Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, June 11th, 2010.


Today’s Obama Outrage

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Obama Administration

Now they’re complaining that President Obama hasn’t picked up the phone, or the blackberry as it were, and called BP CEO Tony Hayward.

Call me crazy, but I think a POTUS outranks a CEO, and as the person responsible for fowling fouling up U.S. waters and beaches I think protocol calls for Tony Hayward to phone President Obama, or whoever in the White House will take the call, not the other way around. And apologizing. Profusely. A little abject groveling wouldn’t have hurt, either.

Agence France Presse reports that BP’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, has been summoned to the White House to discuss the spill. Rightie Don Suber complains, “instead of talking to the man in charge, he will be talking to the chairman of the board that oversees the man in charge.”

Um, yes.

Suber, by the way, thinks President Sarah Palin would have done a better job dealing with the oil spill. So much for Suber.

Not that President Obama is blameless in this mess. He’s been caught flatfooted by the whole thing, obviously. I have been reading the Rolling Stone article by Tim Dickinson, “The Spill, the Scandal and the President,” and think on the whole it’s a fair assessment, although I haven’t made it all the way through the thing yet.

A couple of days ago some rightie bloggers were high-fiving each other over the Dickenson piece. They especially liked the word “scandal” in the headline. But what has struck me is that Obama has reacted too much as a conservative would have reacted.

First, the White House seems to have assumed BP knew what it was doing and could stop the leak.

Second, the Obama Administration had not cleaned house at the US Minerals Management Service (MMS), but had left in place way too many Bush appointees, people who are too cozy with the oil business to supervise them.

The White House is allowing BP to continue drilling at another deepwater site off the coast of Louisiana, and there is reason to believe that rig is just as likely to have a meltdown as Deepwater Horizon was.

For once, the people who say Obama is “no better than Bush” aren’t too far off the mark, as far as Deepwater Horizon is concerned. The only difference is that Obama has publicly taken responsibility for government’s response to the disaster, and there is no Karl Rove-type operative in the White House trying to use the mess for political advantage. Oh, and so far, President Obama hasn’t posed for a camera wearing a tool belt.

Update: Unrelated to the oil spill — William Kristol has learned that the Obama Administration will support an anti-Israel statement at the UN next week. Alas, if Kristol says this, just the opposite will happen.

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