement issue, here's the full statement:

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2010/05/25/2328352.aspx

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 25, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Another OT (since things seem fairly slow at the moment):

Susan Collins came out in favor of repealing DADT

Kendrick Meek blasts out an email strongly in favor of repealing DADT

As far as I can tell, Charlie Crist is opposed to repealing it, saying in Feb 2010, "the current policy has worked, and there is no need to make changes."

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 25, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

OT - A race to watch in Washington State. Note the involvement of Pat Shortbridge in this race and in the Rubio campaign. Shortbridge has long ties to Armey and Freedom Works and was a senior lobbyist for Enron. He's your typical high-level corporate/Republican sleeze.

All of which suggests that this is a campaign that Rove/Gillespie's new organization is going to be targeting.
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37687.html

Posted by: bernielatham | May 25, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

First Read: "Obama will request $500 million "in supplemental funds for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities," including "intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance support; intelligence analysis; immediate support to counternarcotics enforcement; and training capacity until Customs and Border Patrol can recruit and train additional officers and agents to serve on the border."


Soooo, GOP, ball is in your court. Will you approve the funds? Or just say NO?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 25, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

As far as I can tell, Charlie Crist is opposed to repealing it, saying in Feb 2010, "the current policy has worked, and there is no need to make changes."

Guess he plans to not tell then eh?

ba da boom

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 25, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: "Before anyone here takes sbj's word, or anyone else's, on the border enforcement issue..."

I think what you meant to write was, "Don't comment until we can come up with some way to spin this is as a positive..."

Posted by: sbj3 | May 25, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh and Greg, lets call this what it is:

The BP Gulf Spill™.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 25, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm only guessing but maybe the NG troops was the result of a discussion between the President of Mexico and Obama.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 25, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"I'm only guessing but maybe the NG troops was the result of a discussion between the President of Mexico and Obama."

mikefromArlington"

Good guess, I'd say. Violence, drugs, guns, and illegal immigrants. There is a little bit going on down there.

And good one re: Crist the Neo-Democrat.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan....first ditto EVERYTHING you said in your first post about Earth Day etc.

While I support Obama generally and admire him personally I am horribly disappointed in his Afghanistan decision which is increasingly looking like a huge mistake, as well as his failure to help secure a P.O.

Still I do not believe politicians need to be perfect and cannot understand what people like SBJ are looking for in a leader. If a leader reacts and knee jerkers like SBJ immediately refer to any change as a concession how can we make rational course corrections in policy.

I do not believe there is much Obama can do to help contain the oil spill. I do wish he would do a couple of things. First call a consortium of oil producers, Exxon, Shell etc. and remind them their arses are actually on the line along with BP. Perhaps not financially but their business model is certainly imperiled. EVERY oil producing company in the WORLD should be asked to contribute whatever expertise they might be able to share.

Secondly Obama needs to deliver a prime time address. He needs to clarify his concern and admit this crisis is every bit as bad as 9/11. It not only effects the Gulf's ecology and jobs it will do so for the future. As wbgonne has pointed out the pics of the oil covered Pelicans and wetlands are already changing opinions on offshore drilling.

As a part of this address I wish Obama would not just take on energy as Ethan has correctly suggested but also address the fundamental question at the core of most of our debates..HCR..Financial reform..energy...immigration.

Obama needs to tally up all the successes and failure of "big" government. He needs to then do the same thing for big business..showing the Gulf spill and the Wall streets loons wrecking our economy.
He needs to give an education on EXACTLY what constitutes SOCIALISM...and point out what he truly believes government's role our lives should be.

The tea baggers should have their free pass jerked out of their hands RIGHT FREAKING NOW...beginning with the question Suekzoo raised yesterday. We are all for balancing the budget 'baggers...get SPECIFIC...What programs do you wish to cut..what taxes do you wish to raise...no more frivolous marching with effing tea bags hanging from your hats chanting get government out of my health care while you are on Social Security and Medicare.

What I want Obama to do is to tell both Conservatives and Progressives IT'S TIME TO GET REAL!!! NO MORE SOUNDBITES. WTF DO YOU WANT TO CUT AND WHERE DO YOU RAISE TAXES. DO YOU WANT TO SHRINK GOVERNMENT IN A RAND PAUL MANNER AND EMASCULATE REGULATION SO WE CAN HAVE MORE WALL STREET DISASTERS..MORE OIL SPILLS AND MORE DEATHS IN THE MINES?

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 25, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Here we are, everyone, back at that SAME topic: whether government can be a force of good or not in this country. And here we have another example of what consequences await a government that abandons its responsibilities. It's always going to cost more to clean something like this up than it would to regulate firmly and with smart people who have the authority and desire to do their jobs.

Through this crisis I hope one thing that emerges is that government is necessary for our capitalistic system to function. Anything else is nonsense and a fantasy.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 25, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

rukidding7;

Excellent post. I totally agree what Obama must do right now re: the BP Oil Spill. Go on national TV and put the entire oil industry on the hook.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan and wbgonne. Re Crist the neo-democrat.

Certainly that's how R's view him but something strange has happened here in Florida. The minute he announced as an independent and was actually FREE to vote his conscience things improved immediately.
He started vetoing some truly absurd Republican ideas about our education system.
He's vetoed several other pieces of legislation that actually were simply common sense decisions he couldn't make with Rubio and the moron baggers pushing him to the right of Attila the Hun.

Alas Ethan I hate to say it...but after Meek's huge stumble with the Liberty City scandal and Crist's centrist governance since he split with the wacko Florida Republicans...I think Crist is going to win easily. And honestly as a Floridian I don't think that's a bad thing. Perhaps we need more independents not so beholden to either party.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 25, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@Greg - I have no disagreement with your argument up top. The simple fact is that folks who wish to damage this administration will push a narrative now which paints government as ineffective, slow, corrupted etc etc. And it is also the fact that a lot of media will promulgate aspects of this narrative regardless of its validity. Matthews last night, in his interview with Axelrod, represents a typical example.

So it is an unavoidable strategic matter to counter that crafted and/or knee-jerk narrative with another.

The one you suggest has the advantage of not merely placing the blame where it ought to be placed but also pushes policy where it must be pushed if we are to get anywhere towards real climate change policy.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 25, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: "get SPECIFIC...What programs do you wish to cut?"

http://house.gov/budget_republicans/press/cutspendingnow.pdf

Posted by: sbj3 | May 25, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

BGinCHI:

Which explains why the GOP is spinning its wheels trying to attack Obama. Everything they say Obama should be doing or should have done is something they are ideologically opposed to. The country will soon realize that government is a necessary Whether it is good or evil depends on us. On the bright side, the recognition that government is necessary and that we ARE the government will collapse the anti-government foundation of the GOP.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

rukidding7: Yeah, it does look like Crist will win. I hope the Dems have already rounded him up for their caucus. And you're right, a moderate and independent Republican will drive the Senate GOP insane.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@bernie: "will push a narrative now which paints government as ineffective, slow, corrupted"

Would you argue to the contrary? I think even Obama agrees that government is often ineffective, slow, and corrupt!

The dangerous (for Obama) narrative now building is that Obama too often reacts (slowly - "pragmatically") instead of leading.

Posted by: sbj3 | May 25, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Ooh, Obama concedes on the Arizona border mess - not good for him."

Why? What is wrong with this for him? I happen to be virulently against the AZ law but also believe that we need to do a better job of guarding our borders. I do not support illegal immigration but also do not believe that we need to vilify or cruelly treat those that are here.

Please don't say that he's acknowledging that the borders are porous - that's been a problem for years and the blame can hardly be laid at his feet. I seem to recall the Minutemen organizing in response to a Republican administration's failure to act.

People are screaming that the Feds aren't doing anything...and then when they do something, instead of applauding their actions, everyone starts analyzing how it's a sign of weakness. Why is it impossible to believe that something's being done because the administration thinks it's the right and necessary thing to do?

Posted by: schrodingerscat | May 25, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"The dangerous (for Obama) narrative now building is that Obama too often reacts (slowly - "pragmatically") instead of leading."

Quite correct.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

@catgirl: "Why is it impossible to believe that something's being done because the administration thinks it's the right and necessary thing to do?"

What's the term for rolling on the floor laughing my a$$ off?

Life experience has made all of us - on the right and the left - cynics, and rightfully so.

Posted by: sbj3 | May 25, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

SBJ Thanks for the effort but that list is pretty thin gruel. But I will concede this...it's two pages longer than ANYBODY from the Tea Party has presented!!!

Having said that I'm wiling to use it as a starting point. I'm certainly against cutting unused Stimulus funds...that's exactly what made the Japanese recession drag out for a decade...they primed the pump..saw some results and then stopped.
That is also how the R's delayed our complete recovery from the Depression until the largest public spending program EVER WWII saved our bacon. The "New Deal" dropped unemployment from 25% to 15%. The R's in the late 30's said OK it's time to balance the budget let's pull back on all this spending and the unemployment held at 15% until WWII

The line item veto is political posturing by the R's...they co sponsored legislation on Paygo and the Deficit commission and then those very same co sponsors VOTED TO FILIBUSTER THEIR OWN LEGISLATION!

In your heart you have to know SBJ if Obama took that budget word for word and set let's do it...the R's would be against it. Jim Demented, Boner and the rest are more motivated by Obama's waterloo than our nation's success.

BTW SBJ WTF are the cuts in DEFENSE SPENDING. We spend more on DEFENSE than the rest of the countries combined!!!!

Where are the tax increases on the wealthiest amongst us. Do you really believe SBJ that if we took 1 billion of the crooked Wall Street schemer's 3 billion that it would effect the economy.
He produced NOTHING BUT PAPER INVESTMENTS his efforts provided ZERO PRODUCTION for our country...why do we worry about incentivizing him?

And so SBJ if we accepted your spending cuts would you accept taking our tax rates back to the day of that great Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower? Seriously were things that bad in the 50's when the Corps bore 25% of our tax burden instead of the 8% they now pay. When CEO's of those same greedy MFing Corps made 24 times what their average workers made instead of 262 times? Really SBJ do you think it's good for the United States to have a middle class or should we continue down the R path of horrible wealth distribution inequality.

Once again SBJ savor this figure.
In the 50's CEO's made 24 X what their workers made.

Under Bush that figure was 300X !!!!

It's now 262X!!!! Seriously SBJ do you think our country would go in the crapper if we figured a way to get CEO and the rest of the executive pay back to the days of REPUBLICAN DWIGHT DAVID EISENHOWER?

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 25, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

wbgonne: "Excellent post. I totally agree what Obama must do right now re: the BP Oil Spill. Go on national TV and put the entire oil industry on the hook."

Oh, I think he needs to go beyond that. He needs to put us ALL on the hook. As a nation, we have become complacent due to the the cheap oil (and cheap coal) we have enjoyed for years. We don't appreciate the merit in weatherizing buildings, fuel efficient transportation and appliances, etc. We should have been working toward energy independence for 30 years now. How much more time are we going to waste?

I do agree, he needs a prime time address. And then he needs to channel his inner candidate Obama, and tell the American people the whole dirty picture. All of it. And then finish by asking that we choose.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 25, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: "get SPECIFIC...What programs do you wish to cut?"

http://house.gov/budget_republicans/press/cutspendingnow.pdf

Posted by: sbj3 | May 25, 2010 4:22 PM
=====================================

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/eric-cantors-youcut-gimmick

Classic gimmick from the party of no ideas.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | May 25, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"Life experience has made all of us - on the right and the left - cynics, and rightfully so."

Ummmmmm, no.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 25, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"I do agree, he needs a prime time address. And then he needs to channel his inner candidate Obama, and tell the American people the whole dirty picture. All of it."

I like your thinking, same for what Greg and Ethan have said. I'm just not sure it's gonna happen. Maybe I'm a bit disillusioned but I think Obama prefers to be cautious as president. Not bold. All that said, I hope the "inner candidate Obama" does emerge and this would be a GREAT time for the audition.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

First, the president's detractors complain that the government is taking over banks, auto companies, and health care.

Now they're complaining because the government isn't taking over BP's response to the oil spill?

Make up your minds, please.

Posted by: Gallenod | May 25, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

On the other hand, the reports are that Obama was angry during his meeting with the Senate Republicans. Maybe he's had enough seeing that even now in the midst of a calamity the GOP insists on acting like spoiled children.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Have a nice day, All. O&O.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 25, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"Life experience has made all of us - on the right and the left - cynics, and rightfully so."

No, I'm afraid your cynicism is wrapped up in your ideology. It's a feature not a bug for the right wing.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | May 25, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"Make up your minds, please."

Is there any evidence whatsoever that they have minds? LMAO

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 25, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

O/T from Benen:

Apparently, Obama had lunch today with the Senate Republicans. Here is the takeaway from one of the attendees:

"The more he talked the more he got upset," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) said. "He needs to [take] a valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans and just calm down, and don't take anything so seriously. If you disagree with someone, it doesn't mean you're attacking their motives -- and he takes it that way and tends then to lecture and then gets upset."

____________________

I mean seriously now...does the GOP have even Clue Junior among them? Blues Clues? Anyone? Bueller?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 25, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo

Excellent! Yes in his prime time address he should put US ALL ON THE HOOK.

It's time for some freaking honesty in this country.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 25, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

BTW Any debate on the deficit has to acknowledge this bit of reality.

The Bush/Cheney R's...in fact all the R's aside from their ignoramus stooges in the Tea Party who are being used mercilously

ARE NOT FOR SMALLER GOVERNMENT!

They are for privatizing government with their form of crony capitalism. How do you think Halliburton and Lockheed Martin have made BILLIONS in no bid Federal contracts. The R's are not for shrinking government...just wiping out public employees and replacing them with unaccountable private employees...can you say Blackwater? How do you think George W. exploded the deficit to it's largest ever after Clinton handed him a balanced budget?

Anybody who is not in that loop and calls them self an R is simply a stooge and a tool for the Corporatists.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 25, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

sbj asked: "Would you argue to the contrary? I think even Obama agrees that government is often ineffective, slow, and corrupt!"

Slow by Founders' design, yes? That's the theory of balanced powers. The other option is some species of totalitarian power vested in a single entity (a la the imperial presidency). Such an option has similarities to corporate structure or military organization but your Founders chose a different structure.

"The dangerous (for Obama) narrative now building is that Obama too often reacts (slowly - "pragmatically") instead of leading."

No, unless you believe citizens wish leaders to act from their testicles rather than brain.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 25, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I love the idea of a prime time address. But it can't be about "personal responsibility" (turn down the thermostat, put on a sweater). That killed Jimmy Carter even though it is the RIGHT idea.

Better idea is to frame sustainability as an IMPROVEMENT IN QUALITY OF LIFE.

Cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner environment for children to grow (think: asthma, autism, birth defects from chemicals), reduced health disparities, more nutritious food (organic), more jobs, national security implications of importing oil, etc etc etc.

You could go on forever with the benefits of a sustainable society. The only detriment is more regulation of major industries, and thus, more competition in the free market (can't play by the rules, someone else will).

But it should NOT be a suggestion that people have to CHANGE THEIR WAYS.

I mean, heck, I've been green for ages, but I just bought reynolds wrap brand aluminum foil for the first time in like 10 years. Why? A new line that is 100% recycled aluminum. I also just bought ORGANIC Heinz Ketsup! Psyched about that. I love some of the other organic kinds but hey I grey up with Heinz. Who didn't?

These are public safety, health, national security, and environmental issues, but at their heart they speak to GOOD GOVERNANCE.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 25, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, great post. This is also generational. Younger folks readily understand that there are new, better ways to do things that need to come to the fore.

Time to put the "progress" back in Progressive. Factories, coal mines, and farms aren't going to be the way we move forward (though I wish we'd destroy agribiz and go back to simpler ways).

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 25, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

@bernie: "No, unless you believe citizens wish leaders to act from their testicles rather than brain."

I believe citizens wish leaders to LEAD.

(And what's up with you liberals and your fascination with juevos?)

Posted by: sbj3 | May 25, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

as i've said on other blogs, obama better get out in front of this catastrophe soonest.

granted, there's little he can do, but he can at least appear to be doing something.

my wife, a good life-long democrat, complains nightly during the news how obama is doing nothing about this.

true or not, that is the perception, and this disaster, coupled w/an apparent possible economic slouch towards a double dip recession, will kill the dems this november.

here's a question: can't obama declare the gulf wetlands disaster areas, thus freeing up federal money to help the clean up? that's something he could do, and it would give the illusion of movement (no snark intended...but perception is a major factor these days).

Posted by: skippybkroo | May 25, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

This is one of your best. Amen. I personally don't know if there's more the Admin. could be doing in a practical sense about this spill. But there is a major gap between the severe damage being done and the message coming from the White House. Whoever leaked that POTUS was going to get mad (even though he most likely was mad) made a huge mistake. It made him look at once calculating and inept at a moment he need to be genuine and competent. The best thing we know he can do substantively, and the best way to at least keep his base (in general) from peeling off, is to take bold action to the extent that he can. And that means commitment to clean energy.

He can do "hard truth" well. And the hard truth is that, to quote my favorite Obama speech, "there is such a thing as being too late, and that time is almost here."

Unless we want leave it all up to "geoengineering will save us," it's time to move.

Posted by: MichaelConrad | May 25, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The oil spill is the rough equivalent of a bottle of hair tonic being dumped from a row boat. The spin merchants have made a BIg Deal out of it. The way to stop the leak is to set fire to it at the source with underwater arc welders. The "Dump the Junk" approach is cute but will be ineffective and will clutter the ocean bottom. Our elected leaders need to make grimly determined and snarly speeches at it, and the coagulation of verbal BS will seal it forever. We ought to sue France for selling us (The Louisiana Purchase) a problem-laden piece of real estate without disclosing the risk factors. And the reason why British Petroleum is drilling in an American territory is so that any problems won't screw up the natural beauty off the Emerald Isle. I expect our president to scowl at the situation... and blame George Bush. Sarah Palin's recommendation that the leak be sealed with moose guts is being totally ignored! All we need now is for North Korea to do something stupid, and for the stock market to continue its plunge. Thank you, Mr Kimchee and Greece! The only thing that can save us is for Apple to come out with a new product.

Posted by: squarf | May 25, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

We have NO LEADERSHIP!

Oil STILL Gushing, STILL in 2 Wars, Gitmo STILL open...

Obama STILL campaigning!

Now....watch this drive....

Posted by: Rubiconski | May 25, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

The problem for Obama is that he already gave in to the demand for expanded offshore oil drilling. And he's shown no sign of reversing course. How can he possibly hold up the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe as a call to arms for a change in energy policy when his very energy policy makes the likelihood of more Deepwaters more likely? He can't. Therefore, his lesson is necessarily limited to rig safety, etc. and not to major changes in energy source policy.

Posted by: ElrodinTennessee | May 26, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

One simple remedy: Station a (super)tanker
above leak. Start the industrial size pumps.
Pump oil/water mix from the surface aboard tanker. When full, repeat with another tanker.

BP will be let off just like Exxon when the punitive damage award was reduced by 90% by the Supreme Court.

I hate to think about our government's response to a REALLY big disaster.

Posted by: hermit37 | May 26, 2010 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Although it would be in this country's best interest for Obama to ardently pursue an energy reform, when-in recent history- has the government EVER done what's in this country's best interest?

Look at the educational system! Look at the economy!

Unfortunately, large corporations and lobbyist's run America and they will continue to run it right into the ground.

Does the general public have say in what's next or is democracy in America just an illusion? Hmm.

Posted by: dondileea | May 26, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Forget the politics, plug the hole!

Then and only then will any involved get an audience with environmentalists and fishermen.

Americans are sick of academicians and their doublethink.

Posted by: BluePelican | May 26, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The spill is the equivalent of an eighteen -wheeler running into the back of a long line of passenger cars. It was an accident, and an accident with horrific consequences, but there is nothing that the government can fix. What is most noticeable about it is Obama's posture. He is not responding to this as a national emergency. Bush caught hell for flying over Katrina. Obama is not even making that gesture. Is he in fact HAPPY that this disaster has happened? Does this make it politically possible for him to shut down off shore drilling entirely. he flies off to Chicago for another vacation, he flies off to a fundraiser in California. He finally(Condescend?) to go to the Gulf. And what if BP can't plug the hole? Do we wait until 100 million barrels drains into the Gulf? Your call, Mr. President. Will this become the Chernobyl of the oil industry?

Posted by: RobbyS | May 26, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Aw, come on. Be "decisive"?

No, let's go to California for a couple of days, relax in the sun (whoops, that global warming isn't happening and it's raining), and go to THREE FUNDRAISERS, the biggest one being for Barbara Boxer.

Yeah, just let those bureaucrats deal with the actual work.

Posted by: stevor | May 26, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

GLOBS of ditherings for sure but comes down to p[oint that seems NONE have an answer to the actual problem. Face it, it is NOT in BP's "best" interest to have no ability to get this immediately "plugged" or resolved and few have THE expertise as to how to handle the "cleanup" and consequences and it IS devasting to all even those peripherally involved as mere "consumers" and etc !!
Lots of dithering blowhards spewing whatever but still NO CLEAR SOLUTION and of course, the political partisan pandering to preferred poli group/etc seems to BE the standard to keep roiling !!
Just WHAT REALLY would any do t accmplish and do you REALLY think the WH or BP NOT reaching out to any and all in sincere effort to get this resolved ? Rant and rave , and whatever, perhaps good for the blood pressure but does little in resolving the entire situation.
The laughable snarks of how Obama is "taking a vacaton" in the midst or NOT seemed to be "caring enough" as well as the nonsense that BP is not doing quite enough...trajically laughable . Yeah the Prez does have MORE than JUST the OIL SPILL to contend with and yeah for sure BP needs to mitigate damages as best it can and sure will spin selves in best possible light and the media too , playing major ly as players in the entire scenarios as it gets them their "audiience/etc so we get the constant parade of disgruntled mouthing off (Think such as Carville need to sit down and shut mouths as well as others of similar mouth offs as they are contributing nothing to "resolvement" just more finger pointings and etc)
TIme for some serious reality checks and indeed , primetime to push for true energy reform but folks need to be realistic about it and with it all, send a note of apology to Carter, he did try to highlight what we were in for if we did NOT get energy independent but look how well all the guzzlers KEEP selling even now !!!

Posted by: Bozly54 | May 26, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

GLOBS of ditherings for sure but comes down to p[oint that seems NONE have an answer to the actual problem. Face it, it is NOT in BP's "best" interest to have no ability to get this immediately "plugged" or resolved and few have THE expertise as to how to handle the "cleanup" and consequences and it IS devasting to all even those peripherally involved as mere "consumers" and etc !!
Lots of dithering blowhards spewing whatever but still NO CLEAR SOLUTION and of course, the political partisan pandering to preferred poli group/etc seems to BE the standard to keep roiling !!
Just WHAT REALLY would any do t accmplish and do you REALLY think the WH or BP NOT reaching out to any and all in sincere effort to get this resolved ? Rant and rave , and whatever, perhaps good for the blood pressure but does little in resolving the entire situation.
The laughable snarks of how Obama is "taking a vacaton" in the midst or NOT seemed to be "caring enough" as well as the nonsense that BP is not doing quite enough...trajically laughable . Yeah the Prez does have MORE than JUST the OIL SPILL to contend with and yeah for sure BP needs to mitigate damages as best it can and sure will spin selves in best possible light and the media too , playing major ly as players in the entire scenarios as it gets them their "audiience/etc so we get the constant parade of disgruntled mouthing off (Think such as Carville need to sit down and shut mouths as well as others of similar mouth offs as they are contributing nothing to "resolvement" just more finger pointings and etc)
TIme for some serious reality checks and indeed , primetime to push for true energy reform but folks need to be realistic about it and with it all, send a note of apology to Carter, he did try to highlight what we were in for if we did NOT get energy independent but look how well all the guzzlers KEEP selling even now !!!

Posted by: Bozly54 | May 26, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Rukidding7 you hit the nail on the head. Most of the people in the U.S.A. are grown up enough to understand the truth.I have worked all my life and at this time I am on S.S.D.(two heart valves and a prosthetic hip),I receve a $707.00 benifit which I am grateful for and would like to thank every one. Although at this time I cannot hold down a full time job I hope to soon. I volunteer two days a week at a public school and am the better for it.I get $707.00, $50 is taken for back child support,so that leaves me with $657. It would make things harder but I could still live if the benifit was cut by $50.I can understand that all sides will need to give up something. One more thing befor I get down of my soap box, Why not institute a flat tax? And look at those that are most apposed to it and why

Posted by: hanalei | May 26, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

This catastrophe isn't the case of Obama but the inherited mess of Bush43, by the lack of regulation to secure and defend public life and environment, our natural resources.
Look at the behavior of MMS. Isn't it scandalous?
It is also seen what you get, when you elect a stupid madman to be your worst president ever in history. If you don't learn from history you have to make always the same mistakes, but the damage and risks are growing wilder than ever before.
By now, the President, who isn't an oil expert, is left alone with only one option he has in his toolbox to lock up the leak: the nuclear option.
That's easy, because the infection is preliminary invisible and the more disastrous effects have to be ported by the next president. That's how it goes, but we expect change and we can really change that.
Let's face reality.
The well was not secured safe by the lack of the same fair regulations as in Brazil and Norway, to make deep-water drilling safe, but more expensive. Oil-man Bush43 knew about the risks, but also about the costs ($500,000) and he didn't want to be a harsh guy among his friends. Go ahead, guys, free play.
It wasn't fair play, but that didn't matter.
To secure big oil the cap on liability was invented. Regardless the impact of the deliberately expected huge disasters the maximum fine should not exceed $75million. That's encouraging reckless gambling with the welfare and livelihood of the coastal population and unlimited greed of the happy few is the holy motive.
That's not capitalism but feudal rule.
The American dream became a fairy tale for hundreds of millions Americans. The USA was set back to the dark ages, but without noble knights.
Further dreaming is useless, you have to deal with reality and physiques by now and it will last another two months to stop the spill of oil in the Gulf. Top-kill is a show, the damage will expand beyond imagination and that has to do with the laws of physiques, not attended, total inescapable. No President, even not the best of our lifetime, can change the laws of physiques.

Posted by: DutchPointer | May 26, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

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